In everything we've been reading the damaging effects of media has been a central force.
APA Report on Sexualization of Girls, Girls Inc.'s The Supergirl Dilemma, You're Amazing, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media all cite exposure to media as a central force in the girls beginning to define themselves as less than they truly are.
While every one of these sources cite media as a potentially damaging influence, they also recommend fighting negative media with positive media.
We have the power to - not just passively ban negative media, which we should definitely do - But we have the power to CREATE positive media for our daughters about girls.
I can tell you this - my daughter thinks it's pretty cool that she's the Poster Girl for Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me. This is one of the reasons I'm inviting you to send photos of your daughter to be included as a Poster Girl on this site. It is one way to take media from outside of our world to a creative and positive medium that includes them.
I created a children's book for my daughter's 5th birthday titled Ainsley, Perfect You. I am practically begging you to STEAL this idea for Christmas (or birthdays).
We read this book before the First Day of School, whenever Ainsley makes negative comments about her self, whenever she feels insecure or whenever she wants. It's a special book that sits out on a shelf and we must wash our hands before reading it.
In the book I addressed issues of beauty, because Ainsley seemed preoccupied with what it was and exactly what criteria people were using to make the judgement about who was beautiful. I addressed school, education, intelligence and learning. I addressed self-worth and a feeling of wholeness and "enoughness." I addressed the meaning of God and her role as a Child of God. I addressed risk-taking and trying new things.
Your family may prize different characteristics or place different values as a priority. What's important, is that you can use this tool to teach her who she is, but also influence, mold and raise or define the bar of expectation for who she will become.
A-N-Y-O-N-E can do this if they have a computer, a camera, $30 and an imagination. You may be thinking you're short on imagination so, while Ainsley, Perfect You is copyrighted I give you permission to steal ideas, concepts, words, etc. Your daughter is every bit as cool as mine, but she may have different attributes and characteristics.
I encourage you to use my book for ideas, but personalize them for your daughter(s). (Of course, its good for your daughter, but don't forget your sons.)
I used www.MyPublisher.com because they were the only company who had a "storybook" feature at the time. Turns out my parents and grandparents were also interested in having a copy of this book (one project many gifts!) and My Publisher has coupons they'll send you frequently. Flickr now offers the feature, and Snapfish and probably all the other ones too.
There are 20 pages so I'll run Ainsley, Perfect You as a series, starting with this foreword. I had to scan the pages, so please forgive the quality.