Sunday, October 12, 2008

Girl Scouts... Sending Mixed Messeges

Fist let me start by saying I have been a Girl Scout for over 6 yrs. For 5 of those years I was a Girl Scout Leader. I have always felt that Girl Scouts played a crucial part in helping to develop young girls into strong and productive leaders in society. With that said I have to tell you how shocked I was to read the latest issue of GS Leader magazine (Fall of 2008).

The cover of the magazine was intriguing enough. "Tackle Bullying, Help girls handle shunning & intimidation", "Presidential Politics, How to involve girls without endorsing a candidate", "My Aunt Juliette, Family tales about the unpredictable, pioneering Girl Scout founder". There is even a great feature story on Adrienne Bailon. If you have young children you may recognize her from Disney's Cheetah Girls. The article feature a picture of Adrienne Bailon wearing a T-shirt with the words "defy CONFORMITY" blazing across the front.

The article on Healthy Living was very informational. The focus was on what nutritional experts recommend keeping on hand for Healthy Eating. Get on Track was a wonderful story about being an "Eco Hero" and how Girl Scouts were transforming abandoned rail lines into walking and biking paths. Then there was the article about "How Can We Prepare girls for (and protect them from) Celebrity Culture?". The main item that stood out to me with this was about Try to defuse the focus on looks. At this point I was very impressed with the Fall 2008 issue of GS Leader. Then I turned the page...

Page 63 of the magazine. Yes the WHOLE page. Was an advertisement for

NutriSystem! There in full color is a picture of Marie Osmond with her before and after pictures. Along with her pictures however, are statements about: "Even My Daughter Said I Was a "Hottie", "My Family Is So Proud of Me", "You Can Get the Life You Want". Of course according to this Ad you can achieve all this by LOOSING WEIGHT! Not by exercise and eating healthy, but by using NutriSystem.

Lets add even more contradiction to this magazine shall we? I sat there staring at this blazing advertisement that in my eyes was telling young girls that they cannot be successful , their family will not be proud of them, they cannot be happy with THEMSELVES, unless they loose weight and fit the "perfect picture" of what a woman should look like. Furthermore, they can achieve this with NutriSystem, the "magic pill" of weight loss.

Turn the page and you see a very healthy young lady (of course not fitting the Mold that the previous advertisement tells us she should fit) Allyson Torrisi. Allyson does not fit what "NutriSystem" has told us on the previous page, but she appears to be Happy AND Successful. Let's turn the page again shall we?

Now THIS is what Girl Scouts is all about in my opinion!
Girl power starts with girls, empowered.
This is an advertisement place by DOVE. They have launched a program to battle against negative body image. It tells them not to listen to what fashion magazines and television tells them about beauty. Beauty comes from within. Hmmm, sounds familiar to me. My Granny always said "Pretty is as Pretty does."
Well after I settled down from being outraged over the NutriSystem advertisement. I decided to send a letter to the Editor. Perhaps they let this slip by without realizing the implications that the Ad could carry. HA! Boy was I wrong! Below is the nice "blow off" I received from the editor of GS Leader magazine.
Thank you for your Email about the NutriSystem ad in Leader magazine. We understand your concern and appreciate your writing to us. Running a paid advertisement in the magazine does not constitute endorsement by Girl Scouts of any company or its specific products. Being healthy is a key part of the message of Girl Scouts, and losing weight -- through better eating choices, consistent exercise, or diet programs -- has helped many people live healthier lives. We found the ad acceptable for our audience of adult volunteers.Our hope is that Leader will eventually be able to carry advertising that all readers find completely in keeping with the messages in its stories. In the current economic climate, however, this is a difficult challenge.
Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Leslie Brokaw
Editor, Leader magazine -- Girl Scouts of
the USA
SPOT ON media 210 Central Park
South, Suite. 5C New York, N.Y. 10019

OK, so I have vented for the day. So what do you think of this? Do think that this sends conflicting information to young girls? Should the Girl Scout organization be more choosy in their choice of advertisers and stick with those that are more in line with what they represent?

Sound Off an let me know what you think.


  1. Adrienne Bailon of The Cheetah Girls has been the subject of a bizarre extortion plot involving nude pictures taken from a stolen laptop.

  2. Interesting. I've never been in Girl Scouts. However, it seems that if you are going to promote a message you wouldn't have ads that contradict that message.