New Moon Girl Media: Orb28 Gives Rise to Teen Voices (Part 2)

Ready to tap into the ‘inner sphere’ of the upcoming teen site Orb28?

Continuing yesterday’s post about youth media orgs like these ready to put pop culture messaging on a whole new frequency, we’ll see what some of the Orb28 Girls Web Editorial Board (at left) have to say about ‘what’s good for girls’…(also don’t miss Patti Binder’s blog along these lines!)

Orb28 fits well with some of our other partner orgs like Girls Are Champions (see our sister channel’s ESPN2 clip on License to Thrive.org about Title IX) Starlings Volleyball USA, (giving girls a chance to soar) our Tapestries of Hope gal pals with girls helping girls cross-continent, and our changemaker friends at readergirlz, Girls Rock, Girls for a Change, Girls Get Real and beyond…

Next up to watch? The expansion of Courtney Macavinta’s Respect Rx, (feature next week!) my daughter’s fave, GLTR Girls (‘girls learn to ride’, surfing/wakeboards etc.) and DigiGirlz all shaking up the status quo…plus a host of new media/marketing ventures on the horizon which we’ll cover soon in a preview of the YPulse National Mashup.

It’s encouraging to see the ‘dark side of the moon’ grow dim as organizations like New Moon Girl Media challenge the churn of the media and marketing machine to light up the potential, unplug the power, dial down the damage, and focus on ‘Young People Who Rock.’

Wanna add your voice to these 13-15+ articulate teens? Here are Orb28’s submission guidelines and our interview with a few of the GWEB girls for a glimpse of what’s to come…(C’mon Jessi, are you REALLY 13? wow. My daughter’s not going to believe it; awe-inspiring!)

Shaping Youth: Who would YOU pinpoint as a strong role model for girls? How can we shift perceptions of girls’/women’s possibilities toward the type of role-model girls could endorse?

Sarah Jane, Age 14:

Sadly, my two PERSONAL role models, Queen Elizabeth I and John Lennon, are dead. But a new one that I have is Julie Taymor, because she is a BRILLIANT director. However, for others…I think powerful actresses (Ellen Page, Cate Blanchette, etc.), musicians (P!nk, members of the bands Paramore and The Hush Sound, etc.), leaders (Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi…and not directly in politics, the women in CodePink), writers (J.K. Rowling, Sharon Creech), along with local figures are all GREAT! I don’t think it would be hard to convince girls (to shift away from celebutantes) as these are well-known people (who HASN’T heard of Harry Potter?) The word just needs to be spread…

Juliet, Age 14:

Anyone who is willing to hear what women/girls are saying. I think most perceptions are started by the media; if the media is pro someone, chances are that will impact your opinion.

Jessi, Age 13 (shown at left)

I think Drew Barrymore is a nice actress, though she doesn’t get as much credit as some people who are clearly less talented. I also like Hilary Clinton, some tend to find her “rough” but I think she needs to have a tough exterior, after all it’s politics. Some other good role models are Mary J. Blige, her music is so empowering and Queen Latifa, she’s gorgeous!

America Ferrera is also a great role model, not only is she a talented actress, but she is also showing curvy Latina women are beautiful, too! In order for girls to start looking towards “real” women as role models, I think they first need to have confidence in themselves. These girls who try to be stick-thin and wear brand names to feel cool, are actually very insecure. It will take time, but with support and understanding, I think girls will start to realize the Paris Hilton’s of the world, aren’t what beauty should look like.

Marly, Age 13:

I don’t really have one role model, but there are people I admire and look up to. I think people should look up to those who are famous for being talented, influential, and inspirational, rather than celebrities like Paris Hilton who get media attention for all the wrong reasons. J.K. Rowling is a role model to me because she is such a great writer!

Shaping Youth: What positive media do you enjoy and why? (favorite websites, books, movies, TV shows, magazines, etc.) Editor’s note: They all mentioned New Moon as a safe place to have pride in being a girl, opinionated, etc., so I edited those out as a ‘given’)

Sarah Jane, Age 14

Gilmore Girls…VERY realistic, focusing on a teen girl and her single mom. GURL.com…a good place to vent anger…Bend it Like Beckham…TOTAL girl power movie!!! And Paper Moon, for something older…

Jessi Age 13

I like to read books with strong heroines, like Pride and Prejudice (who can’t resist the witty Elizabeth Bennett?) and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle…(about a girl who becomes a pirate!—even for people who dislike the idea of a book about pirate, you’ll like this) A fun movie is The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (they’re making a 2nd) and a soon-to-be-movie, which is also a book, Pope Joan. All these movies/books show me friendship, love, and happiness, but most of all they show strong-willed women who overcome great obstacles.

Shaping Youth: How has the media’s obsession with female “beauty” or “perfection” affected you? Do you think the media is getting worse (more unrealistic or degrading images) or better (more powerful, realistic images)?

Sarah Jane, Age 14

For me, it makes things hard in a weird way. I’m blonde, thin, and blue eyed…fairly classic American girl except my abnormally short height. Because I’m small, I eat less. Combined with the fact that I run, it makes girls annoyed if I’m not HUNGRY to eat more food. (e.g. 2 brownies and I’m done). I think the media is DEFINITELY getting worse, but it’s not too late to stop.

Juliet, Age 14

I think it has affected many people; but I don’t consider myself one of them. I feel it makes many people feel conscious about how they look, the way they dress etc. I don’t really have many years to compare the media to, so all I can say is that I don’t think the images and things they choose to show are getting better and less degrading.

Jessi Age 13

If it wasn’t for the media, I probably wouldn’t feel as pressured to fit into a certain mold. Especially for me, brand-names like Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch, bother me because they expect women to be a size 00 or wear something just for the name.

Some people say they like these things because it makes them feel “safe” if they act like everybody else then they won’t be teased or picked out of a crowd. So, sometimes it’s hard for me to make friends, I can see people looking me up and down and I feel like they are saying, “she’s different.”

Yes, I like being different and I’m not afraid to voice my opinion, but it saddens me that people would lose out on friendship over something like clothing. I think there has become more awareness to the fact that, yes, women are being degraded, but I also feel that some women encourage it. It’s a bit like tug-of-war, both sides think they’re right, so on TV and magazines you see the good and bad advertising, I just choose to ignore the bad advertisements and focus on the positive.

Shaping Youth: Do you watch America’s Next Top Model? What do you think about the show? Does it contradict Tyra Banks TZONE Foundation which focuses on helping girls and women reach their “full potential”?

Juliet, Age 14

Occasionally I watch the show. I think it semi-contradicts it, but it doesn’t say anything about image really…

Sarah Jane, Age 14

I don’t watch it, but my friends do; they make it sound like it’s “just fun”…but so is Barbie.

Jessi Age 13

Actually, I’m quite a fan of America’s Next Top Model. (I’ve sat through an all-day marathon before so I guess that considers me hooked!) I do think Tyra Banks has done a great job bringing more awareness to problems facing girls, (eating disorders, physical and mental conditions, as well) but people have to understand modeling.

Modeling is a business, the women are used to model the clothing, that’s it. That is all they have to do. Taking pictures, is different. With modeling the clothes, designers don’t care if the woman is curvy or black, they just want to sell their clothing. So while ANTM is great, it is also unrealistic to the harsh realities of modeling.

I may not agree with the designers, but from a business standpoint (I come from a family of businessmen) I understand this is a job, the designers don’t have time to hear every model’s life story, they just need to sell their clothing. I think every girl should strive for their “full potential” so ANTM is a great opportunity.

Shaping Youth: What do you think about this CosmoGirl article and poll that recently ran in the “What is Sexy” spring issue by Marina Khidekel?

Opening Excerpt:

…”Has our society’s obsession with sex gotten out of control? You say yes. According to a CosmoGirl poll, 81% of you feel bombarded with sex and sexy images in the media, and 85% of you think there’s more sex in the media now than when you were younger. You’re probably right-a recent Newsweek poll found that 84% of American adults say sex plays a bigger role in popular culture than it did 20 or 30 years ago.
Not only is the amount of sexual imagery on the rise, but it’s thrown at you earlier than ever. Bratz dolls, the number-two-selling doll for little girls behind Barbie, come wearing short skirts and fishnets. Stores such as Limited Too sell lingerie like push-up bras and skimpy low-rise underwear for preteens. And TV shows aimed at your age group with smart female lead characters (like Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars) are being canceled, while shows that survive (like America’s Next Top Model and The Hills) focus mainly on girls’ appearance and hookups.

When you’re surrounded by the message that if you’re not hot, you’re not anything, you start to believe that as a girl, it’s your sexual power-not your talent, brains, or ambition-that counts most. “The girls at school act sexy to impress boys and each other,” says Katie, 16, from Detroit. “They dress slutty and act ditzy around guys to get attention-and the sad thing is, they do.” In an age when girls have more opportunities than ever to be successful, why are you growing up with the notion that being hot is the most important measure of success?” (article excerpt from CosmoGirl March ’08, Vol. 10, pp.154)

Shaping Youth: As teen girls, do you feel it’s hypocritical for CosmoGirl to publish an article like this, when so much of their magazine focuses on looks and being “sexy”—OR is this a way to get this message to girls who might NOT see it otherwise??

Marly, Age 13 (at left)

I thought it was a good article. I don’t think it’s hypocritical for CosmoGirl to publish it; it is a pretty good magazine that encourages girls to have fun and be themselves. The article said that you can be sexy in a lot of ways — with your intelligence and sense of humor, for instance.

Sarah Jane, Age 14

I think it’s good that CosmoGirl is recognizing it, but it’s easy to SAY without DOING. When their magazine reflect this article, THEN they have made some steps in the right direction.

Jessi Age 13

Let’s be honest, we ALL have our hypocritical moments and most of what we see today (in the media with celebrities and politics) have two-stories…

Politicians preach about fair representation and honest work, then they hire prostitutes or commit child pornography. Some celebrities get Oscars and Emmys, but do they really deserve it when they spend $5 billion dollars on handbags!?

So, CosmoGirl writes an article about the pressure to feel sexy, and CosmoGirl is one of the notorious “…you can be sexy, ooh ahhhh….” magazines, I think it shows that readers are tired of this sex-appeal and they’re sending a message to the writers at CosmoGirl. Honestly, I was surprised at how thorough the article was, because sadly, interest pieces are normally a paragraph or two. (I know women can write and read more than that!)

If CosmoGirl wants to put an article in their magazine about the pressures of sex and sex appeal, then they’d better step-up to the plate and prove that they can deliver more inspiring writings…I’m not going to put down the article, because it was well-written, but I will say the magazine is stepping blindly into a controversy over women’s looks.

Shaping Youth: As teens, how do you feel about “the F word” (feminism?) Is it a word you use to describe yourself? How do the people you know react to this word?

Marly, Age 13

I don’t know. I’ve never actually said to anyone, “I’m a feminist”, but I’m not sexist either. I don’t think people would think badly of the word “feminism,” but I don’t know because in my school and where I live, no one really puts down girls and women.

Juliet, Age 14

I’d like to believe that I am a feminist, as I am fully (obviously) for the women’s movement. I don’t think anyone I know has that strong of opinion towards the word.

Jessi Age 13

I think the spirit of feminism embodies all women, when women embrace themselves for who they are and try to better the lives and others then I would say they are a feminist. Personally, I love being a feminist and the people who know me don’t act as if it’s negative, but that it’s just me LOVING myself. I feel like anyone who has a bad connotation of feminism has been misled…Make it what you want, don’t try to be someone you’re not.

Sarah Jane, Age 14

I am DEFINITELY a feminist. It’s the only label, (pretty much) that I give myself. (I’m probably too much of one, as I tend to be a bit sexist to GUYS, but I’m working on it.) Most of my friends just laugh off or ignore my serious comments when talking about women being less than men. They think we’re equal…I don’t.

Shaping Youth: We have a lot of ‘cause-marketing’ teens on our youth team…When you get fired up about a “cause” how do you choose to spread the word? (websites, cell, text messages, FB, etc.)

Do you have any stories about rallying others around something you believed was important? Eco, animals, humanity, etc.?

Sarah Jane, Age 14

Well, I have a lot of causes…I used to blog it, but now I’m in high school there’s less time. I’ll e-mail, make it my Facebook status (like “Sarah Jane is…IRAQ: 5 YEARS TOO MANY”), or just bug my friends about it. One of my friends, Marina, and I started a Peace Club at our school this year as Freshman.

Marly, Age 13

Hmmm…I’ve never really had one “cause” that I supported a lot; I think we need to save the environment, end world hunger and poverty, and be kinder to animals, but I never had one cause that I told anyone about. I guess I would tell people my cause through word of mouth or posting things on the internet and creating a website dedicated to the cause if I had one.

Jessi Age 13

Normally I pick an issue that’s important to me and do some research on the web. (it’s always good to be well-informed about the topic you’re discussing/rallying for) Then I talk to my friends and ask if anyone would like to join me (you’ll be surprised how open people can be if you just ask!) after that I like to take talents that people have and put them to use. (like if one person is a great artist, have them make the signs or posters, or even have someone write a song or do a skit. This year, I’m participating in the Day of Silence in April; honoring LGBT who have had their voices put down. I am also considering starting a protest or attending a rally sometime soon.

Juliet, Age 14

I think Facebook is an awesome way to get people involved. You can set up events, groups, causes, etc. on it.

Shaping Youth: Thanks Juliet, Jessi, Marly and Sarah Jane for giving us a glimpse into your world…looking forward to more.

Our Shaping Youth tween and teen advisors are all over the board from public and private schools and our diversity mix, but still very regional in nature, so we’d like to hear from other parts of the world to keep from S.F. Bay Area/Silicon Valley digital myopia. (The 8-12 ‘tweens’ at New Moon) are a special lot as well

I’ll be anxious to see how the Orb28 GWEB content develops, as it’s always interesting to hear how regional, socioeconomic, and environmental and familial infrastructures differ in kids’ upbringing and worldviews, even as the media/marketing landscape begins to homogenize and impact both genders across the board.

If any of you have contacts to boys groups (beyond scouts and B/G clubs etc.) Shaping Youth is also interested in building our GUYS team of youth voices for interviews especially on the ‘flip and blip’ video/TV content creation with a given theme, and ‘day in the life’ podcasts.

We seem to have a stronger contingent of girls’ input but would love to hear more about Packaging Boyhood in the 21st century world of media/marketing and how it’s landing on guys.

We’ll be interviewing Dr. Jennifer Austin Leigh along these lines, to review her new book Laid or Loved, hearing ‘secrets’ from guys on ‘dream girls and just in his jeans girls’ as well as more about her documentary film work and teen MySpace following of over 65,000+ teen friends!

Here’s a YouTube sample of her ‘on the street’ interviews exploring questions like, “Do Women Manipulate Men?” Plus a snapshot from her book that says guys feel “Girls are under dressed, oversexed and mean spirited; media, cell phones, internet and an “anything goes” culture are responsible.” Yowza. Should be an interesting session!

So please send me some teen boy youth voices, and maybe we’ll get our sister channel, GACtv to host a teen townhall format on some of these pop culture issues and media/marketing driven behavioral cues and invite Dr. Jenn to moderate?

Meanwhile, as teen pregnancy pacts about cheerleader escapades flood mainstream media (RespectRx and Reign of the Girl Child both blogged this issue extremely well) I’m thankful new media voices at Orb28 and the girls’ blog will bring some balance to the cacophony of chaotic coverage. (say that three times fast!)

(btw, Courtney Macavinta’s ‘Respect Pact’ is a must read; and she was featured in that SAME CosmoGirl issue for her INNER beauty! More on that in our upcoming feature on RespectRx)

Oh, and btw…If you ever feel like positive youth voices are being drowned out by negative noise, just remind yourself of this media literacy nugget:

“Harmony seldom makes a headline. ~Silas Bent”

There are plenty of ‘youth’ out there who ‘rock!’ 🙂

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Comments

  1. Great post, great points, great responses. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for linking to readergirlz!

  2. Heads up Bay Area Girls Rock movie fans!

    NEW FREE SCREENING ADDED OF GIRLS ROCK ON JUNE 26 WITH THE FILMMAKERS, OUTDOORS!!!

    This just in, fyi—:

    “Rockers, So sorry for the quick add-on, but forgot to mention a special event for those of you in the Bay Area! We’re doing a free screening outdoors in Temescal, a neighborhood in Oakland, on June 26 at 9pm. There’ll be music and our glorious selves and beautiful weather and if you are in-the-know you’ll have dinner at Dona Tomas and yay! “

  3. Hi Willow, you’re one of readergirlz youth editorial board aren’t ya? Your name sounds familiar to me? –Amy

  4. Great post, Amy! I loved reading what the girls had to say. And yes, Little Willow leads our postergirlz, our rgz advisory team, and is our webdiva. :~) She absolutely rocks!

    Lorie Ann Grover, rgz diva/author

  5. Ah, thought so…My brain cells AREN’T completely fried in this global warming heat spell just yet! 😉 Thanks for the warm comments Lorie Ann, now I just need to get my new avatar workin’ right like Willow did for WordPress comments in the new upgrade. Tell her to ping me if your webdiva gets a sec…!!!

  6. fyi, Nancy just posted to the New Moon Facebook group re: the Asst. Mg. Editor of Orb28, Julia B’s ‘call for street team teens’ here:

    “Here’s a message from Julia for all girls, former girls, & parents (see the end of the message if you’re a parent or caring adult) who want to help New Moon reach more girls:

    Hey girls, You’re the most important part of New Moon Girls and we want to invite you to be on the new Street Team that I’m coordinating-take a look at what this is about! At New Moon we want the world to hear from girls, respect girls, and support girls’ dreams. The Street Team will help more and more girls everywhere use their voices, achieve their dreams, and work together in ways that matter.

    You can use your voice and spread the word about New Moon Girls magazine and New Moon Girls online! Find out more about what the New Moon Girls Street Team is doing in June and all the fun ways YOU can get involved. New Moon plans are always centered on girls and their ideas so I want to hear from you.

    Feel free to e-mail me and with questions and ideas, and I’ll send you an application to join the team and get some street teamer goodies. Now you can share your love for New Moon while being an ambassador for girls and their dreams!

    If you want to join the street team or if you’ve got thoughts on what Street Teamers could be doing…or even what we should name our street team, give me a shout…“JuliaB at newmoongirlmedia dot com”

  7. I am the author of what is sure to be an iconic new SCHOLASTIC book series for girls, RUBY & THE BOOKER BOYS.

    Eight year old African-American princess Ruby Marigold Booker uses her style, charisma, talent, and all out girl power to make it in a household full of boys. But these aren’t just any boys; her brothers (Tyner, Ro, and Marcellus) are Hope Road Academy’s and Chill Brook Avenue’s famous Booker Boys. She’ll do whatever it takes to step out of their shadows and make a name for her self.

    This colorful and rhythmic new series in children’s lit is all about the love and support of family, community, and self. Ruby finds the strength and confidence to overcome any obstacle and accomplish everything she sets her mind to.

    Book one (Brand New School, Brave New Ruby) is available NOW at all Barnes and Noble stores. On July 1st book one and two (Trivia Queen, Third Grade Supreme) will be available EVERYWHERE books are sold.

    New Ruby books are scheduled to be released every three months!

    Please support this new series, a series which has always been my dream to be the creator of. My goal as an artist is to create characters that African American children and parents can identify with and be proud of. I feel like I’ve done that with Ruby and her family.

    Prepared to be Ruby-fied!

    peace and blessings
    Derrick Barnes
    derrickbarnes.com

  8. Hey, Derrick…sounds grand. Now, did she HAVE to be a princess? 😉 Will check out your site…sounds worthy indeed.

  9. Well she’s not really a princess in the actual sense of the word, but she demands princess type of treatment from everyone else in the house.

    Ruby Booker is going to be a household name pretty soon.
    I just hope that my readers, shapingyouth.com visitors included, will feel the same.

    ddb

  10. Derrick, just visited your site. Keep me posted on Ruby, and I’ll be ‘forwarding her to some friends’…She sounds quite precocious so may have a JacketFlap page of her own in the kids publisher social media network, 😉 but if not, as her creator, you might want to pop her on there!

    Lots of publishing folks hangin’ out there that would no doubt love Miss Ruby too! 🙂 Tracy Grand is the Founder/head honcho there, here’s her profile page, fyi:

    http://www.jacketflap.com/tracy

    Looking forward…Amy

  11. Just catching up on all my blog reading. Man what a great chat you had with the Orb28 girls. They’re so damn smart and insightful! What an inspiration.

  12. yep, I agree…hey, did you see Derrick’s post above about Rudy Booker? Wanna cover it for us?

  13. Hi Amy, I did see his post and caught yours as well over on Reign. I’d love to do it! Can’t wait to dive in and find out more about Ruby and her brothers!
    Also have some things that I’d like to pick your very busy brain about. Can you hit me via e-mail?

  14. Will do. Working on a profile about Lia Neal right now, will ping you thereafter…talk about a tween/teen inspiration at 12 (now 13!) woohoo! 🙂

  15. Hei, Guys!
    i want to have friendships with you guys.I live here in Finland and have lost friendship around world.But i don”t have who live in U.S.
    would like to know but you Guys. Here is my E-mail: [email protected]

    Friendly
    Rosario

  16. is there something i can do to get your post for free in my mailbox???
    would really like to!

  17. Hi Gina, sure…It’s ALL free. On the sidebar at the right in the lower corner you’ll see any area “what are subscriptions?’ with the little orange icon for RSS feeds, etc. It will take you to the page to subscribe directly into email, here: http://blog.shapingyouth.org/?page_id=56

    FeedBlitz is what you want to go directly into email (there’s also a little red button at the lower right all set up for that with FB on it) or you can choose from the many options on the larger page (e.g. using RSS readers, etc.)

    Lots of choices, all free. Let me know if you need a hand! Thanks for visiting…Best, Amy

    Amy Jussel’s last blog post..Influencers, Accountability and the Global Cost to Youth

  18. I like to watch Veronica Mars episodes as well Lost. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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