Media Musts To Wrap Up “All Things Girl” Week (Part One)

To whittle down to a handful of ‘media musts’ for our grand finale of ‘All Things Girl’ week has been hard, so I’m going to try to shine the spotlight on some lesser known, deserving Offerings and invitations to be a part of some incredible communities taking steps toward the vision of self-actualization, hope, and promise for girls on a global scale…Some may not even be on your radar just yet…

Many are ‘marketing’ girl power (dos and don’ts here) some are using ‘media’ as a distribution channel to inspire change on a global scale, others are Digital-Sistas launching education communities and motherhood/social media hubs to share fun finds among wise women.

In part two we’ll go into academic pioneers breaking barriers through their research work,  girls and gaming, and must-read blogs and worthy orgs ensuring that girls get counted and are put ‘on the map’ to create sustainable global impact. In part one, we’ll look at a handful of publications, ezines, and girls’ media showcasing aspiring writers, artists, leaders, wisdom and insights on ‘growing up girl’…Enjoy!

Girls Can Do Anything (GCDA Magazine)

Girls Can Do Anything: Canada’s antidote for the toxic sludge of American teen mags that define girls before they can even define themselves…

A portion of the proceeds for subscriptions goes to Canada’s Nature Conservancy, so already you can tell this isn’t your basic fluff-n-stuff jam-packed with ads.

Yes, they have sponsorships, and a ‘Be real, be you’ store of GCDA goodies, but their pub hub revolves around authenticity and individuality, so I dare say you won’t see any waif-like social skeletons in provocative poses…(woohoo! How refreshing!)

They also have a “GCDA Club” to get together virtually with other girls in a similar age group to discuss “privately and openly, help each other out non-judgmentally, find ways to cope with stuff, deal with major issues and find solutions to make the lives of teen girls easier and better!”

Lip Magazine: Australia’s entry into the teen-zine backlash says it all:

“Do you really need another magazine telling you how to feel good about yourself and on the next page featuring yet another glamorous but seriously underfed model in order to sell you the latest celebrity fad diet book and handbags one can only ever dream of affording? Life is complicated enough without being spoonfed unrealistic and unattainable ideals of the “right body”, the “right bling” …etc. etc.

At its essence, LIP is for girls who think, feel, create, speak out and live. Girls who aren’t afraid to be themselves.”

Girls Make Media:

Founder of Cinemakids, Assoc. Prof. Mary Celeste Kearney’s blog is devoted to mobilizing girls’ media-making and production; shining the spotlight on young filmmakers and girl culture to enlighten and inspire.

She’s got a fabulous links list that’s worth the visit alone, highlighting some of our favorite friends (like MyPopStudio, Girls Rock, etc.) in addition to sourcing girls filmmaking resources like these:

Teenage Girls’ Documentary Project: Julie Gustafson’s “Desire” captures the dreams and choices of five teenage girls in New Orleans.

Completed right before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, it features two girls from the Desire housing project, two from a prestigious private high school, and one working class teen mom navigating the rough waters of gender, class, and race distinction.

It’s an intimate portrait of “growing up girl” that Shaping Youth will no doubt be adding to our free film festival/media education series, as the 37pp discussion guide alone is a springboard for dialog among parents AND teens from scout troops to YWCA and youth advocates everywhere!

Girls of the World Animation Project:

I love this project, as 5th graders highlight the importance of girls throughout history (fun teaching tool for peer to peer inspiration!)

Producer/professor Lynn Tomlinson who’s worked in public TV, Sesame Street, MTV (blog here) is the guiding light behind this hands-on concept, literally and figuratively teaching the girls to use collage and cut-out animation techniques for storytelling! Encore!

(Don’t miss her Animation History blogspot too, a refreshing alternative to big studio formula finds…)

Latinitas Magazine: Just as Ugly Betty became my daughter’s favorite program for indie competence and “be yourself” style, this niche market nonprofit packages girl power in two sizes toward healthy, confident Latinas…a teen edition and girls edition split into two distinct ages and stages much like the strategy of New Moon’s offerings above.

Beginning in 2002 out of Austin, Texas, Latinitas is the first digital pairing created by and for Latina youth, to “entertain, inform and inspire” through media and technology.

You’ll see a snapshot of tomorrow’s journalists today as girls fill categories and columns with voices and choices that reflect their developmental milestones. You can support their work (and snag a cool logo gift) via Latinitas at CafePress.

GirlZone FEMedia: Ok, so I’m not quite sure how I missed this media literacy page from with sample links to hot button topics and stereotypes captured in contemporary examples of how the world views and defines women and girls! Sure could’ve used this dang thing when I ran the Stereotypes in Media Workshop at the Girls For A Change National Summit!

C’est la vie…it’s a fun ‘aha’ moment along with the rest of the Girlzone teenzine exploration like Ask Ms. KnowBODY and dream analysis (Inner World introspection) as girls take full advantage of Web 2.0 anonymity to satisfy their curiosities in a healthy, productive way.

Girlzone is divided into three main chunks of interest, which all appeal…’bodyopolis, around town, and inner city’…the fourth is ‘downtown’ a shopping hub where I expected to find a gazillion ads to support it, but it was really a simple, tastefully executed few links in theme.

Their topics, experts, and alliances are all over the board with some advice/oversight by AAUW (American Association of University Women) so it’s not surprising that it’s a scavenger hunt for a Girlzone ‘about us’ page. (people say the same thing about Shaping Youth; New Years Resolution forthcoming!)

Still, as much as I’ve been on Girlzone, (it’s been around for over a decade) I always stumble onto something fun beyond the core content, quizzes and games (like Weird Mother or Daddy’s Girl that mix-n-match what one or the other might say and teen guesses/responses to same!!) It’s a guaranteed conversation cracker to open up teen dialog about communication!

They also have free stuff (bookmarks, stickers saying “girls are cool” etc.) a money section (Girls Just Want to Have Funds) a TechKnow Girl section (which I’ll delve into deeper with our picks for girl-geekery that I adore in Part Two) plus girl-created content on their own picks and pans, ranging from music and books to experiences that irked …

Here’s one called “Sex on a Shopping Bag” a teen girl wrote that I could sure relate to, given that Santa tartlets falling out of their fur-lined minis on the Victoria’s Secret bags were ogle-fests that didn’t make my days ‘merry or bright’ last season…

…Especially watching my daughter take the cue of ‘what sells’ as a jigglefest in ambient ‘wrap ’em up under a tree’ style objectification.

Mini-Holiday rant: Puhhhlease!!! No more puppies in boxes, slimy Santa-innuendos sugar-daddy credit card cues, or sex-kittens in holiday stockings…living beings are not toys and sweets!! bleh. bleh. bleh. Knock it off.

Anyway, Girlzone is a good one for teens to thrive, not just survive adolescence, complete with career advice, girls sports links, etc. Caveat emptor, it says it’s undergoing a ‘site redesign’ with more shopping to come…(knew it was too tasteful to be true! 😉 Gotta keep the lights on though, so my guess is they’ll affiliate carefully to maintain brand equity.) “Girl Talk for What You Need to Know” tips you off to the subject matter pretty fast in chatty conversational style that ditches the stilted, squirmy moments of ‘birds and the bees’ dreaded parent-fests.

Created by two woman doctors (an ob-gyn and a pediatrician) this is the ultimate “All Things Girl” pick for using media to engage and enlighten in fun, fresh ways. From Q&A forums to books and presentations anyone that needs a hand with puberty (girl OR parent) can find some relief here!

I found it particularly interesting that there’s a cross-reference to Nancy Gruver’s New digital communities as it seems she’s EVERYwhere these days…

I already wrote about New Moon Girl Media and Orb 28 a bit, but now it seems they’re doing affiliate marketing with Girlology, and also heavily aligned with Mind On the, and their Turn Beauty Inside Out workshops, as well as the fabulous which continues to be a long-standing favorite of mine. You go girl! (btw, Shaping Youth is looking to team with Nancy’s crew too…so we’re all meshing quite well here! Stay tuned for more!) has also had a full makeover to go digital as part of the New Moon family, and you can sign up for the site launch, and get a prequel to some of the 250 quality articles that will go live there soon…To give you a feel for same, check out interviews with AAUW’s Jackie Woods on Education, Professor and author Lyn Mikel Brown on Girlfighting, Joan Jacobs Brumberg who wrote The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls,” newsletter editor/author Helen Cordes and more…

Seems there’s a spike in interest among those seeking indie attitude and personal discovery that doesn’t come out of a box in ‘why to buy’ mode…Next case in point:

Offerings Publications:

This vibrant new “Womens’ 3.0 network for a more purposeful world” brings together women of all ages dedicated to the belief that through authentic connection, interaction and collaboration girls and women learn and grow together to serve the greater good of our families, our communities, our companies and organizations, the marketplace we serve, and the world in which we live.

In essence, it’s ‘The Girl Effect’ …the sequel!

—A developmental approach to capacity-building for girls, women, and networks of feminine leadership to create a sustainable, fresh new way of looking at planetary challenges. Here’s a sample podcast of generational unity with young women artisans as creative pathfinders.

Offerings is multi-layered, from social artists and youth to elders and seasoned pros, but I loved this description for our readers which appeals to: Young Women, urban, suburban, rural, multicultural and open, who are vibrant and curious and interested in the world around them; who are connected to the environment and each other, in touch and informed, real time; who are gutsy, cunning, resourceful, complex, in pursuit of what is real and true.”

It’s an inviting hub for champions of change to “create a container” in which women’s networks can contribute to a larger system of positive, evolved thinking that has the capacity for transformation to a more balanced and purposeful world. (I see it as Women 3.0 meets Fem2.0!)

Visionaries, BlogHers, leaders of Girls Inc. and womens’ networks, highly recommend you check out these new Offerings to see where your paths might align!

Real Girls Media Network: Just weeks ago, the Divine Caroline crowd (“Life in your words” portal, plus about thirty other female-focused sites like,, were infused by some big bucks from the Meredith Corporation to add even more female voices to the mix…

This time VentureBeat reports they’re selling off their proprietary social networking technology for girls and women to use across the board:Your words will be published right alongside those of your sisters and those of professional writers. Eventually our network will consist of multiple sites and resources serving different age groups. We’re providing a new way for women – young and older – to reach out, find out, express themselves, connect, share their experiences and ultimately give – and get – something of value.”

Watch for a new food-centric community called Mixing Bowl soon just in time for holiday meals and merriment too…Yah, I know, it’s not exactly ‘girls’ as in teens, but young women for sure…Similarly…

Word has it Real Girls Media is bumping up against the other big mama of media, BlogHer whose media clout vaulted skyward like a teenager in a growth spurt…

This past summer BlogHer aligned with iVillage to grow into even more of a femme fest with select content being picked up by Women and Lifestyle Entertainment networks/NBC Universal which means of course BravoTV and more…

Talk about ‘girl power’…Who knows what these Ladies Who Launch will be up to next…In fact…

Two of the BlogHer contributing editors Cooper and Emily have launched their own community called The Motherhood, complete with sharing circles on different topics, news and ‘BlogTicker’ formats for fresh faces and exposure, and interwoven interpersonal threads that have the potential to create a niche within a niche of ‘all things girl.’

Just as ezine communities like Teen Ink are written ‘by teens for teens’ (feature forthcoming) the Motherhood is written ‘by moms for moms’ to create inner circles of wisdom through topical conversation groups. They’ve even incorporated text messaging and voicemail into the ‘neighborhood’ so newfound friends can connect by phone, online or via e-mail to kick it up a notch on the intimacy front.

Reminds me of the GNO (Girls Night Out) Twittermoms that On Living By Learning’s Sandra Foyt was telling me about! Yep, the online playground isn’t just for kids anymore…(full feature once I’ve entered The Motherhood neighborhood to hangout for awhile)

Healthy Media Mary Rothschild’s nonprofit media literacy site (based in NY & Vermont) is not limited to ‘all things girl’ but she DOES feature some of the top educators and media/marketing analysts in the field on her blog, community forum and podcasts.

Most recently Mary hosted ‘girl experts’ like Shaping Youth advisory board member Sharon Lamb of Packaging Girlhood (podcast here) and Jean Kilbourne of So Sexy So Soon was on Mary’s 11-25 radio show, and guess what? For a show on new media/blogs…well…um…lookee there! Amy Jussel (aka yours truly) joined Mary on the air on Oct. 21via her weekly radio show called “How Are the Children?”

Mary uses media literacy to engage young parents early on, without trying for ‘one-size fits all’ platitudes and attitudes, describing each home as an “ecosystem with its unique set of people and circumstances.” She offers strategies to support intentional and creative use of media and of time in developmentally appropriate ways…and can always be found in the links on our sidebar at right. But back to ‘girls’:

Here are a flurry of short-n-sweet girl brand favorites that have had recent updates too:

From Girls Inc. (been around 144 years, encouraging girls to be strong, smart and bold!) to The Girl Scouts Go Girls Only for ages 5-12 (at left) updated to add everything from games and eco-tips…it’s easy to see even the big names are shifting to maintain relevance. GSA’s teen site, Studio B has ‘grown up girl’ too, with a new series on healthy relationship resources aligned with PAVE (Project Anti-Violence Education) and a sophisticated ezine feel that’s anything but ‘girly.’

From the Uniquely Me celebrity integration to sponsor tie-ins and ‘Bollywood’ cross promotions with Cheetah Girls, clearly the brand lines are blurring to create attention-getting offerings in a new media era…so basically, I’m including them as an ‘overhaul’ to ‘look again’—This is not your mother’s Girl Scouts. 😉

Girls, Women+Media Project:

More than just promoting media literacy, rights and responsibilities in our consumption driven culture, the Girls, Women + Media Project has a resource list of ‘must read media’ from some of our favorite friends (and advisory board members, like Audrey Brashich of All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty! shown at left)

They’ve got facts and stats out the wazoo and vital links to studies like the APA Task Force on the sexualization of girls, along with advocacy and action campaigns like I-CAN (Involved Consumers Action Network)
Many of their nonprofit site links are defunct and/or need updating but the gist of the info is timeless and the stalwart ‘girl media analysis’ hubs like and our friends at About and of course the inimitable Jean with her new book co-authored with Diane Levin, So Sexy So Soon are alive and well, expanding our knowledge with their ongoing research. (I’ll be interviewing the co-authors soon, but since Mary beat me to it on 11-25, I’ve deferred until after the holidays to start the new year off right and deconstruct the holiday offerings with these two media mavens rather than slate too close together!)

Gamine Expedition: Our own Shaping Youth Correspondent on All Things GAME (AND girl) doctoral researcher Sara M. Grimes (ACT Lab: Applied Communications Technology) will fill us in on her latest journal pubs and papers, gender notes and professorial anecdotes in Part Two, but I wanted to plop her name on this media must list as a prequel, because her links alone open up a huge conversation on the girls and gaming arena stereotypes, role portrayal, gaming for good and more…

To give you a feel for Sara’s substantial knowledge in this arena, here’s a brief abstract from one of her 2008 presentations called ‘Deconstructing the Girl Gamer: From the Girls’ Games Movement to ‘Rule of Rose’ —Highly recommend you check her sidebar for who/what she’s playing, teaching, reading, and friending! Her intellectual firepower blasts me away regularly…she’s awe-inspiring! (more about Sara in part 2)

Hardy Girls, Healthy Women: Finally, last but not least, this organization is not ‘media’ but it IS a ‘must’ in terms of an entity off the radar that’s worthy of eyeballs and learning that can scale globally…

HGHW is a Maine-based org that Cultivates Hardiness Zones for Adolescent Girls (pdf keynote here) enlisting the eco-systems of family, school and community environs as key agents of change in a systemic overhaul rather than an individual one. In their words, “We believe that it is not the girls, but rather the culture in which they live that is in need of repair.”

Probably as close to Shaping Youth as they come in terms of observing and responding to relational and social contexts, HGHW is definitely about ‘all things girl’ from a wide-angle lens. HGHW is about shifting the landscape that girls up grow in, educating and engaging those within the various social systems to create change in the structure not just in the girls’ worldview. (ahem, you scoffed that MY vision was bold?!) These girls model direct involvement with a ‘just do it’ approach to pounce right into a  problem, while giving a strong shoulder shake to the ‘powers that be’ to inspire justice and equality through action.

From skewering stereotypes (see fundraising cookbook at left) to taking a holistic approach to change, it’s almost as if these girls are holding up a mirror with incredulity to ask industry and society, “is this REALLY who you want to be?”(case in point, one of the girls’ heartfelt letters to Seventeen magazine to ‘listen up!’)

Their programs have expansive outreach potential to function as ‘media distribution’ of core concepts. Whether it’s the Girls Unlimited conferences, Adventure Girls and Girls in Action, their ability to ramp up positivity and tamp down flagrant violations of same by inspiring girls to ‘call ‘em on it’ makes for long term social change beyond a bandaid approach.

For more cyclebreakers, favorite blogs about girls and the ‘3Rs’ (plus one, for role models!) stay tuned to part two…

Sorry this is so long, promise I’ll get back to regular topics next week, but hey, where are all those ‘tee-shirt ideas’ and ‘boyhood recommendations?’ Rather slim pickin’s…Will move on to consumption and kids’ media/financial literacy for the holiday season next week…

Sample of Prof. Lynn Tomlinson’s 5th Grade Animation Lessons! (1:37)

Created by Olivia Isenhart about The Javanese Princess, Raden Adjeng Kartini

Shaping Youth’s All Things Girl Week Recap of Posts

A Tee Party Kicks Off All Things Girl Week on Shaping Youth

Veteran’s Day: Women in the Military: MyVetwork Launches

Interview with Girl Mogul Founder Andrea Stein

New Moon Girl Media Officially Launches

S.Y.’s Body Image Expert Dr. Robyn Silverman On Dove Forum

Global Women’s Leadership Network Hosts Young Leaders Worldwide

GWLN Delegate Carrie Ellett on Girls For a Change

Motrin Media Mamas & Twitter Tirades; Marcom Blunders Redux

Twilight Teens, GirlChild Press (Growing Up Girl) and Read Kiddo, Read!

Fem 2.0: Feminine Feminism & the Mother of All Conversations: Feb. 2, 2009

GLTR Girls: Girls Learn to Ride (wakeboards, snow/ski/skate/surf & more)

Doctor Jenn for Girls: Pajama Parties, Neuroscience & ‘Girls You Just Don’t Get It!’

What’s On Tweens’ Minds: Meet Denise Restauri of AllyKatzz

Girls Prescription for Self-Worth: Respect Rx

The Girl Effect: A World Changing Media Message

Smart Girls at the Party.TV: SNL’s Amy Poehler



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