Entertainment, Policy and Community Leaders Address Impact of Media Images on Youth

Call for Media Literacy Reaches Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 6, 2010): Today, Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis and other leaders from the entertainment, policy, business and youth-serving communities joined forces to move media’s impact on youth to the top of the national agenda.

The Healthy Media for Youth Summit, a partnership of Girl Scouts of the USA, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), and The Creative Coalition identified ways to develop media messages that inspire, empower and engage youth. Ms. Davis was joined by other Hollywood luminaries and members of The Creative Coalition including Emmy-Award winner Alfre WoodardSteven WeberTeri Polo, and Rachael Leigh Cook.

Many girls struggle throughout their lives with how to reconcile the images of girls and women they see in the media with their own body image, self worth and potential. Earlier this year, the Girl Scout Research Institute released a nationwide survey, Beauty Redefined, which found that the media has significant influence over girls. Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed say the fashion industry and/or the media place a lot of pressure on them to be thin, even as they realized that the fashion industry’s models were “too skinny” (65 percent), “unrealistic” (63 percent) and “unhealthy” (46 percent). However, despite the criticism of this industry, 3 out of 4 girls say that fashion is “really important” to them.

Recognizing the importance of this topic GSUSA, NAB, NCTA and The Creative Coalition created the Healthy Media for Youth Partnership, and will engage in several activities to address this issue. The summit kicked off the work, as keynote speaker and long-time advocate for women and girls, Geena Davis led a dialogue addressing ways to promote healthy images and media literacy. Davis is the founder of the non‐profit The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and its programming armSee Jane, which engages film and television creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters.

The summit brought together experts to lead discussions on the many aspects of healthy images and media literacy. Presenters included: Salaam Coleman Smith, President of The Style Network; Suzanne Malveaux, CNN White House correspondent;  Ann Shoket, Editor‐in‐Chief Seventeen Magazine; Emme, Supermodel and leading advocate for positive body images; Erin Fuller, CEO of Alliance for Women in Media; Maria Brennan, CEO Women in Cable Telecommunications; Kim Myles, host of HGTV’s Myles of Styles; Jess Weiner, author, self‐esteem expert and the Global Ambassador for the Dove Self‐Esteem Fund; Lisa Dollinger, Chief Communications Officer, Clear Channel Communications, Inc.; Judy Schoenberg, Director of Research and Outreach, Girl Scouts of the USA; April McClain‐Delaney, DC Director, Common Sense Media; Teen Girl Scouts from the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital.

In addition to the Summit, the Healthy Media for Youth Partnership has several plans to help promote positive media images of women and girls, including the Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC), Public Service Announcements (www.girlscouts.org/watchwhatyouwatch), Community Conversations, and other activities to address this issue.

About The Creative Coalition (www.TheCreativeCoalition.org)
The Creative Coalition is the premiere 501(C)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. Founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, The Creative Coalition is dedicated to educating and mobilizing its members on issues of public importance, particularly in the areas of public education, arts advocacy and First Amendment rights.

About Girl Scouts of the USA
Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with 3.4 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouts is the leading authority on girls’ healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls living overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts, call (800) GSUSA 4 U (800-478-7248) or visit www.girlscouts.org.

About NCTA (http://www.ncta.com)
NCTA is the principal trade association for the U.S. cable industry, representing cable operators serving more than 90 percent of the nation’s cable television households and more than 200 cable program networks. The cable industry is the nation’s largest broadband provider of high-speed Internet access, serving more than 41 million customers, after investing more than $160 billion to build a two-way interactive network with fiber optic technology. Cable companies also provide state-of-the-art digital telephone service to more than 22 million American consumers.

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America’s broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at www.nab.org.

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Press Contact:

Dennis St. Rose
The Creative Coalition

Joshua Ackley
(212) 852-8038

Tracy Pendleton