New York’s Girls, Baby Feet and The Perils of Female Self-Esteem

30 Oct

Last week a friend sent me a link to this article which pretty accurately called out the uselessness of this NYC ad campaign.

To be fair, when I saw the ads on the subway my first thought was, “Cool, way to prove you’re actually throwing money at the problem of low female self-esteem.” quickly followed by “to what extent?”

The ad’s are sort of meh. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that a group of people decided that NYC girls were a smart use of resources but what exactly are we telling them. A big old dose of “You’re a girl and you’re beautiful the way you are.” Doesn’t that just taste like a full packet of Sweet-N-Low dumped in a can of Coke Zero? Overly saccharine and fake as hell?

What about something interesting? Something different.

What if instead of telling girls “You’re a girl and you’re beautiful. You’re welcome for me saying it.” we just allowed them to feel wonderful.

What if instead of trying to boost girls self esteem by telling them why they’re “Beautiful” (maybe they don’t want to be “beautiful,” it’s a really heavy word in our culture) we just remind them of a time when they felt incredible about themselves, all on their own.

We could run these images with facts like:

  • By 1990 the average age that a girl began dieting had dropped to eight from fourteen in 1970.
  • Roughly one half of girls in 4th grade are on diets.
  • According to a study from the University of Central Florida, nearly 50% of girls aged three to six were already concerned about their weight.
  • A study showed that women experience an average of 13 negative thoughts about their body each day, while 97% of women admit to having at least one “I hate my body” moment each day.
  • Four out of five women in the U.S. are unhappy with their appearance.
  • 81% of ten-year-old girls experience a fear of being fat.
  • 42% of 1st through 3rd grade girls say they wish they were thinner.
  • Every year, the average adolescent sees over 5,000 advertisements mentioning attractiveness.
  • A People magazine survey showed that 80% of female respondents felt that women in movies and television programs made them feel insecure about their bodies. [x]

“Remember, your body is magic.”

Or maybe just, “Deflate rapist’s boners, inspire confidence in your daughter.” (more on that when the smoke stops coming out of my ears).

In short, this quote might be the best description I’ve found yet.

“Love your body the way your mother loved your baby feet.”
– Mary Lambert

Why did your mother love your baby feet? Because they contained all the potential of you. She loved imagining how they would carry you to all the places you would want to go. They didn’t define you but she loved them for just being part of the magnificence that was you.

Your body is just a part of you that takes you where you need to go and brings you back and that can be loved just for doing that job as well as it can.

One Response to “New York’s Girls, Baby Feet and The Perils of Female Self-Esteem”


  1. AR Wear | Female Gazing - November 15, 2013

    […] like the NYC I’m A Girl subway ad’s I’m loathe to criticize it considering all the good […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: