Tag Archives: media literacy

#LikeAGirl Stereotyping or Breaking Barriers?

LikeagirlIf you’ve ever watched a movie or seen an advertisement online, you know that the media relies on stereotypes to deliver their message. Often the same stereotypes are repeated over and over again, so that we become desensitized to their effects and the images start to appear ‘normal’. Yet because media messages are constructed, we have to ask ourselves can these images ever be neutral or objective?

Media literacy gives us the tools to deconstruct the harmful messages and images that media presents as “normal”. When we understand what the media is selling us, then we have the power to talk back to the media and decide which messages are harmful. Media isn’t “just a song” or “just a movie character” and ads don’t just sell us products – they also sell us values and ideas, shaping how we think about and see the world around us. 

tumblr_n85ykm1jxw1qazx76o1_500How can we decode media messages? Here are some simple steps to ‘reading’ media:

  1. Think about who created the message and who is intended to receive it.
  2. Examine how the message was created. What words, images, sounds, or designs are used?
  3. Consider the point of view of the media makers – what are their values and their biases?
  4. Try to uncover the hidden meanings (intended and unintended) in the message.


Another way to decode media messages is to think about:

  • How the image makes you feel? Does the image affect you?
  • Are the messages presented positive or negative?
  • What groups of people does the message empower? or disempower?
  • And what part of the story is not being told?
Special thanks to Day of the Girl Summit in Pittsburgh for this great pic!

Special thanks to Day of the Girl Summit in Pittsburgh for this great pic!

For this week’s action, we challenge you to practice decoding media messages.  Here is how:

  1. Select a media message to decode. It can be a product, advertisement, film, TV show, or music video.
  2. Tell us what bothers you about this image and how you would change it. Or, if it is positive media tell us what you like about the message or image.

For example: Instead of pointing out that the girl in a commercial isn’t doing anything, while the boys play sports. You could point out the problem by stating “Why is the girl just watching the boys play sports? Girls like to play sports, too! #MediaLiteracy #IDG2014”

Don’t forget to use #MediaLiteracy #IDG2014 and #11MonthsofAction with your responses.

Hijacking Girl Power or Empowering Media for Girls?


There has been a lot of discussion these past few weeks about the Always #LikeAGirl commercial and whether it is truly empowering for girls or an example of Always hijacking girl power. What do you think? 

This week, let’s keep thinking critically about the representation of girls and women in the media. Because media is everywhere – on billboards, street signs, clothing, toys, music, social media, movies, and TV – it is important that we understand the messages and impact of media on our sense of self.

takeactionHere is how to take action this week:

1). Watch the Always #LikeAGirl commercial or Intel’s Every Girl commercial.

2). Think about the pros and cons of these commercials, and other advertisements that focus on “empowering girls.” What is good about these commercials? And what is harmful?

3). Tell us what you think! Can advertisements like these reinforce negative stereotypes about girls? Do they inspire girls to dream big?

Join us for a Twitter Chat with @LTAMedia and @SPARKSummit on Monday, August 11th at 5PM EST and share your ideas with other girls taking action!

Remember to use the hashtags #IDG2014 #medialiteracy #11monthsofaction and follow the conversation on Twitter @IDG2014 @LTAMedia @SPARKSummit.

This week’s Media Literacy Takeaway: The best way to navigate media influence is to talk about the messages and ask lots of questions! Media literacy isn’t about having the right answer (because we all interpret media messages differently) – it is about asking the right questions.



August Month of Action: Let’s Talk Girls & the Media!

0Over the last couple of weeks, girls have been all over the media! From Colbie Caillat’s new video “Try” to the Always’ video “Like a Girl” – viewers have demanded (and embraced) alternative images of girls in the media.

So, why is this important? How does media impact our everyday lives? And the lives of girls around the world? 

This month the IDG Summit welcomes media literacy advocate Leanne McGowan and members of SPARK for the August Month of Action “Let’s Talk Girls & the Media”! Throughout the month, we will look at different forms of media and talk about their impact on our daily lives. Leanne and SPARK will help us understand the implications of media and give us the tools to “talk back” to the media effectively.

Are you up for the challenge?! 

Colbie_CaillatHere is how you can participate this week:

1). Watch Colbie Caillet’s new video “Try“.

2). Tell us what you think about Colbie’s message to girls and women. Is it effective? Do you think that media images have a negative impact on girls’ self-esteem? Why or why not?

3). Take Action! 21 year old Annie Garau hasn’t worn makeup since January 1st “after realizing just how much time she and her friends spend talking about their appearance” and worrying about how they looked. To change this pattern, Annie started the Born With It beauty project to help tell other girls and women that beauty isn’t determined by their appearance.

img_0780What about you? How do you challenge the media industry’s focus on beauty? And what other examples can you find where beauty standards are challenged in the media?

Join us for a Twitter Chat with @LTAMedia and @SPARKSummit on Monday, August 11th at 5PM EST and share your ideas with other girls taking action!

Share your ideas with us using the hashtags #IDG2014 #medialiteracy #11MonthsofAction and follow us on Twitter @IDG2014 @LTAMedia @SPARKSummit

Remember: Media literacy skills can help us recognize media’s harmful focus on girls’ physical appearance.