Dubai: In 2011, The Representation Project, a nonprofit organisation based in the US, launched the #NotBuyingIt campaign to inspire people to call out inaccurate representations of men and women in the media.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom, founder and CEO of The Representation Project, provided some insight on the origin and impact of the campaign.
With the increasing influence of media on young people, Newsom explained that this campaign aims to counteract dangerous and deceptive messages that could impact their mental and physical health.
Through media representation, she said: “Girls learn that their value lies predominantly in their youth, beauty, and sexuality. The more hours of media a girl watches, the less secure she is and the fewer options she thinks she has in life.
“In a national survey of girls age 13 to 17 by the Girl Scouts Research Institute in 2010, nearly half wished they were as skinny as the models they saw in fashion magazines and said these magazines gave them a body image to strive for. According to a report published in 2012 by Common Sense Media, a US-based non-profit organisation, among the teens active on social networks, 35 per cent reported having worried about people tagging them in unattractive photos and 27 per cent reported feeling stressed out about how they look when they post pictures. Our mission is to inspire individuals and communities to challenge and overcome limiting stereotypes so that everyone can fulfil their human potential.”
The campaign has inspired more than 60 million impressions across 10 countries, with Twitter as its most popular platform. This extensive support has allowed the group to pressurise companies to change how they represent men and women in advertising and merchandising.
Anyone can get involved by lending their voices on social media with #NotBuyingIt. They can also sign up to take the pledge and stay involved at therepresentationproject.org.
— The writer is an intern with the Readers Desk at Gulf News.