Girlguiding shows the true face of four-year-old girls with stereotype challenging campaign
Launched on International Day of the Girl (11 October 2022) and timed with the announcement that girls can now join the Rainbows from age four, the campaign aimed to shift perceptions of Girlguiding, challenging outdated stereotypes and showing all girls that whatever they are made of; Rainbows is a place for them.
Too often little girls are still expected to be sugar and spice and all things nice but with over 100 years of heritage working with young women and girls, Girlguiding wanted to show they are made of so much more.
Girlguiding partnered with multi-award-winning portrait photographer Emily Stein on a photo series entitled ‘Girls Are Made Of…’, celebrating the true face of four-year-old girls. Inviting existing Rainbows and girls keen to start their own Girlguiding journey to a photoshoot, designed to showcase their individuality —representative of the many faces, qualities and quirks embraced by the organisation.
Emily Stein is known for her bold aesthetic and documentary approach to shooting children and young people. Her style captures authentic emotions and real ‘moments’ that bring a sense of intimacy and honesty to her subjects. The resulting images perfectly captured the range of what girls are made of, from strength and joy, to mischief, courage, and curiosity.
Images from the series were then selected for the ‘Girls Are Made Of…’ exhibition at Girlguiding’s London headquarters on Buckingham Palace Road. Displayed in both the windows and a gallery the free exhibition ran for two weeks in October.
As part of the wider campaign, celebrity advocates, Girlguiding alumni and the public were encouraged to share a photo of themselves at four alongside the hashtag #GirlsAreMadeOf… and a word of their choice in support of the stereotype busting campaign.
Emma Guthrie, assistant chief guide, said: “Four-year-old girls have spent a huge portion of their lives in a pandemic, missing out on essential play, exploration, confidence building and friendships, and parents are keen for them to make up for lost time.
“Too often girls are still expected to be sugar and spice and all things nice, but working with girls and young women for over 100 years, we know they are made of so much more. We’re extremely happy to warmly welcome four-year-olds to the organisation and start them on their Girlguiding journey – opening up a community where girls can always be free to be themselves. Free to be four.”
Emily Stein, photographer, states: “For this special collection of images, I really wanted to capture all the behaviours, contradictions, energy, purity, beauty and emotions of being four. It’s a really significant time in a girl’s life; sitting between the ‘toddler’ years and just before the structure of school begins, with the world opening up a little more every day, in all of its exciting glory. It’s a magical year in time, that was truly a joy to document.”
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