Cadette Media Journey Resources

Girls are easily influenced by the images they see in the media.  The Media Cadette Journey is an important one to do with this age group, as their bodies and opinions of themselves are changing.

The MEdia Journey is Very Accessible to Today's Youth

If you ask most women how they felt about their middle school years (sixth through eighth grade), most will not have very fond memories. It is an awkward stage of life, as our bodies are maturing, our skin is breaking out, and we yearn to be old enough to drive a car and escape our parents who do not understand us. Our best friends are our lifeline, and we spend countless hours on the phone, hanging out at the mall or at each other's houses. 

In the days before the internet and cell phones, the only media that I had to contend with was my local AM/FM radio stations, the six channels I had on my television (three network, three local), and the magazines that arrived in my mailbox.


Today, my daughters have so much more to contend with media-wise than I ever did..Cell phones have become weapons. Nasty text messages have replaced face to face arguments that are more easily reconciled because girls cannot hide behind the words typed on a phone. Just try saying those hateful things you typed as you look your friend in the eye. Instagram permits people to instantly photograph and share what they are doing. Having a sleepover or a party? Let everyone who is following you and isn't invited know and make them feel badly! Facebook is the King of cyber bullying, where you can create fake accounts and hurt others by what you post. Better yet, why not embarrass someone by posting unflattering pictures of them for all to see.
When my older daughter was in high school, she told me you had to accept friend requests from people you don't wish to be friends with or else they would give you problems at school. One of the happiest days for her was post graduation, when she was able to unfriend literally hundreds of her peers whom she never wanted to contact again.
The Girl Scout Cadette MEdia Journey helps girls,learn about the media in their lives and how to deal with it in a positive way. (Note-MEdia is intentionally spelled in this manner to show the girls how they are a part of it.)

The Media and Body Image

Sending the wrong message to our impressionable daughters
All a person has to do is look at the magazine covers in the checkout line to see what battles our young girls have with body image. Celebrities are shown smiling under captions that read how happy they are now that they have lost weight. Excuse me, you can only be happy when the scale reads a certain number?
Then there are the magazine covers that show miserable looking pictures of television and movie stars and the headlines proclaim how heavy they have gotten. Some of these publications have pictures of celebrities in bathing suits and rate how they look. I would love to see how the photographer of that image looks in a swimsuit. How judgmental have we as a society become?I know that I am more sensitive than most about this issue for two reasons.
First, as a teenager, I used to hate myself and how I looked. My short, slightly chubby body was never portrayed in magazines, on television or in the movies. I was not tall, rail thin or had straight hair. It took growing up, learning to eat properly and doing daily exercise to slim my body down and to realize that I did not have a problem, it was how women are portrayed in the media.
I am also sensitive to this topic because I have a daughter who is a recovering anorexic. This is a mental illness, not a diet gone bad. Seeing how the media equates being thin with being happy is a terrible message to send anyone, in particular unsure middle school and high school girls.

Movies to Spark Discussions

Queen Sized DVD from Amazon

When the popular girls at school pull a nasty prank on Nikki Blonsky's character and nominate her for Homecoming Queen, she does not let peer pressure or pressure from  the adults in her life stop her from running. This movie attempts to combat the stereotype that Homecoming Queens must be wealthy and thin
.

One way to get the discussion about bullying or body image out in the open is to use a movie. Much like a good picture book to teach a lesson worked for Daisy Girl Scouts earning their petals, any one of the following movies can be viewed as a troop and then discussed. Tell the parents ahead of time about your plans and have them sign a permission form that states it is okay to see the movie.As the leader, you should preview the movie, prepare some questions for group discussion, and then plan a movie night meeting with your girls.Any one of the following will be appropriate.
Cyberbully DVD from Amazon

Cyberbullying is real.  Unlike the past, where home was a safe haven, social media and the internet makes people a target everywhere they go. In this all too real movie, Emily Osmet's story of what happens to her and the cruelty she suffers from. It is a chillingly real depiction of what teens go through today.

Useful Online Resources for The Media Journey

Leaders, there are many online resources that are right at your fingertips. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, check out these ideas,and develop your own plan of action for your troop to take so they can complete this Journey and be one step closer to earning their Silver Award.

Model Transformation


This one minute video shares the "truth" behind the modeling scene.



Inappropriate Media Images

Just what are they trying to sell?

Another big issue girls have in relation to the media is overtly sexual advertisements. One look at online and print ads for teencentric brands like Abercrombie and Hollister and it can make a parent cringe. The images are inappropriate and have young adults in provocative poses to sell overpriced jeans and tee shirts. By advertising their products in this manner, it makes it appear acceptable to girls this age to act this way.
As adults we can see through this, but you need to remember that younger minds are still developing and are easily influenced (that is why teens make such dumb choices...their brains are not fully developed yet.One activity leaders can do with their troops is to have an assortment of magazines for the girls to look through. They can look for inappropriate advertisements and try to figure out exactly what the product is trying to sell. How could it be marketed differently? Why is the product being advertised in the manner that is being shown?
To Be Fat Like Me DVD from Amazon
A high school student who is thin does an undercover project.  She transfers to another high school, puts on a fat suit, and learns firsthand how overweight teens are treated.

Completed Cadette Take Action Media Projects

YouTube is a great tool for girls to complete their Media TAP-Take Action Project. Here is a sampling of what some Cadette troops have done.