Health & beauty

NYC Wants Its Young Girls to Know They're Beautiful -- Just the Way They Are

Mayor Bloomberg is hell bent to instill a strong sense of self-esteem in his city's tweens

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You can poo-poo his ban of Big Gulps or the virtual elimination of cigarette smoking in his town all you want, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is truly out for good.

Don't think so? Take into consideration one of his latest undertakings.

The Mayor, now in his third term (since he changed the law that had mayors maxing out at two), wants to undo the damage he thinks Madison Avenue inflicts on young girls' self-esteem and, to do so, he's come out blazing with some pretty big guns in the form of a new campaign.

READ: 4 Alarming Side Effects of Drinking Soda

As The New York Times reports, Bloomberg is reaching out to these girls in a positive and feel-good manner, "Mainly through bus and subway ads, the campaign aims to reach girls from about 7 to 12 years old, who are at risk of negative body images that can lead to eating disorders, drinking, acting out sexually, suicide and bullying."

How did this idea come about? One of the mayor's aides, Samatha Levine, was deeply affected by stories of young girls undergoing surgical procedures, or wearing Spanx and other such undergarments to "look better."

"I think being a woman in this society, it's sort of impossible to not be aware of the pressures there are around appearance, around weight, around trying to always look a certain way," Ms. Levine told the paper.

READ: The 7 Sneaky Ways Smoking Steals a Woman's Beauty

This NYC Girls Project (which is costing the city $33,000, but remember, billionaire Bloomberg only takes an annual salary of $1), is more than merely an ad campaign. It also offers an after school program that will address self-esteem issues at 75 city schools, fitness classes in association with the Parks & Rec department and a social media campaign on Twitter, #ImAGirl.

According to the Times, "Christopher Ochner, a researcher of obesity, eating disorders and nutrition at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center in Manhattan, said the ads could be effective because they offered a more realistic picture than "the media's portrayal of ideal beauty, which is still this stick-thin, crazy-thin" standard. Average girls, he added, look at fashion models and say, " 'If I'm not like that, then nobody's going to need me or love me.' "

Sad state of affairs. One that, hopefully, Bloomberg and his campaign, can help improve.

READ: Why At Least One Young Woman Rejects the Concept of Teen Girls Having to Be Sexy

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