NYC Promotes Positive Body Image With Its New “I’m a Girl” Campaign
“I’m Beautiful the Way I Am.” That’s the message at the center of a public education campaign launched by the city of New York this week. The #ImAGirl campaign features NYC girls—not professional models—in a PSA as well as print ads that will appear on subways, buses and kiosks throughout the city. Under the direction of deputy press secretary Samantha Levine, the ads and a corresponding NYC Girls’ Project aim to increase girls’ self-esteem and promote positive body image. I was invited to participate in a focus group of girl advocates as the campaign concept was being developed and I am excited that Proud2Bme is now an official resource of the campaign.
I heart NY and I heart this campaign. Here are five reasons why:
- It’s about encouraging girls to think about beauty in terms of their talents, strengths and inner qualities.
- It targets girls ages 7-12, providing them with positive messages and teaching them media literacy skills at time when they are vulnerable to the cultural onslaught of “not good enough” and “not pretty enough” toxicity.
- It’s a highly visible ad campaign starring girls of all sizes and ethnicities—a rare and much-needed addition to the media landscape.
- It’s body positive and anti-shaming. From the campaign website: “[T]he way to promote a healthy weight is through exercise and healthy eating, not by making kids feel bad about their bodies – and certainly not by encouraging them to aspire toward an unattainable, or unhealthy, ‘ideal.’”
- It was created in partnership with a range of other organizations (SPARK Summit, Girls Inc., The Lower East Girls Club, among others) that have a solid track record of encouraging girls’ confidence and inspiring them to be leaders.
It is meaningful when a major city acknowledges that poor body image and low self-esteem are serious public health issues. This is a first—and I hope it paves the way for others.
Claire Mysko is the Manager of Proud2Bme and author of You’re Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self and Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? The Essential Guide to Loving Your Body Before and After Baby. Follow her on Twitter.