THE BLOG
10/03/2013 06:59 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Pop Culture Push Back: How One Mayor Influenced a Nation to Support Girls

The vital balance between what young New York City's girls (and boys) regularly absorb as "acceptable" is off, and New York's Mayor Bloomberg wants to change that, for the sake of the city's future!

I can see it, rolling and spreading across the nation: Adoption of New York City's Girls Project, "I'M A GIRL: I'm beautiful the way I am," self-esteem project, announced yesterday in Time magazine from arguably, the most powerful city in the world! Talk about taking a powerful stand, not to mention putting our tax dollars to good use! Bravo.

Surprisingly, In the last few months of his exceedingly favorable reign as New York City's mayor, we wouldn't think Mayor Michael Bloomberg to have girls' body image and self-esteem on his radar, more so legacy agendas, but he and his staff do, in a real and meaningful way.

Being open to program creator, Samantha Levine, Mayor Bloomberg's deputy press secretary and project director, the office of the mayor took to heart the problematic life threatening issues girls face every day stemming from never-ending social pressure toward the drive for perfection and decided to give pop culture a reality check and do something about it.

If our mayor is willing to take aim and fire against the onslaught of unrealistic beauty ads seen at every turn, street corner, billboard, subway car and station, magazine kiosk, movie and TV show to bolster 80 percent of young girls who are unhappy with the way they look (the same percentage is reflected in women), I'm wondering why don't other mayoral offices around the country take note, do their own research and step into the same arena?

Is this an issue in your town/community/city? Just ask the women in the office, they'll tell you how bad it is "out there," or ask your kids -- they're in the thick of it, all of them are. If New York can do it, so can you! Not just as a copy cat move to look good for ratings, but dig down and help offset this horrendous issue adversely affecting the core of our nation's most precious resource: our children.

Being a member of the Healthy Media Commission, I applaud you, Mayor Bloomberg, for supporting this program and acting upon the importance in Samantha Levine's voice when she brought these issues to your attention. Thank you on behalf of all the mothers, fathers and concerned families managing the suicides, depression and fear of going to school because of this oppressive drive for perfection reflected to them in media and unattainable pressure from peers.

Without leaders like yourself, your staff, your partners and an engaged public willing to step out and take action to offset our reigning body-obsessed culture, nothing is ever going to change.

It's time to step out and up for girls in our country and follow NYC's I'M A GIRL PROGRAM and their partners: The Paley Center and the SPARK Movement, our nation's children depend on us.

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