National Eating Disorders Association

NYC Promotes Positive Body Image With Its New “I’m a Girl” Campaign

Claire Mysko

“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:

  1. It’s about encouraging girls to think about beauty in terms of their talents, strengths and inner qualities.
  2. 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.
  3. It’s a highly visible ad campaign starring girls of all sizes and ethnicities—a rare and much-needed addition to the media landscape.
  4. 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.’”
  5. 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.