We created a Self-Esteem Program last year after one leader watched the documentary Miss Representation at her sorority’s convention. This film had a HUGE impact on her (several of the other leaders were able to catch a showing when it came to our small town later in the year…if you get a chance, SEE IT!!). Without being able to show the film to every level of our troop, as some are pretty young and the film is fairly graphic, we came up with a program that promotes positive body image, good morales and character, self-actualization and embodies the theme of the film, “how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence.” We have touched on a lot of topics including, bullying, air brushing, exercise and good food choices, to name a few.
Last year, it was kind of a free-for-all show-and-tell where the girls could share something they saw during the week at our circle time. It was always positive and the girls definitely got the gist of what we were attempting (in addition to each and every one of them feeling comfortable and confident enough to share in front of the group…another thing on which we diligently work) but, some weeks we got a lot of “it didn’t make me feel good to see a naked woman in the magazine when what she was selling was perfume”, or something along these lines. So, this year we added a little more focus.
Each week 3 girls are assigned “homework” and they get to present the following week. Their assignment is specifically to be sure she has something to share with the group that supports positive attitude, body image, etc. Each girl should find something in her daily life (from a magazine, TV, etc) that makes her feel proud to be a girl. She should be able to talk to what is making her feel good about what she is picking. She has up to 3 minutes to present. Not only has the limit of 3 girls allowed us to have better time management of our all-troop circle time, it also focuses the conversation. The assignment as “homework” also encourages the girls to research and work with their parents as if it is a “project” rather than just show-and-tell. We have been MORE THAN pleased with the results so far!
In the few weeks since we have started our troop year, topics have varied greatly. Topics have included conversations about the positive influences from some of our favorite media, such as the American Girl movies and magazines, and Discovery Girls magazine, especially with regards to setting goals and working towards them, being a good friend, and anti-bullying (the photo above shows one of our Brownies discussing this very topic). One girl did some research on famous women in the field of study she would like to pursue when she is an adult, Marine Biology. Surprising to her, and her mom, were how few women are actually in this field. Another talked at length, with FANTASTIC visual aides, about why she loves Merida, from Disney’s Brave, and how she was disappointed when merchandise marketers changed her look to be more “cartoon” and “sexy” just to sell their products. One girl made a poster board with a collage of pictures from several magazines with a photo for EVERY aspect of her life that makes her proud to be a girl. In such a short time it is truly amazing to see the creativity!
We don’t always but, this week we remembered to take photos!
Here Brownie M., is talking about a movie she watched where the character had lost her shop but set goals for herself and worked hard to get it back and reopen. We all talked about how when you use hard work, dedication and believing in yourself, anything is possible.
Daisy S., brought in a visual aid with some “I would rather be” quotes describing how good, healthy and smart choices make you a well rounded person. Sometimes what people assume is the better option isn’t always the most healthy option. We also talked at great length about how everyone is different and it shouldn’t matter what others think of you if you are always doing and being your best self. Our favorite was “I would rather be athletic than skinny”.
Junior E., chose a member of her own family to discuss. Her great-great grandmother staked claim, riding side saddle, in the Oklahoma land run. At a time where women didn’t have very many rights and weren’t considered to have the abilities of men, she beat out over 60,000 other people to stake a piece of land on which to build her home, even in a super long dress! E. also brought in a photo of her great-great grandmother AND the horseshoe from the horse she rode in the run, 120 year ago!
We are very proud of this program and have talked at length about how if even one girl, when she is a teenager (or older…or tomorrow!), hears our voices in her head when she comes to a crossroads…then we have done our job!
This is the Official Trailer for the movie. WARNING: It IS graphic, visually and verbally.