Girls taught to spot negative media messages
EDWARDS – The “Blossom” program at Edwards Elementary School is an after-school program for fifth grade girls sponsored by Meet The Wilderness and funded by the Women’s Foundation of Colorado. The program aims to help girls work out values as they’re bombarded by diverse media images, such as commercials that tell them a woman’s most important traits are her body and appearance, says one of the program’s leaders, Blair Young.
The program “is designed to facilitate values identification and media literacy awareness in young girls,” says one of its leaders, Blair Young. The girls are encouraged to better understand their own strengths, and thereby maintain self esteem, as they prepare for middle school, Young says.
The program also aims to teach the girls to decipher the “language of persuasion that’s used by the media,” Young says. Directed by Blair Young and Jenna Baker, the 17 participants met each Monday after school throughout the fall. Activities included an overnight hut trip, keeping a journal, ropes course and a final project of scripting, filming and editing “anti-ads” on the school computers.
The anti-ads were meant to counter negative media messages, such as those that stress only good looks, Young said. One anti-ad was about sports, getting outdoors and skiing. Another was about adopting a pet and playing with it outside instead of watching TV, Young said.
The program celebrated its second year Monday. Seventeen fifth-grade girls were treated to a party aty the Gore Range Brewery. The girls’ families joined them for a closing celebration with hugs, smiles, “diplomas” and a poem honoring each girls’ talents.