New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg is taking a stab at dismantling unattainable beauty standards through an uplifting campaign aimed at improving girls' self-esteem that's way less of a bummer than the city's anti-teen pregnancy PSAs.
As part of the NYC Girls Project, bus and subway ads will feature girls of different races and sizes with the tagline "I'm Beautiful the Way I Am." The $330,000 campaign will also offer physical fitnesses classes for girls through the parks department, an after-school program addressing self-esteem issues for girls, a Twitter campaign (#ImAGirl), a 30-second video shown in taxis, and a website with resources for parents and girls.
The project was developed by Samantha Levine, Mr. Bloomberg's deputy press secretary, who says she was disturbed by newsstories of little girls wearing shapewear and getting plastic surgery to improve their looks. She was also influenced by bestselling author Cheryl Strayed who has said that "a failure of feminism was that women still worried about what their buttocks looked like in jeans."
"I think being a woman in this society, it’s sort of impossible to not be aware of the pressures there are around appearance, around weight, around trying to always look a certain way," Levine said.
None of the 21 girls featured in the campaign's ads are professional models, and instead are the daughters of city workers or Levine's friends.
According to city officials, this is the first campaign carried out by a major city that addresses female body image.