The American Association of University Women is one of those great organizations dedicated to helping women. They offer annual reports on research that they have conducted, they post insightful articles, offer scholarship and fellowship funding for young women to attend college and just all around serve as a very credible source of information for women today. Having worked on college campuses for the past 16 years, they were always a source of information for me. Their most recent report is about sexual harassment on high school campuses. Prior to reading the report, I had no idea how prevalent sexual harassment was among high schoolers. In addition, the report break down the differences between bullying and sexual harassment so that we have a clear understanding of the two and how they differ. Harassment occurs in all forms; boys harassing girls, boys harassing boys, as well as girls harassing girls. The AAUW also describes in this report the different forms of harassment that occur today among our youth in detail with proven statistics. I highly encourage educators of middle school and high school students to read the report. The more informed we are, the better prepared we become to handle these situations and take care of our youth.
As a promoter of teen girls and self-esteem, I was so happy to see the AAUW address this issue. I couldn’t agree more with the statement that it’s hard enough to be a teen girl in today’s society without all of the media outlets bombarding girls with how they should look, dress, and feel.
Did you know the caption next to shirt advertised online read: “Who has time for homework when there’s a new Justin Bieber album out? She’ll love this tee that’s just as cute and sassy as she is.”
Since the T-shirt has been addressed by many groups along with AAUW, recent events have occurred that like to share with you. A great organization by the name of change.org took a stand and contacted the CEO of JC Penney and requested that the T-shirts/sweatshirts be taken down. I greatly respect their decision to pull the clothing and make a public statement saying that this is the wrong messaging to send to young girls.
Unless something significant is done, we will continue to see these messages find their way into our lives via TV, Internet, magazines and retail stores. How do we make a strong enough and positive contribution to stop this type of messaging?