Mayor and proud papa of New York, Micheal Bloomberg, is on another mission to make his beloved city a better place. This time, he’s tackling the tough subject of self-esteem and body image issues, particularly with young girls ages 7-12. NYC may be one of the fashion capitals of the world, but Bloomberg, along with other members of the New York City Girl’s Project, want to spread the message, “I’m Beautiful The Way I Am.”
The campaign, conceived in the mayor’s office by deputy press secretary, Samantha Levine, chose to target the 7-12 age bracket citing statistics from several studies on eating disorders. They concluded negative body image was a concern for girls at a very young age. The NYC Girls’ Project website reports “Over 80 percent of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat,” and ” by middle school, 40-70 percent of girls are dissatisfied with two or more parts of their body.”
Campaign directors are creating buzz for the movement by using bus and subway ads. Thankfully, the strategy is much different than the hard-edged, in-your-face posters used to push the oversized soda ban a few years ago. Instead of placards declaring, Are You Pouring On The Pounds – Don’t Drink Yourself Fat, ads for the NYC Girls’ Project show pictures of smiling happy girls of all races and sizes declaring, ” I’m a girl. I’m funny, playful, daring, strong, curious, smart, brave, healthy, friendly and caring.”
More Than Just Pretty Pictures
The NYC Girls’ Project is more than a cute face and a snappy slogan, it also involves two K-12 education classes and a wellness program that will debut in over 200 after-school programs this year. “I think the goal of this campaign is to broaden those definitions of beauty into something attainable that goes beyond the physical,” said Naama Bloom, founder of the popular website, HelloFlo.com and creator of the wildly popular Camp Gyno video. “We live in a time where more emphasis is placed on our image than ever before and teaching girls to feel good about themselves is always a good thing.”
The after-school project features a video titled, “A Brief History of Girls on Television” which shows clips from TV shows beginning in the 1950s through today looking at how these images have evolved, for better or worse. The hope is that by opening up a dialogue about positive body image, young girls will avoid the consequence of negative feelings including eating disorders, smoking, alcohol abuse, and early sexual activity.
New York is the first city in America to tackle body image and self-esteem in such a big way. Colleagues of Mayor Bloomberg were so inspired by the idea, many of their daughters appear in the ads. Walking the catwalk at Fashion Week may be the aspiration for some girls in the Big Apple, but the NYC Girl’s Project wants to make sure they’re the walking the streets of New York with the belief that, “I’m Beautiful The Way I am.”