I'll never forget the moment I was driving in my car and listening to Ryan Seacrest (as you often do in L.A.). His guests that day were two incredibly articulate young women discussing their documentary and education movement called The Kind Campaign. Their mission: to raise discussion amongst girls in schools about the girl on girl 'crimes' committed everyday such as bullying, backstabbing, gossip and rumors. I knew these young women were up to something important and I reached out to them to see if they could help bring that conversation about kindness and self-acceptance to our tween audience of Monster High. The result was not only an ah-ha moment for me as the VP overseeing marketing for Mattel's Girls Brands, but also as a mom and concerned community member.
We know from recent studies that a girl's self-esteem tends to pique around fourth grade and then almost immediately plummets a year after that. That means by the time she is heading into middle school, she is filled with doubts and defeating language about her appearance, her ability to achieve and her overall vision of herself in the world. So what do we do about that? Thinking about taking on the immense issue of girls' waning self-confidence seemed overwhelming. And as I'm sure any parent and especially a parent of a girl will tell you, sometimes you just don't know where to even start to address this issue directly.
So we decided to begin with what we know how to do. Tell engaging stories with relatable characters -- all of whom are dealing with learning to accept their own 'freaky flaws.' The Monster High doll brand has become fortunate enough to have gained the successful reach many brands work toward. And along with more reach, we feel more responsibility to use that platform to bring girls an empowering message of self-awareness and self-acceptance. With the brand based on the universal truth that everyone has times when they feel like a monster, we took our storytelling one step further and began partnering with talented girl-created non-profits so that we could learn from the voices and visionaries who are leading this type of conversation.
If there was ever such a leader in the area of tween-esteem, it would be Emily-Anne Rigal (otherwise known as @Schmiddlebopper) the founder and face behind We Stop Hate, a non-profit dedicated to helping raise esteem and eradicate bullying. We are so excited to partner with her this year on an amazing initiative to help tweens everywhere discover that they are "perfectly imperfect" just the way they are. Because as Emily-Anne says so well, "When you feel good about yourself, you are less likely to pick on someone else."
When we brought Emily-Anne to Mattel headquarters in El Segundo to meet with members of our executive and creative teams, her command of the room was transfixing. Here at 18-years-old, she was passionately and eloquently sharing her story to a room of adults, all of whom left with an increased inspiration and commitment to do more to help girls.
Since our teen characters talk about accepting themselves, it only makes sense for us to support real-life teens who also focus on raising and discussing such important issues. We believe in Emily-Anne, and believe that together we can more powerfully help tweens bring an end to self-hate.
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