SPARK is producing a new play in New York City! UNFINISHED: Girls of Today, Wives of Tomorrow is an original play with songs and dances that offers creative strategies for ending the sexualization of girls. All performances are free and include a discussion with the writer/performers following the show. Performances run from May 28th - 31st, so if you live in the NYC area, pull out your calendar and pencil it in!
Hello! The 18th of October is the first anniversary of the Twitter Youth Feminist Army. Help us celebrate by telling us about something amazing a self defining woman or girl has done this since TYFA began (18th of October). They can be from anywhere in the world and it can be anything you find amazing. Singers, athletes, politians, business women, teachers, activists, writers, artists, scientists, inventers, leaders or even your mum. One of these amazing girls or women will be tweeted out on the TYFA Twitter every 10 minutes on the 18th. Click on this link to tell us about your amazing lady .
SPARK girl Lili Evans (a.k.a. World Leader Lilipop of Twitter Youth Feminist Army) is hosting this awesome opportunity to celebrate a girl or woman in the world (from Hilary to your mom) who inspires you! And on October 18th, the 1st anniversary of TYFA, one of these amazing women will be tweeted out every 10 minutes. Claim a shout-out for an amazing girl or woman you admire!
This week, we’re having a SPARK girl social media takeover!
Each of us will be posting periodically on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter throughout the day. Here’s the official lineup: Katy (Monday), Maddie (Tuesday), Ty (Wednesday), Annemarie (Thursday), and Mehar (Friday)!
We’re so excited to interact with you all on behalf of SPARK!
Feminism is something that I didn’t embrace until I was in seventh grade, which may seem kind of early for a lot of people out there. But I think I was born a feminist. And SPARK was the thing that pushed me to realize that my feminism holds so much potential. SPARK has taught me so much (a lot of ‘90s karaoke songs, for one). But it’s also taught me the importance of self-acceptance. And in the big, scary world of High School that I’m about to enter, I can feel safe and secure knowing that I’m embracing myself, and that I won’t fall into peer pressure or succumb to changing who I am to fit in.
The SPARKteam is a core group of girls and young women (ages 13-22) armed with fierce writing and creative arts skills, a willingness and desire to learn and grow, powerful ideas, bold strategies for change and the creative prowess and leadership skills to be a voice for SPARK Movement. SPARKteammates are passionate about challenging the sexualization and objectification of women and girls and promoting girls’ sexual rights and healthy sexuality.
We want to stress that being on the SPARKteam requires a time commitment of between 10 and 20 hours per month depending on what’s going on with you and with SPARK. SPARKteam members are expected to:
- Do two “actions” per month. Actions can include blog posts, performances, videos, media appearances, op-eds, & other similar things—if it’s related to our mission and you can document it on our website, it probably counts!
- Post and discuss SPARK blogs on at least two social networking sites per month. Pushing SPARK content to your networks is a huge part of what we do—reposting on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is super important!
- Attend two scheduled chats each month with the SPARKteam to discuss blog topics, action ideas, get SPARK updates, etc.
- Attend two SPARKteam activist training retreats per year, all expenses covered by SPARK.
- Check in at least twice weekly on the SPARKteam’s private Facebook group to keep up with the SPARKteam and see what everyone is up to. New action and blog ideas and media opportunities are often posted in the group, so it’s vital that you read it regularly.
This is mostly a volunteer position, but SPARKteam members get paid for the actions & blogs they create. You’ll be paid $50 a month ($25 per completed/published action).
Click through above to read a little bit from SPARKteam member Crystal Ogar on why being on the SPARKteam totally rules, then download the application and get it in by June 4th! Right now we’re especially interested in recruiting high school girls, girls of color, & lgbtq girls in order to keep our ranks and perspectives truly representative of girls’ experiences, but we welcome applications from any & all interested girls ages 13-22.
We’re looking forward to reading yr applications!
We have until MIDNIGHT, TONIGHT, FRIDAY MAY 18TH to raise the money for our You’ve Been SPARK’d campaign! You’ve Been SPARK’d is basically a culture jamming starter kit, with sweet post-its that you can use to talk back to media & a central online gallery for people to share their images and talk about issues of representation.
B A S I C A L L Y it rules, and an anon donor just offered to start matching donations between $150 & $500! We know, that’s a lot, especially for our tumblr friends & loved ones, but you don’t have to go that big! We have sweet prizes at lower levels and every dollar counts. Please do us big ups & help us to continue supporting girls by sharing this everywhere.
Hello, 1000+ followers!
If you’re new to SPARK (or even if you’re not!), here’s some stuff to check out to learn more about us:
- Read our blog! It’s updated several times a week and written by the SPARKteam, a badass group of girls 13-22.
- Like us on Facebook to get sweet SPARK action all up in your timeline.
- Follow us on Twitter and carry us around in your pocket.
- Check out our SPARKits, a collection of free educational toolkits designed for use in classrooms, community groups, or basically anywhere that girls hang out together.
- Write something for us! Submit your thoughts & feels to our Tumblr and we’ll post them for the world to see.
- Talk to us! We love questions, comments & feedback, and we definitely want to give you some advice if that’s what you’re after.
Interested in doing more with SPARK? Watch this space! We’re about to start recruiting new SPARKteam members, and we’ll make the announcement here when it happens.
Thank you all for your amazing love & support. Now go forth and SPARK change!
On Friday, 14-year-old SPARKteam girl activist Julia Bluhm presented Seventeen Magazine with her Change.org petition: Give Girls Images of Real Girls! The petition asks:
For the sake of all the struggling girls all over America, who read Seventeen and think these fake images are what they should be, I’m stepping up. I know how hurtful these photoshopped images can be. I’m a teenage girl, and I don’t like what I see. None of us do. Will you join us by signing this petition and asking Seventeen to take a stand as well and commit to one unaltered photo spread a month?
The petition has garnered over 49,000 signatures (and counting!) and the media has been eager to cover the story. Read the SPARK blog post on the event here.
Here are some of the media pieces on the SPARKteam meeting with Seventeen Magazine:
New York Times: A Real Girl, 14, Takes a Stand Against the Flawless Faces in Magazines
5/3/12: “As of Thursday evening, the petition had been signed by 46,000 people. Julia and her mother, Mary Beiter, came to New York this week from their home in Waterville, Me., for a demonstration organized by Change.org and Spark outside the offices of Seventeen in Midtown.”
The Guardian: Thousands join girl in urging Seventeen magazine to publish unedited images
5/3/12: “Seventeen magazine said it had invited Bluhm to its offices after seeing her petition. It said in a statement: ‘We’re proud of Julia for being so passionate about an issue – it’s exactly the kind of attitude we encourage in our readers – so we invited her to our office to meet with editor in chief Ann Shoket this morning.’”
New York Daily News: Teens ask Seventeen Magazine: “Where are the girls like me?”
5/2/12: “Outside the headquarters of the teen magazine known for its skinny models, a group of girls dressed in plain old jeans and jackets posed in front of a white backdrop Wednesday holding up signs that read ‘Where are the Girls Like Me?’”
ABC Nightline: Are Airbrushed Ads Dangerous?
CBS New York: 14-Year-Old Takes On Altered Photographs In Seventeen Magazine
5/2/12: “While kids are being bombarded by what they see in ad campaigns and magazines, what they hear at home hits just as hard. Child psychologist Dr. Jennifer Harstein said parents obsessing about their own diet and how they look is often passed down.”
We are super super SUPER excited that SPARK activist Crystal Ogar (aka crystalsavestheday!) will be speaking at Women in the World this Saturday, March 10th. Tune into the entire three-day event using the livestream link above. The summit kicks off March 8th at 6:30 pm, and you can see the full schedule here. Crystal’s panel, The Digital Lives of Girls, will happen Saturday at 11:15!
With the explosion of digital & social media, girls’ lives now unfold in the most public of spaces. Yet innovative young women are harnessing digital technology, owning their images, and leveraging the issues that are most important to them.
Moderator: Chelsea Clinton
- Noorjahan Akbar, Co-Founder and member, Young Women for Change
- Shelby Knox, Director of Women’s Rights Organizing, Change.org
- Crystal Ogar, Activist & Blogger, SPARK
- Emily-Anne Rigal, Founder and Director, WeStopHate.org
- Julie Zeilinger, Founder and Editor, TheFBomb.org
One of the most unique, important things about SPARK is that we’re a movement by girls, for girls and girls’ allies. We center girls’ experiences and elevate girls’ voices because we know that “protecting them” from sexualization doesn’t work–we need to help girls develop their own strengths and speak out against the forces that harm them. Our SPARKteam is made up of engaged, passionate girls and young women who are building their own solutions and leading a movement against the sexualization, objectification, and violence against women present in the media. Wanna get on this team? Email Dana Hernandez, SPARKteam Coordinator. Wanna talk to one of our SPARKteam members for a story or media piece? Reach out here.