Get set for another onslaught of female empowerment and girl power, backed by a huge brand. We’ve seen Dove, Pantene, Under Armour and Always successfully infiltrate the world of advertising in a way that positions girls and women as less passive and more powerful than ever before. It is a much-needed change, especially when you consider the type of influence the media, advertising, consumerism, fashion and beauty has on the way girls form their worldviews about what being a woman is “supposed” to look like.
Now we can add another huge brand to the mix: American Girl. The Mattel-owned and operated company that produces a line of dolls which are very popular with younger girls. American Girl have released a new campaign called ‘The Pledge’ which from the outside is all about female empowerment, much like the aforementioned brands.
While there is an increased importance on letting girls individually define who they are in life, American Girl has added a crucial aspect to this message. The notion that being individual and empowered is better elevated with sisterhood. Yep, they want to create a culture where togetherness is paramount to helping girls discover their true potential, because without support and encouragement, it can be hard.
In the video below, we see a group of diverse young women talking about what they “pledge” to do, in the same of supporting each other, and all of us are invited to be part of this campaign by publicly pledging what we can do to further this movement.
“When girls join forces, we’re a force to be reckoned with. That’s why we’re uniting girls and inviting them to make a pledge for all girls everywhere,” says a description about the video.
American Girl’s president Jean Mackenzie says the message is encouraging girls to think about how they can be better by sticking together.
“We were one of the first brands to talk to girls in a way that made them feel like they really matter. But for the most part, that approach was focused on the individual girls. Now, we’re putting ourselves on a new path, going beyond the individual and talking about how girls can be powerful collectively,” she said.
While for us and many others this message is a no-brainer, when you look at the dominant ways women are portrayed in mainstream media, we begin to realize why we need campaigns like this. A good example is the recent MTV VMAs. The most prominent news stories being shared leading up to the event and after the night were the feuds between Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift. Yes, each girl had something to say about the other, but the media did not help by playing it up.
It becomes “entertainment” to see girls as rivals, rather than sisters and friends. Miley Cyrus, as controversial as the press likes to make out she is, is also a very strong social justice advocate for youth issues. Nicki Minaj has had some very awesome and intelligent things to say about the double standards for women in the music industry. Taylor Swift is a heavy supporter of sisterhood and feminism. But why aren’t those aspects of their lives played over and over again in the media? Oh that’s right, because it is too positive. What a shame…
One of the other awesome aspects about American Girl’s sisterhood movement is the news they are teaming up with our friends from The Empowerment Project documentary to host a series of screenings around the States in October.
Emmy Award-winning Filmmakers Sarah Moshman and Dana Cook will be part of the screenings, bringing their brand of female empowerment to a younger audience. The documentary, if you aren’t already familiar with it, features a long list of “ordinary women doing extraordinary things” in industries such as fashion, education, hospitality, science, theater, fitness, architecture and more. The message of TEP is that no matter what the odds, if you have a dream and a passion, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
“We are so honored and excited to be working with American Girl to get our inspiring documentary out to more young women around the US. American Girl encourages girls to stand tall, have a voice, and dream big and that’s exactly our mission with ‘The Empowerment Project’,” said Sarah Moshman in an email to us.
One of the common themes amongst all the women featured in the documentary is that they had mentors and women around them encouraging them in the direction they wanted to go. This is a powerful statement to make to a generation of young girls who are unfortunately much more used to being fed messages like the one given out at the VMAs – women should battle each other to get on top.
Thankfully we have brands, filmmakers, women and organizations working to flip the script and infiltrate society with positive, empowering movements.
If you want to be part of the American Girl campaign, you can make your own pledge and share it with your community.