Interested in joining the SPARKteam and being a part of an amazing group of young feminists activists? There’s still a few weeks left to apply!
"If you’ve looked at a teen mag lately, I think you can guess what they found – images of girls have gotten more sexualized over time. The number of sexualizing characteristics of girls in Seventeentripled and the number of sexualizing characteristics in Girls’ Life multiplied by 15 – yikes! Most of these changes in sexualization were really recent—like in the 2000s, and a little in the 1990s. They also found that, especially in Girls’ Life, the number of images with “childlike characteristics” have decreased over time. Or in other words,these magazines show pictures of girls-as-women, not girls-as-children.
So what does this really mean? Over time, they found that the images of girls were more sexualized and in Girl’s Life there was less “girl” –as in things that are childlike—and more images of sexualized women. But what’s the big deal? Well, we know that at least 35% of teenage girls read magazines every day. That’s a lot of exposure to these types of images. And this can be really bad for girls. Here at SPARK, our mission is to “take sexy back,” but that doesn’t include bombarding girls with sexualized pictures. Constantly seeing images of older, sexualized girls can lead to girls thinking they need to look like those grown-up images in the magazines. The desire to fit into a narrow idealized version of femininity can lead girls to feeling ashamed of their bodies or becoming overly concerned with their appearance. We know that focusing too much on appearances (aka trying to “look sexy”) can get in the way of girls’ developing a healthy embodied sexuality that is rooted in feeling sexy. It’s just not good for girls to equate ‘being grown up’ with being sexualized.”
by Kimberly Belmonte
As women, we are often told that there are hundreds of things we can’t do for one reason or another. We also often end up blowing people away with how wrong they all were. If there’s something you are working hard to do, don’t stop because of what people may think or expect of you. Don’t let anybody’s judgments get in the way. You can do it. And I’m sure you will be amazing.
"Lupita’s Oscar win adds her name to a list of only five other African American actresses who have won in that same category. Lupita’s awards were well deserved, but even with her wins, and the wins for 12 Years a Slave, the 2014 awards season followed the trend set by its predecessors: time after time, the number of people of color nominated for and winning awards is is astronomically low.
Since the Oscars started in 1929, fewer than 4% of the awards have been given to African Americans. Only three Oscars have ever been awarded to Latinos for acting roles (Jose Ferrer, Anthony Quinn and Benico del Toro). The majority of voters for Awards ceremonies like the Oscars are even less diverse than the winners list. In the highly secretive roster of 5,765 voting members of the Academy, 94% are Caucasian and 77% are male. Only 2% of the voters are black and less than 2 % are Hispanic. The median age of voters is 62 and only 14% of voters are younger than 50. Many of the white male voters don’t really see a problem with the lack of diversity on the voting panel.”
Everyone seems to think that girls are notorious for being “bitchy” to each other, starting drama, and competing to be the most attractive or have a certain boyfriend. Girls are known for being the more passive aggressive and judgmental gender. Guys have just as much “drama” as girls do, and can be just as mean to each other. Yet, the phrases “dramatic,” “catty” and “bitchy” are used exclusively for girls. And now it’s not just the media that’s promoting this stereotype, it’s “science!” It’s been decided, based on whatever reasoning: Girls are mean by nature, and there’s nothing that can be done.
SPARK is looking for interns!
As any one of the girls on our SPARKteam will tell you, working at SPARK is totally awesome and amazing. We’re building a ton of momentum right now and we need some dedicated, fantastic individuals to help us out. Check out the job description below, & share far and wide! Our offices are in NYC so it’s a bonus if you’re around here, but the right candidate can be anywhere (even outside the US).
SPARK (Sexualization Protest Action Resistance Knowledge) is looking for interns to work on various action campaigns and projects that challenge and push back against the sexualization of girls. We are seeking a team of fierce, bold, creative, young leaders who are passionate about girls’ issues and are committed to fighting for positive social change. Internships may range from 5-15 hours per week, depending on your availability and goals. Tasks may include: helping to launch media action campaigns, organizing young women nationwide, building and fostering partnerships with girls and girl-serving organizations around the country, blogging and/or editing blogs about girls’ issues, devising creative and innovative ways to challenge and END the sexualization of girls. To apply, please email Dana your current CV and a letter letting us know why you are interested in a SPARK GIrls Activism Internship and what you would like to learn and how you would uniquely contribute to the movement. Send to dana@SPARKsummit.com
Y’all, it’s already been a YEAR since our first SPARK Summit in NYC! I can’t believe it! Luckily just yesterday we recovered this amazing video full of clips and highlights from the Summit, so now I can watch it and relive what an awesome day it was. You should watch it too—and if you dig what you see, consider hosting a Summit in your own community!
I made this video forever ago, but I feel like it really applies after the amazing weekend I’ve had with the SPARK ladies. I’m feeling so inspired and empowered to create and make change because it’s our right to do so.
I’m so grateful to have had amazing teachers such as Dana Edell, Dana Hernandez, Shelby Knox, Jamia Wilson, Elisa Kreisinger, Renee Watson, Rebecca Mushtare, Courtney E. Martin, Deanna Zandt, and Jaclyn Friedman. Please look up everyone of these women; they have done and are doing fucking amazing things that NEED to be shared. And you best believe I’ll share them with you.
I’ll hopefully do an extensive post on everything later, but I need to write about it in my (paper) journal :-) And to loosely quote Stephanie, “We debunk girl hate when we get into spaces with each other because immediately we have an instant connection”
I feel like I’ve known these women for years. And even though it was only 3 days, I know that I’ll know and be with them for the rest of my life. This experience will forever stay with me and has been life changing.
Love you SPARKteam. <3
SPARK ladies know what’s up
One of the best experiences of my life. Hanging out with Shelby Knox and Jamia Wilson at the apartment!!
PORTLAND, OREGON: SPARK Summit is coming your way!
Last year’s SPARK Summit in NYC was amazing (check out our videos and photos!) and we are super excited to announce that this year’s summit will take place in Portland, Oregon, on October 29. Sponsored by Girls Inc. of Northwest Oregon, the SPARK Summit is a free day of workshops, action stations, and media critiques open to girls grades 6-12 and their supporters. Register now!
Not in Portland and still wanna SPARK? Email us and we can help you plan a summit in your community!