Airbrushed images of girls and women gracing the covers of magazines and on TV won’t go away anytime soon, so Elizabeth Labedz and her girlfriend Whitney Daleiden came up with a plan to combat the issue with their own images of girls and women.
Daleiden, 25, and Labedz, 26, are co-directors of Girls Reclaiming Revolutionary Recreational Learning, better known as Grrrl Camp, a grassroots girls sports organization, which is launching the Powerful Poster Project. The campaign is to develop a series of posters showing women without being airbrushed or Photoshopped, and instead as a powerful dancer, rugby player, or scuba diver in their natural form and state.
Labedz hopes to add three more posters with donor suggestions for the next series at the end of the campaign, she said.
The photos are shot by out lesbian photographer Sarah Deragon, owner of Portraits to the People and Knot Shots Photography, and an LGBT community activist.
Daleiden and Labedz were inspired to produce the campaign by a study “Sex Objects, Athletes, and Sexy Athletes: How Media Representations of Women Athletes Can Impact Adolescent Girls and College Women.”
The women heard the study’s author, Elizabeth A. Daniels, at the Girls & Women in Sport and Physical Activity Conference 2011: Creating Chang in Minnesota. Daniels found that the way to combat mainstream media images of women was with images of real women.
It was the perfect solution to keep Grrrl Camp going after the summer was over.
“This was something that we knew we could do that was proactive and positive,” said Labedz, who founded Grrrl Camp in 2010, and was later joined by Daleiden.
“I started thinking, ‘How could we make this an actual positive force in the world?’ because I can’t go tell everyone to stop Photoshopping, but this is something I know could have a positive impact,” said Labedz.
The two women are seeking to raise $5,000 to pay for producing the first print run of posters. They’ve raised $3,176 and are halfway through their crowdfunding campaign, which will end in 15 days. The posters will eventually be available for sale on the Grrrl Camp website. Money raised will go directly back into producing more posters, but any money left over beyond that will go toward supporting the program, said Labedz.
Daleiden and Labedz, who are nannies by day, raise only enough money at small fundraisers around the Bay Area to cover equipment, insurance, and to rent fields and spaces throughout the city, said Labedz.
[Updated 9/28/12: Labedz said that the up-and-coming organization's budget is changing and growing "as we create more programs to serve 6-12 year-old girls."
"For the past two years we run on a budget of just under $2,500," she said in an email, which covers the above-mentioned items. Coaches, workshop leaders, and co-directors have all volunteered their services from the beginning, she added. The camp and after-school programs are set to accommodate a small group of girls, no more than 20 at a time, she explained.
"As we acquire grants and more contributions we will be able to expand out programs and the number of girls we serve," Labedz said. [End of update]
This past spring the women finally moved Grrrl Camp out from under its fiscal sponsor, Bay Area Youth Rugby, and obtained nonprofit status.
The two women want to get the posters to as “many girls as we possibly can, because we know of the positive influence that they can have,” said Labedz.
Posters given away will go to low-income girls whose parents can’t afford to pay for afterschool sports at school or outside of school, which the organization also supplements these girls’ participation.
Grrrl Camp helps girls ages 6 to 12 from a variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds feel empowered by paring workshops on health to social justice with recreational sports, for example dance is paired with a workshop about body image. The camp, which isn’t focused on competitive sports, is simply recreational to get girls moving and enjoying physical activity.
– Reported by Heather Cassell