What does your daughter want to be when she grows up? A doctor, a politician or an engineer? Or does she want to be a popstar or a model?
When I was growing up, girls wanted to be teachers, nurses or maybe hairdressers. These days, it’s all about losing too much weight, dousing yourself in bucketfuls of fake tan and wearing skimpy outfits on reality TV. Is that we really want for our daughters?
To celebrate it’s 500th issue (out today!), Girl Talk magazine is encouraging 7-12 year old girls to think a bit bigger. And us parents need to encourage them too – to talk about what other opportunities are out there and how there’s more to life than how you look and appearing on TV.
Girl Talk is launching the #Girls Are Amazing campaign to promote positive female role models and broaden ambition in young girls. The campaign is in response to the results of a recent readers’ survey.
In the poll, Katy Perry was voted ‘most admired celebrity’ by readers, followed Taylor Swift in second place and Jessie J in third. This doesn’t surprise me at all. Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are currently my daughter’s two very favourite ladies. With the exception of children’s writer, Jacqueline Wilson, the top 10 most admired celebrities were all singers or actors. Sportswomen, politicians and businesswomen barely registered on the list.
The survey also revealed that an overwhelming 80% of young girls wanted to be referred to as “pretty”, “kind” and “funny”, with only 20% choosing “clever”, “strong” or “brave” as important attributes. I’m pleased to say that my daughter bucks the trend on this one – she loves to be strong and clever, maybe because she’s got two bigger brothers, who knows? Also bucking the trend, we had a debate recently over whether she was ‘medium build’ or not (she is, like me). She wants to be ‘big built’ like her favourite brother, because he’s strong and tall and she sees that as something to be admired.
In the survey, more than a third of girls aspired to jobs in showbiz and their top 10 careers were either caring, artistic or performing – all roles traditionally thought of as feminine. My daughter’s dream job is teacher, closely followed by dancer. Or dance teacher. (I actually don’t have a problem with her wanting to be a dancer, because she has natural talent. She doesn’t want to be a dancer to be ‘famous’.)
Bea Appleby, Editor, Girl Talk Magazine: “We have always tried to protect the development of young girls, making sure that they don’t grow up too early, but our survey results have revealed that this is not enough. We have a duty to show our readers different ways of being a girl and not just one narrow ideal. We want to encourage them to achieve and break away from limiting and old-fashioned beliefs about what girls can do. This is a powerful change in a girls’ magazine and with the launch of our #Girls Are Amazing campaign we’re making a pledge to include more editorial about inspiring women, confidence tips, opinion pieces from readers, as well as profiling a wider variety of careers and role models.”
As part of the #Girls Are Amazing campaign, which runs until the end of the year, Girl Talk will feature inspirational women from business, sport and other areas. And they’ll be running challenges in every edition to help girls boost their self-esteem. Boost self-esteem before they hit their teens? Sounds a brilliant idea to me! Get in there early before all the self-doubt hits them too hard.
Inspirational female celebrities, like Victoria Pendleton and Ellie Simmonds, as well as CBBC presenters will be backing the campaign and sporting #Girls Are Amazing Tshirts.
What does your daughter want to do with her life? Who are her role models? And have you talked to her about broadening her ambitions?
If you know any pre-teen girls who are doing something amazing, encourage them to share their story with Girl Talk magazine by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We were given a year’s subscription to Girl Talk, along with a Tshirt and some other goodies. But we are taking part because we totally back this campaign to raise girls’ aspirations!