Today’s 12 year old girls are exposed to very grown-up messages in the media. From websites to television to print, girls hear about what to wear, how to talk, what’s OK to do with a boy, and how to be popular. Often these messages are highly sexualized and adult. On November 10, 2009, Smart-Girl’s annual luncheon will feature Addie Swartz, founder of B*tween Productions and creator of Beacon Street Girls, discussing today’s too grown-up media influences and what parents can do to counteract their suggestions and suggestiveness. Swartz’s talk, Is 12 the New 18, will give parents information about what their girls are tuning into and the ammo to combat it. The Smart-Girl luncheon is on November 10, 2009, at the Cherry Hills Country Club from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Swartz established the Massachusetts-based B*tween Productions in 2002 to create and promote healthy media alternatives for pre-adolescent girls and, with her team of writers and child development experts, has since published 22 Beacon Street Girls (BSG) books, launched a safe social networking BSG website and introduced a line of BSG merchandise. Swartz launched B*ween after an epiphany-inducing experience at a shopping mall with her then 9-year-old daughter and several of her daughter’s friends. They stopped for a moment in front of an Abercrombie & Fitch store which featured a giant photo of a woman naked from the waist up. “One of my daughter’s friends asked me, ‘Why do they have to do that?’ The girls were all uncomfortable,” said Swartz. “The wheels in my head started turning. I realized that preteen girls — girls between toys and boys — deserve a world they can enjoy that is devoid of overtly sexual messages. Beacon Street Girls provides a healthy and hip media alternative.”
“Girls today are exposed to a lot of sexualized imagery and messaging that can be intimidating and confusing for them,” continued Swartz. “I’m so happy Smart-Girl invited me to talk on their behalf because they are giving girls the information and tools they need to speak out and be comfortable in their own skins.”
“The characters in Beacon Street Girls are the same age and deal with some of the same challenges as many of the girls that Smart-Girl helps,” said Karen Silverman, Smart-Girl’s Executive Director. “Beacon Street Girls is a wonderful series that addresses serious issues in an age-appropriate manner. That’s also what Smart-Girl does — contend with serious adolescent issues in a creative, interactive, thought-provoking and age-appropriate way.”