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Creative Creative Works Gender Stereotypes

Girlguiding breaks down stereotypes around girls with portrait series

By Taruka Srivastava, Freelance journalist

October 12, 2022 | 3 min read

The campaign aims to boost the self-confidence of four-year-old girls who have grown up during the pandemic.

Girlguiding breaks down stereotypes around girls with a portrait series

The Girlguiding campaign features portraits of four-year-old girls

UK charity for girls and young women Girlguiding aims to break down stereotypes about girls with a visual campaign to mark the International Day of the Girl.

The campaign #GirlsAreMadeOf showcases portraits featuring four-year-old girls trying to challenge the dated stereotype that little girls should be ‘sugar and spice and all things nice.’ The campaign aims to help four-year-old girls nationwide develop self-confidence, build friendships, have fun and feel free to be themselves within the organization.

The series was shot by award-winning portrait photographer Emily Stein. Images from the series are on display at Girlguiding’s London headquarters on Buckingham Palace Road, both in the windows and as a portrait gallery open to the public this month.

Girlguiding breaks down stereotypes around girls with a portrait series

The campaign – developed by an all-female team – is the first by Manifest with Girlguiding, with the strategic vision to challenge outdated perceptions of Girlguiding. The agency won the account last month. The exhibition will run for two weeks from Tuesday October 11, with free admission to the general public.

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 organization and start them on their Girlguiding journey.”

Stein added: “For this special collection of images, I really wanted to capture all the behaviors, 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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