A new campaign launched in New York City aims to boost the self-esteem of young girls and help avoid unhealthy body image problems.
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is helping to spearhead the campaign, called NYC Girls Project, in an effort to let girls as young as 6 or 7 know that they don’t have to look like what they see in the magazines or on television to be considered beautiful.
The $330,000 initiative mostly consists of bus and subway ads featuring young girls of all shapes and sizes saying great things about themselves, with the unifying message that reads, “I’m beautiful the way I am.”
One ad features 12-year-old DeVoray Wigfall of the Bronx with the quote, “I’m a girl. I’m funny, playful, daring, strong, curious, smart, brave, healthy, friendly and caring.”
In addition to the ads around the city, the campaign will also consist of physical fitness classes for girls, a program addressing self-esteem issues for girls at 75 afterschool programs, and an active Twitter account.
Samantha Levine, a 38-year-old aide to Mayor Bloomberg, first thought of the idea. She is currently the deputy press secretary for the mayor, as well as a project director, and says she was moved to take action after hearing stories of young girls getting plastic surgery to alter their appearance.
“I think being a woman in this society,” said Levine, “it’s sort of impossible to not be aware of the pressures there are around appearance, around weight, around trying to always look a certain way.”
The campaign sets out to be the opposite of what many other campaigns are doing to try and end obesity. Instead of “fat shaming,” they say, they are trying to encourage healthy lifestyle choices while make sure girls know that they don’t have to be stick thin in order to be beautiful.