November 7-11, 2011, is Media Literacy Week in Canada. Media Literacy is about understanding the nature of media messages on everything from gender and cultural stereotypes to bullying and portrayals of violence. For girls and women, media awareness often involves looking at gender stereotypes and messages about beauty, power, values and success.
There are lots of resources out there to help you start the conversation with girls about the role media plays in their lives – everything from a magazine cover or advertisement to Media Awareness Network’s (MNet) great educational activities. Here are a few others that I like…
- LAMP Kids Short-form Documentary: Gender Stereotypes @ PS 107 – is a sweet short film made by three school kids. In it they explore the gender stereotypes held by their fellow students and adults.
- Miss Representation is a documentary about the portrayal of girls and women in popular culture and how that shapes our collective behaviours, expectations and aspirations.
- Of course there is the Media Literacy Week website with information and resources from the Media Awareness Network (MNet) and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF).
- Our American Girl Scout sisters are also tackling the issue – teaming up with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and Deborah Taylor Tate, former FCC Commissioner, to launch Healthy MEdia: Commission for Positive Images of Women and Girls.
- And last but not least Girl Guides of Canada’s own Cyber Citizen challenge created in partnership with the Media Awareness Network (MNet) to help girls, at all levels of guiding, to be informed and responsible citizens of cyberspace.
Despite the media messages there is some good news – our kids may be more media savvy than we may think. Earlier this year a Plan Canada survey revealed that today youth do have very positive views on gender roles: 91 per cent believe equality among men and women is good for both genders and 96 % believe girls should have the same opportunities to make their own choices as boys.
Are your kids more media savvy than you were at their age?
By Nisha, GGC Staff