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NEW YORK, Sept. 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Plan International USA, a leading international humanitarian nonprofit supporting girls' rights, and Unsplash, the internet's source of freely usable visuals, unveiled the boundary-pushing, gender norm-breaking winners of their 'Girls Vs. Stereotypes' image submission contest. The #1 image search term associated with "girl" is "sexy" – a clear signal that our visual media is pigeonholing girls into overly-sexualized, overly-glamorized stereotypes. That's why Plan International USA and Unsplash for Good invited photographers from around the world to submit photographs from August 15th through September 15 that truly represent what it means to be a girl.
Plan knows that girls know what girls need best, which is why they enlisted their Girls Out Loud panel, comprised of US-based girls ages 13-18, to hand-select the following, winning images which were deemed as the best, most authentic representations of today's girls. To combat the societal biases perpetuated by AI-powered platforms, Unsplash, Getty Images' sister company, is using the winning images to retrain their algorithms to associate girls with "strong," "joyful," and "driven" as opposed to "hot," "glamorous," or "innocent." Unsplash has added diversity tags to the accepted images to elevate the inclusive photographs to the top of search results.
The winning photographs, selected by Plan's Girls Out Loud panel, can be viewed here: planusa.org/unsplash
According to a 2018 Plan International study, 7 out of 10 girls feel they are treated with less respect because they're a girl. And, search results for 'girl' across the internet paint a very inaccurate and harmful picture of what a 'girl' should look like – often portraying them as sexualized or docile objects. Moreover, girls' representation across advertising, film, TV, and social media has often looked like one type of girl: thin, white, feminine, and able-bodied. These prevailing, stereotype-dominated images have been proven to have a direct, detrimental impact on girls' self-esteem and mental health.
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"From billboards to magazines to Instagram feeds, overly-glamorized, monotonous images of girls have failed to capture their joy, strength, identity, and most of all – their spirit," said Mustafa Kudrati, President & CEO of Plan International USA. "As a result, our girls have been at war with themselves for far too long – that has to change. That's why we partnered with Unsplash and our trusted Girls Out Loud panel to rewrite the algorithm and transform the public's perception of what real girls look like."
"I want to feel seen in the images that are supposed to represent me," said Annamika, a member of Plan's Girls Out Loud panel. "In being given the opportunity to vote on the photographs that best honor the strength and diversity of girls today, I feel empowered to pursue a world where representation of girls is as diverse, vibrant, and authentic as we are. Here, our votes matter."
"Our Unsplash for Good program was born out of making a global impact through visual representation," said Natalie Brennan, Unsplash Community Manager. "Having a positive effect on how girls are represented across the globe was an issue we knew we wanted to get involved with, and having actual young girls in the driver seat of this campaign was crucial to keeping the results authentic and representative. We've been able to add diversity tags to the top images so they appear higher in our search results and help further ignite change."
"At Getty Images, we understand the power images can have in shaping girl's view of themselves and the world around them, it is therefore vital that we all get it right," said Dr. Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insights at Getty Images. "Girls around the world are telling us they still don't see themselves represented in visual communications. This is a fantastic initiative from Plan International USA and our sister company Unsplash to increase authentic representation of girls everywhere."
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The 'Girls vs Stereotypes' Campaign collaboration with Unsplash is the first of a series of activities that Plan International USA will undertake to uphold girls' rights as part of its "We are the Girls" campaign. Plan International USA's vision is to ultimately influence and change not only the way the world sees girls, but the way girls see themselves.
About Plan International USA:
Powered by supporters, Plan International USA partners with adolescent girls, young women and children around the world to overcome oppression and gender inequality, providing the support and resources that are unique to their needs and the needs of their communities, ensuring they achieve their full potential with dignity, opportunity and safety. Founded in 1937, Plan is an independent development and humanitarian organization that is active in more than 80 countries.
For more information, and to learn about our commitment to safeguarding, please visit www.PlanUSA.org.
Founded as a blog with ten photos in 2013, Unsplash has since grown into the most used image asset platform in the world. Unsplash provides a platform for sharing exclusively curated, world-class images, free for use. With more than 100 million image downloads and 20 billion image views per month, Unsplash has become a leading source for visuals on the internet, used by millions of creators worldwide. The photos on Unsplash are contributed by a community of photographers, ranging from amateurs and professionals to large organizations, and more. The Unsplash mission is to make world-class images accessible to enable everyone to create.
SOURCE Plan USA
Filed Under: Business
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