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Girl Advocate: Beyoncé

Posted by SWSG Blogging Corps Jan 1, 2014 , , , , , , , , , ,

At SWSG, building a strong female community is crucial to empowering young girls to grow up into strong women. It is a constant battle with the media, as we are constantly inundated with unobtainable beauty standards and the thought that a role model for girls should encapsulate a certain standard of beauty.

In a recently released report by Maria Shriver, titled The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink, the state of womanhood in America is critically analyzed. This analysis comes from women from every sphere – notably, female pop singer, Beyoncé.

Beyoncé, a long time role model for young girls everywhere, has recently jumped into discussions surrounding gender equality. For SWSG, this means another woman in the public sphere that can reinforce our mission.

Prior to this, research showcased the far-reaching impact that Beyoncé has on young girls – in particular, sources stated that she was considered a role model to young girls because of her performing skills, her prettiness, and her perceived wealth.[1] While studies have shown that girls are more likely to state a family member or friend as being their role model, less affluent girls were more likely to identify public figures (singers, actors, etc.)[2] – showing the need for celebrities to show more than their creative side to the younger viewers watching.

Participating in discussions that are so important for advocating for girls, Beyoncé has now utilized her fame to be a voice for the young girls that look up to her; now not just for her physical attributes or musical talent, but for her loud voice in the women’s issues sphere of politics, academia, and the entertainment industry.

This can be seen in her latest self-titled album, which includes a track titled “Pretty Hurts,” citing the hugely negative impact unobtainable beauty standards have on girls, as well as featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (recently featured on our blog here) on the track “***Flawless,” a modern-day feminist anthem that touts lyrics such as, “I know when you were little girls/you dreamt of being in my world/don’t forget it, don’t forget it/” and “I took some time to live my life/but don’t think I’m just his little wife.”

“…we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible,” states Knowles-Carter, in her article in The Shriver Report titled, “Gender Equality is a Myth!”

SWSG taps into the well of incredible women on our college campuses to help reinforce this message, creating tight-knit female communities for their girls to learn from.  It is imperative that women in the public eye, especially in the entertainment industry, follow suit with stars like Beyoncé.

[1] Read, B. (2011). Britney, Beyonce, and me. — primary school girls’ role models and the construction of the ‘popular girl’. Gender and Education, 23(1), 1-13. doi:10.1080/09540251003674089
(Antronette, Judith, & Kimberly)

[2] Yancey, A., Siegel, J., & McDaniel, K. (2002). Role models, ethnic identity, and health-risk behaviors in urban adolescents. Arch Pediatr Med, 156, 55-61.

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Emily Kindschy is the Research and Development intern for Spring 2014. She is a soon-to-be graduate of Lesley University and hopeful candidate for an MSW. She hopes to use her background and future education to better the lives of women and girls across the world through direct service work and policy.

 

 

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