Lean Cuisine came to us about a month ago asking if we would partner with them on their Phenomenal Women campaign, offering us $10,000 towards scholarship support for our Summer Program.
Initially we were grateful and thrilled about the impact this would make on the girls and families for whom tuition wasn’t possible. However, as the campaign unfolded, we discovered opportunities for everyone in our community to practice leadership and engage with the girl in their life using these materials.
If you haven’t seen #WeighThis, it is a powerful piece that highlights the assumption that our value is equated with our weight. After you watch this on your own and have a good cry, consider watching it with the girl in your life. This two-minute piece can be an ideal catalyst for a great talk together.
Your girl is likely to be seeing 3000 – 5000 media images a day (not counting the peer-generated media on social). Those images are sending her a very consistent message about her body: thinness and sexiness equals confidence, and therefore power.
If you want her to possess a healthy body image, it is essential to talk together about the popular culture, your values, and set intentional practices together to build her own relationship with her body. This is especially true if she is going through puberty and putting on the weight (average of 40 lbs*) that goes with that natural process.
When we, understandably, avoid body image conversations, we send the implicit message that her body and our bodies are something to be ashamed of. Here are some possible questions to explore together when you watch #WeighThis:
- When the women first see the scale, they first think it is their weight that is going to be measured. Are there people that make you feel like you are constantly being measured and assessed by your size?
This is a great chance for a girl to reflect on the people that make her feel like she is constantly being measured. Often extended family members assess our weight, or peers might talk about this quite a bit. When we don’t reflect on this behavior it can be seen as normal. It is helpful to identify people who are caught up in the regular physical assessment of others. It doesn’t mean they are good or bad, just that they subscribe to a belief system that might not be helping your girl.
- If you were to “weigh what matters” as the campaign suggests, what symbol would you weigh? Why? What are you most proud of?
This is a question to simply share and listen. You can go beyond the “re-define beautiful” message, to talking about what matters more than appearances. These are critical conversations to have in a culture that constantly tells girls that their primary value is their looks. If the girl in your life doesn’t have anything she is proud of, this is something to talk about together. What are the skills to practice when trying new things? How do you know that a sport, hobby, instrument, or decision is one that feels right?
- One woman is proud of her divorce, while another is proud of staying married. Why might the opposite choice be one that two separate people feel proud of?
Sometimes, especially for those in high school, it can feel like there is a “right” choice that one “should” do, like sticking with a team, a friend, a group, an instrument, or a tough class. There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for success. We all have to learn to listen to our internal voice, and decide if the relationship, class, team, or activity is worth going through the inevitable challenging times to pursue, or if we aren’t enjoying ourselves because it is unhealthy, or a bad fit for us.
- If someone or something is measuring or assessing you in a way that is not aligned with your values, how could you speak up?
Give the girl in your life scripts and permission to set boundaries when she finds herself being “weighed” by others. You can role play with her how to respond when family members give her weight-based praise or criticism, helping her to re-direct the dialogue by using humor, or letting them know how she feels, or by simply asking them not to assess her weight. Does anyone comment on your weight as an adult? Maybe your girl can coach you through a role-play to help set boundaries with this person. We might not be able to control the production of the 3000 – 5000 images that our girls see each day, but we can control how we receive them.
Lastly, do you know some phenomenal women in your life? Show the world what it really means to be phenomenal by recognizing the remarkable women in your life and you could win $10K or a Love with Food Box brought to you by Lean Cuisine and Girls Leadership NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. U.S. and D.C. 18+. Ends 8/31/15.
To enter and for Official Rules, visit bit.ly/1IrT1ZJ
Just like our #mom2mom Mothers Day post, this is a great opportunity to show the girls in our life how we support other women. Maybe you can work with the girl in your life to craft the message.
Let us know what you think of these two opportunities to engage and connect with the girl in your life, and other women you admire.