With plus-size models gracing high-profile ads, spreads in trendy fashion magazines, and walking the runway for Chanel, Girl Scouts of America is taking the opportunity to celebrate these realistic women with a new PSA to promote self-esteem in its young members.
The historic, nearly 100-year-old organization tapped four models from Wilhelmina Curve, the agency's size-10-and-up division, for a video series called "The Changing Face of Fashion," which is part of a new initiative to improve female representation in the media.
In the five clips, models Anansa Sims, Leona Palmer, Julie Henderson, and Lizzie Miller -- who made a big impact with her nude Glamour shot last year -- share stories about accepting their bodies, becoming models, and their passions beyond the camera.
All four also appear in one PSA reciting the disturbing results from a national body image survey conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute, which found that almost 90 percent of the 1,000 girls polled, aged 13 to 17, thought the fashion industry and media placed too much emphasis on being thin.
Partly due to these influential images, nearly one-third said they have used drastic methods such as starving themselves to lose weight and 37 percent know someone their age with an eating disorder.
"The fashion industry remains a powerful influence on girls and the way they view themselves and their bodies," Kimberlee Salmond, a senior researcher at the Girl Scout Research Institute, said in a statement. "Teenage girls take cues about how they should look from models they see in fashion magazines and on TV, and it is something that they struggle to reconcile with when they look at themselves in the mirror."
In addition to the new Web campaign, the Girl Scouts and Dove Self-Esteem Fund have teamed up to create self-esteem programming for girls across the country that focuses on leadership and body issues spurred by the media. And the Girl Scouts are also pushing for the passage of the Healthy Media for Youth Act, a bill devoted to promoting healthier images of women in the press.
Keep clicking to see how the Girl Scouts influenced Jenna Lyons's Fall 2010 collection for J.Crew.