Feb 28 2019

Girl Power: How a HerStory Club in Brazil is Addressing Gender Stereotypes in the Media


Every day and all around the world, radio stations are playing songs that portray women and girls in objectifying and misogynistic ways. The unfortunate result is females begin to internalize these lyrics and their self worth is negatively affected. According to the American Psychological Association, media influences, including music lyrics, can interfere with cognitive functioning, physical health, mental health and sexual development.

HerStory participants from ETIV in Brazil recognized the need to change this and created a Community Action Plan, Girl Power, to address the negative impact of derogatory song lyrics in the media. In October, they traveled to New York to develop their CAP at the Global HerStory Summit. Their plan aims to assemble meetings with local girl advocates to educate them about the use of women in music and write letters to artists and media companies (including radio stations) asking them not to play songs that are hurtful or demeaning. They hope radio stations will think twice before playing damaging songs and people will be exposed to more positive messaging. In turn, girls will become more confident and feel empowered to attend university and work toward equality.

Rana, age 13, at the Global HerStory Summit in New York. Photo: Monet Izabeth

“Going to New York [for GHS] was a really cool experience. I never thought I would go there,” recalls HerStory participant Rana (age 13). She and participant Larissa (age 10) had the opportunity to meet girls from many different countries and overcame language barriers by using gestures and an app that translated English to Portuguese. It was really special to watch their friendships transcend these hurdles.

Their time in New York left them feeling inspired as they traveled home to begin implementing their CAP in their local community. “I thought a lot on International Day of the Girl, watching my peers speak at the United Nations. I thought, ‘we have to follow this same model,'” Rana said.

Larisa speaks on-air at the local radio station

In December, Larissa and Rana, along with their mentors Michele and Ivone, were invited to visit a local radio station to speak on-air and officially launch Girl Power. The girls described their experience traveling to New York and how powerful it was to watch other girls their age speak at the United Nations. They shared details of their Community Action Plan and invited listeners to visit their fan page to get updates. They also encouraged everyone to share the page so they could get more people involved.

February 28 is the start of Carnaval in Brazil and the girls have recruited a few local female artists to join their cause and write an original Carnaval song for the project. They look forward to the Woman Sound System Parade where another singer will make a video for the project.

When asked what they want people to know about their Community Action Plan, the girls agreed that many of these songs are really harmful and change is necessary. Their hope is that girls will start to see past machismo and derive “their own self-worth from within.”

Continue to follow the girls’ progress on all of the Global G.L.O.W. social media channels, or by subscribing to our email list.

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