Atlantic ministers to promote Cybersafe Girl website
Ministers say girls should feel empowered, not objectified
Ministers for the Status of Women in Atlantic Canada say they are trying to take action against the "hypersexualization" of girls by promoting an educational website called Cybersafe Girl.
They say a constant bombardment of hyper-sexual images is having a negative impact on how society perceives girls and how girls perceive themselves.
CyberSafe Girl, launched in 2012, now contains a segment on hypersexualization aimed at promoting discussion.
It also has an online safety agreement —a contract for girls to sign stating: "I understand nothing I do online is private."
Hyper-sexual images in music videos, movies, magazines and video games have been identified as a problem worth addressing by the Atlantic ministers responsible for the Status of Women.
Marie-Claude Blais, New Brunswick's minister responsible for women's equality, said she wants girls to feel empowered, not objectified.
“We don't want girls to have the impression that the only way they can value themselves is being objectified. That is very important. They are not an object to sell a product. They are a real person who can be empowered and who have something to say,” she said.
Blais says the website contains reliable information that she hopes educators and parents will use.
So far the site has had 27,000 views but ministers hope to drive significantly more traffic to it.
Jennifer Power Scott has a seven-year-old daughter. She said she even worries about the dolls her daughter plays with that sometimes appear emaciated and over-sexualized.
“I'm going to do my best to inform them about this, to make them critical thinkers,” she said. “And to make them stand up for who they are and take pride in who they are, and not just what they look like.”
The issues of girls’ safety online and the development of a healthy self-image were the main focus of a meeting of the Atlantic ministers responsible for the Status of Women in P.E.I. this week.
Blais said the four Atlantic ministers have made encouraging girls to be themselves a priority.