It’s mid-February, Spring Break is right around the corner, and girls everywhere are shopping for… The Dreaded Swimsuit. Does this make me look short? Does this color wash me out? I wish I was thinner. Perceived imperfections consume even the most confident woman, and often the harshest critic is the voice in her mind. Fed up with this vicious cycle, local Girl Scout Troop 18998 is hosting a fashion show, aptly titled Embrace Yourself, on February 27, 2016 at teen hangout, The Refuge. The mission of the fashion show is to encourage both young girls and boys to feel more comfortable in their body, regardless of their size, race, or heritage.
This project is end result of the Girl Scout Mission Sisterhood Journey and addresses important issues of self-image that impact our youth. In their Journey, the Troop explored many different women’s issues and learned about women in leadership in many fields. Through this exploration, they spent time exploring the objectification of girls and boys in the media. As a team, the girls felt that self-image issues are starting at younger and younger ages. So, on a retreat to Galveston Island, they came up with a creative solution: A fashion show filled with more than one beautiful body type.
Messages from the media, peers, and even parents affect self-confidence. With the advent of smartphones, social media, and Photoshop, a distorted, “perfect,” body type has been reinforced through imagery: from the movies we watch, the magazines at the checkout counter, and the clothes on mannequins at the store. Over the past several years, our Troop has followed the evolution of Barbie and watched films such as “Miss Representation” to understand these issues as national issues – not just local concerns.
We’ve learned that girls are not alone. Anyone can feel the pressure to conform to unrealistic standards. A frequently cited figure of boys suffering from eating disorders has been 1 in 10. Now, according to a study done by the National Institute of Health, that figure has increased to 1 in 4 boys, and the number is likely increasing. Both boys and girls struggle in large numbers with similar insecurities, such as anorexia, bulimia, and dysmorphia (a kind of reverse anorexia where boys feel compelled to bulk up.) Many of the girls in the Troop have brothers who see themselves as too short, too skinny, too bulky, or not strong enough.
Embrace Yourself aims to break down stereotypes about what the “ideal” body type is by asking all shapes and sizes to walk the runway. They are proving to the audience that all bodies are worthy of being seen. They urgently want to convey that health and confidence are the key to inner and outer beauty. Models from the community have chosen categories they wish to participate in from Spring Break to Be Active to Fancy Night Out.
We have invited kids from the many different communities that make up the Houston melting pot and the face of Girl Scouts. With more than 20 different models in the show, Embrace Yourself captures the many faces of our City.
The girls wish to convey that beauty on the inside is more important than beauty on the outside. They have chosen to weave the story of “The Paper Bag Princess” into the fashion show in a way that challenges young audiences to find their inner beauty words of Courage, Character, Confidence, and Creativity. The audience will engage in crafting activities to make their own paper bag princess or prince decorated with words of inner beauty.
To make the world a better place, the Troop is asking for donations of gently used fancy dresses for girls of all sizes to be donated to the Shriner Hospital South Texas Clinic. One of the mom’s in the troop, Gloria Gogola, volunteers regularly at this clinic and taught us about their needs.
Throughout the process, the Girl Scouts have been supported by family and friends, and many local companies who have helped support the message that there isn’t one kind of beautiful. Athleta, Ivivva, Free People, and Barcode, have graciously provided the clothes for the models. The leadership team of Keystone Resources, a boutique marketing firm in the Houston Heights has volunteered more than 50 hours helping the girls learn and practice project organization and management skills. Culhane Meadows, PLLC, Myres & Associates, and Cole Chemicals have generously underwritten the project with cash and in-kind donations.
Embrace Yourself, the Fashion Show for All People will be held from 3-4:30pm on February 27 at The Refuge – 12955 Memorial Drive: The event is open to all kids aged 6-11. RSVP to Keystone Resources. If you would like more information about this event, please contact Alicia Goodrow, Troop Leader.
Submitted by Taylor Bruce who is a 9th grader at Memorial High School. Taylor has been a Girl Scout for 4 years. She loves art and archeology and dragons. In her spare time, she enjoys 3-D animation and camping.
Sketches by Troop Member – Colette Daulton