MEDIAGIRLS @ Browne School | Section 1
Lesson 1: Face Sketches & Media Expectations
For class one, we asked participants to illustrate on one side of our female face sketch what media says girls should like like. On the other side, they illustrate how they see themselves. MEDIAGIRLS participants can do this activity in whatever way they see fit. Some girls choose to only color in the face, while others choose to write on the blank face. This is a great way to start off MEDIAGIRLS classes because it gives participants a chance to share and compare their own experiences with media. We then engage in a full discussion of media's impossible beauty standards for girls and women, and how they influence the way girls think about themselves and their self-worth.
Lesson 2: Pie Plates
In this lesson, MEDIAGIRLS participants are learning, drawing, and sharing the ways in which society sees them, and how they see themselves. In order to spark this discussion MEDIAGIRLS participants first write the word "me" in the center of the paper. Then, they are asked to define some groups that they belong to such as race, religion, gender, organizations, and many more. Then, using paper plates MEDIAGIRLS are asked to design their plate based on how they see themselves. Through eight sections MEDIAGIRLS particpants write positive words about themselves that make them valuable for who they are such as "strong, shy, friendly" the list goes on and on. The purpose of this activity is to highlight the positive or neutral qualities girls possess that society does not always necessarily see or pay attention to. After MEDIAGIRLS are done writing they have time to decorate their plates to be as unique as they are themselves.
Lesson 3: Pros and Cons of Social Media and the Unwritten "Rules"
This week, MEDIAGIRLS participants made pros and cons lists for social media. They were encouraged to think about what improvements it could add to our lives, how it could make life easier, and how they imagined it could make girls feel stronger and more confident. They then addressed its downsides. The MEDIAGIRLS students then talked about the unwritten “rules” of social media that girls are just supposed to somehow know. Afterwards, we asked them if they could come up with a few social media “rules” that would make life better for girls.
Lesson 4: Ad Deconstruction
This week it is #allaboutads. MEDIAGIRLS are now in their fourth week of class and are working towards recognizing messages that underly the advertisments they are consuming. MEDIAGIRLS mentors spark this conversation by bringing a piece of media to class and displaying it for MEDIAGIRLS participants to see. Then, they are asked questions to help them start thinking critically about the ad infront of them. Some of these questions include "Who made this media?" "How accurate is this story?" and "Who is missing from this story?". MEDIAGIRLS then fill out their ad deconstruction sheets. The purpose of this activity is to give girls the skills to be able to recognize the messages ads are sending them instead of internalizing them. The flip side of this activity is also an opportunity to display ads that are sending positive messages to girls, because here at MEDIAGIRLS we want to encourage young women to give the media a makeover. If media is a huge part of our lives, then it should be made by #women and for #women.
Lesson 5: Music Video Report Cards
Demi Lovato, Alessia Cara, and Fifth Harmony, are just some of the artists out of many female artists MEDIAGIRLS looks to in order to spark discussion about female portrayal in music videos. So far, MEDIAGIRLS participants have been focusing on the basics of media literacy. Now it's time to start putting that knowledge into action. During this activity MEDIAGIRLS participants watch a music video chosen by both mentors and participants. In the past, some music videos that have been shown in class were, "Soy Yo", "Scars to Your Beautiful", "Dear Future Husband", and many more. Post-viewing MEDIAGIRLS participants are then asked to fill out our MEDIAGIRLS music video report card. The questions included in the report card are meant to help MEDIAGIRLS start thinking critically about the messages they receive through music. Also, by putting the grading in their hands, participants will start to learn how they have the power to decide what they want to see, hear, and be inspired by in the media. Hopefully, in the future MEDIAGIRLS participants will not only like songs based on their tune, but also based on the positive messages they send. Thinking critically about music videos is another step towards media literacy and our participants had some insightful and thoughtful things to say about the music videos they watched in class this week.
Lesson 6: MEDIAGIRLS PSA
So far, MEDIAGIRLS participants have been learning about media literacy. Decoding messages in ads, music videos, and magazines are just some of the platforms that MEDIAGIRLS participants have been analyzing. This week we gave MEDIAGIRLS participants the power and asked them to make a short video or PSA encouraging other girls out there to use their media in a positive way. Then, MEDIAGIRLS mentors will use our platforms to share it with the world. Here at MEDIAGIRLS not only do we want young girls to become active in decoding messages about women, but we also want girls to learn how to take the media into their own hands and change it. Making a class video together is just one way to start. Here is what MEDIAGIRLS participants have to say:
Lesson 7 and 8: Inspiring Women
Inching closer to the end of the MEDIAGIRLS program, MEDIAGIRLS participants get the chance to create the type of media content they crave. The way in which MEDIAGIRLS does this, is by asking girls to write a blog post about an inspiring woman in the media or in their life. The media can be a wonderful place where women who seek to change the world, fight for peace, or pave the way for girls behind them, are celebrated. Therefore, we want to give MEDIAGIRLS participants the chance to create this empowering content. By writing a blog post MEDIAGIRLS hopes to show young girls that their voices matter, as we display them to the world on our website! The women that MEDIAGIRLS participants choose are based on women’s inner qualities and the things that they do that inspire our participants. Young girls deserve to look at media that makes them feel good, and our participants have created posts to do just that. Here are the women that they want to celebrate:
Lesson 9 and 10: MEDIA GIRLS comes to a close!
As MEDIAGIRLS comes to a close, the last discussion and activities center around public speaking and speaking out. By the end of our program one of our goals is that girls will feel more comfortable speaking out for things they believe in whether that is through discussion or the media. For our girls in our 10-week program, they will create a project that will be presented at their school’s showcase. With their mentors, girls will then reflect on their journey through this semester and talk about the behaviors they will change as a result of MEDIAGIRLS. This semester of MEDIAGIRLS was inspiring, empowering, and eye opening. Newly graduated MEDIAGIRLS are ready to hit the ground running changing the media for young girls like them, and we can't wait to see what next semester brings!