July 13, 2011

Sen. Hagan, Rep. Baldwin, Geena Davis, Girl Scouts of the USA Seek Healthy Media for Youth

Join Girl Scouts of the USA to Support Media Literacy and Positive Images of Women

WASHINGTON, July 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D- WI), and Geena Davis, Academy Award winning actor and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, campaigned in support of the Healthy Media for Youth Act. Joined by teen Girl Scouts, the group outlined the bill, introduced by Hagan and Baldwin, which would improve media literacy for youth and encourage the promotion of healthier media messages about girls and women.

"I am pleased to join Congresswoman Baldwin to sponsor the Healthy Media for Youth Act to promote positive media messages about girls and women among our youth," said Sen. Hagan. "Children today are exposed to upwards of ten hours a day of recreational media. With this bill, Congresswoman Baldwin and Ms. Davis and I want to ensure our kids - both boys and girls - have realistic and healthy views of the role women play in our society as they grow up."

"Children are consuming more media than ever, but unfortunately, the images they see often reinforce gender stereotypes, emphasize unrealistic body images or show women in passive roles. The need for more positive images of girls in the media is clear," said Congresswoman Baldwin. "I'm proud to sponsor legislation that will help girls and young women see themselves in a new and stronger light."

"I am proud to join with Sen. Hagan and Rep. Baldwin to promote gender equality, and positive portrayals of women and girls in the media," said Geena Davis. "What children see affects their attitudes toward male and female roles and impacts the value they place on girls and women in society. The Healthy Media for Youth Act will help ensure we are creating a positive media environment for all our children."

"Girl Scouts of the USA thanks Sen. Hagan, Rep. Baldwin, and Geena Davis for joining together to promote positive media literacy and positive images of women and girls," said Girl Scouts CEO Kathy Cloninger.

A survey by Girl Scouts of the USA's (GSUSA) Research Institute, Girls and Body Image, found that 89% of girls say the fashion industry places a lot of pressure on teenage girls to be thin. The American Psychological Association's (APA) Report on the Sexualization of Girls (2007) found that three of the most common mental health problems among girls--eating disorders, depression or depressed mood, and low self-esteem--are linked to the sexualization of girls and women in media. And according to the Geena Davis Institute of Gender in Media, despite being 50 percent of the U.S. population, in family films and television, male characters outweigh female characters nearly three to one and five to one in background or group scenes, a statistic that has remained the same since 1946. Only 27 percent of the speaking characters are female. (GDIGM)

The Healthy Media for Youth Act takes a three-pronged approach to promote healthy media messages about girls and women. First, the bill creates a competitive grant program to encourage and support media literacy programs and youth empowerment groups. The bill also facilitates research on how depictions of women and girls in the media affect youth. Finally, it establishes a National Taskforce on Women and Girls in the Media, which will develop voluntary standards that promote healthy, balanced, and positive images of girls and women in the media for the benefit of all youth.

About Girl Scouts of the USA

Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with 3.4 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouts is the leading authority on girls' healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls living overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts, call (800) GSUSA 4 U (800-478-7248) or visit www.girlscouts.org.

SOURCE Girl Scouts of the USA