Maggie: Okay. How many times have you been asked, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ Well, if you are watching certain kinds of movies, the answers for girls can seem limited. So check out what one all-girls prep school in Kentucky is doing to push back on princesses. Here is Shelby Holliday.
Mercy Academy: Once upon a time…
Shelby: This is Mercy Academy. And, nope, it is not a castle. It is a real school with a real message for female students.
Mercy Academy: I know…(I know)…life’s not a fairy tale.
Shelby: Instead of promising girls that they will live happily ever after, Mercy’s motto contradicts those fairytale endings that girls read in books and watch in movies growing up. The school is telling students you’re not a princess, but you can still rule the world.
Rachel French: When I first heard the campaign, I was really excited about it. I was like, ‘this is awesome, we can really speak to the girls that we’re not just here to spoil you.’
Shelby: The all-girls school’s new enrollment campaign is being rolled out on billboards, bus shelters and websites. One ad reads, ‘Don’t wait for a prince, be able to rescue yourself.’ And this life-size exhibit tells girls to be more than just the fairest of them all. Principal Amy Elstone had no idea the school’s ads would attract so much buzz.
Principal Amy Elstone: It was either going to be an amazing, empowering message that people were going to get or it would be a total flop.
Shelby: So far, the campaign has been a huge success. And it is setting the record straight about the role of women in the world.
Growing up, most girls don’t get a clear picture of females in books and movies. According to Seejane.org, a nonprofit that researches the role of gender in the media, males outnumber females 3 to 1 in G-rated movies. And females are four times more likely to be seen wearing revealing clothing. Of the characters who are shown working in those family films, from 2006 to 2009, less than 20% are women, even though in real life, women make up 50% of the workforce. And get this: none of those female characters are shown with jobs in the top fields.
Instead of painting an unrealistic picture, Mercy Academy is calling on girls to prepare for real life.
Mercy Academy: I’m…(I’m)…(I’m) better prepared for whatever comes next.
Principal Elstone: It’s not a new message, but it’s not a message that’s articulated enough to our young women. And what we’re saying is you’re not a princess, you’re more.
Shelby: While everyone loves a good fairy tale, Mercy wants students to write their own stories.
Principal Elstone: I believe it’s something that resonates everywhere.
Student: It makes me excited to come to school.
Shelby: Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.