MEDIAGIRLS @ Prospect Hill Academy Charter School
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 look 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, MEDIA GIRLS 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 participants 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 inventions inventions throughout history (like fire - see below), and also 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 Who Deserve the Media Spotlight!
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:
"The girl who inspires me is an actress named Emma Watson, because I think she is a person to look up to. She is a strong and independent woman who doesn’t let what other people think of her get in the way of who she is. I chose her (not just because she is in my favorite movie), but because of who she is. She is definitely a feminist. She has many inspiring quotes and says a lot of things that show she doesn’t care what others think. One of her quotes is, “I feel like young girls are told they have to be a princess, and be delicate and fragile, and that's bulls**t. I identify much more with the idea of being a warrior, being a fighter. If I was going to be a princess, I'd be a warrior princess, definitely. I think women are scared of feeling powerful and strong and brave sometimes. I think you’ve got to embrace it." I think that is a really powerful quote that shows that women are strong and don’t have to be a princess. They can be a warrior. She wants to make me be my best self because she stands up for women’s rights and knows who she is. The world would be much more different if the media highlighted her as beautiful on the inside, because then everyone would she her, for not her looks, but for who she is on the inside. This is why I picked Emma Watson as a girl I look up to."
"The woman I look up to is my Grandma because she’s caring and strong. This one time I had a small breakfast and we were waiting for my mom for lunch but I was starving. So she gave me food and told me that when she leaves to go back to Nepal nobody will be here to tell me to eat and she’ll be there worrying about me. This small action showed me how much she really cares for me and loves me. Not all grandma’s care this much for their grandchildren and I really appreciate that she does. I know now that she’ll always be there for me no matter what. My grandma is also strong because even after going through several surgeries she still has the energy to cook and go on walks. Even though she gets short of breath she perseveres through hills and still has fun. She loves shopping, it might be genetic because so do I. We always go on cool adventures to the mall or Target. We want her to rest but she doesn't listen. She may be a little stubborn but I love that about her. Seeing my grandma like this makes me want to be like her, more altruistic. There needs to be an increase in kindness over the world. I will ask people if they need help and help them with a smile on my face. The world would be a better place if more women were like my grandma. She makes the world more yellow - yellow as in brighter!" -Shivani
"A woman who inspires me is from Blindspot her name is Jane Doe and she is strong and reliable. One reason why I choose her was she lost her memory and did not know anything about herself or anything before and she still stayed strong and tried to figure out who she is which is why I admire her. Another reason why she is so strong is when her team was kidnapped her, and her husband rushed to save them. Jane makes me want to be my better self because she makes me want to be strong like the way she is. I want to be so reliable and I am so determined to be all these things. Media should shine spotlight on girls and women who are reliable and strong. I feel like all women and girls are strong, but they just do not show it often. Women and girlsevery where should feel this way. "
"This first time I saw my Big Sister she asked me questions about myself and tried to get to know me better. She was so friendly and she wanted to know my personality and who I am. She would also share stories with me so I wouldn’t be shy and she wanted me to know her better too. She asked me what I like to do, and I told her that I enjoy baking and going to the movies. When we would bake she would ask about myself and she was so caring. From that day on she would ask me about my day and myself. I like my Big Sister's qualities of being outgoing and friendly because she would like to know people and try to help others - she once even rescued a dog. My Big Sister inspires me to be friendlier and more confident. Media should shine a spotlight on young women like this because it would inspire people to be like her and develop these traits."
"There is always a person in your life, there may be many, but there is always one special person who inspires you. One person (who I don’t personally know) that inspires me is Alessia Cara. She is one of my many inspirations since I watched her “Scars to your Beautiful” video in our MEDIAGIRLS class. In the video she showed a whole bunch of diverse people. - some with disabilities and some people who were criticized for being themselves. In the video she also used encouraging lyrics and imagery. At the time I watched the video there was a lot of disrespect at school happening all around so it felt felt important."
"I am choosing my aunt because she has always been there for me my whole life and understands many of my problems. One day I was really sad and she acknowledged that, so she started telling me funny stories about her past in Haiti that made me laugh and feel better. She stands up for me when she's knows something is wrong. I admire how shes empathetic and always knows what I am going through. Because of her I know I can do it and when I am down or feeling upset, she takes me shopping because she know's how much I enjoy it. She makes me my best self where in a way because of her, I am more confident, stronger, and smarter. She teaches me very important lessons that I know will be helpful throughout my life. She makes me confident by telling me to focus on myself and to check in with her every once in awhile. The world would be better off if the media highlighted people like my aunt, because they can inspire others and never lets anyone down. Women with these qualities need to be heard and understood."