SPARK

Common Sense Media says

Nonprofit site fights the media's objectification of girls.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

SPARK encourages girls to become activists and fight harmful media messages.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

The site deals with some issues related to sex and sexuality, like the trend of vaginal plastic surgery.

Language

SPARK examines the use of the word "bitch" in a blog post, and "damn" is used occasionally.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that SPARK is a nonprofit organization that aims to fight the sexualization of girls in media and culture. A few topics might seem a bit edgy for younger teens (like vaginal plastic surgery), but these posts are clearly intended to educate and critique, not to titillate. Readers can post comments.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • forming arguments
  • text analysis

Social Studies

  • power structures

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • asking questions
  • thinking critically

Collaboration

  • meeting challenges together

Responsibility & Ethics

  • honoring the community
  • integrity
  • respect for others

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Smart critiques of the media's representation of girls and its reports on successful activism will inspire many girls. The website isn't as splashy as some of its sister sites, but the organization's mission is rock solid.

Learning Approach

Blog posts encourage girls to think critically about how gender stereotypes and sexualization are used in marketing, particularly in the beauty business. Studies are presented in plain language that readers can understand.

Support

The Take Action and SPARKit! sections give girls ideas of things they can do to spread the message, from attending SPARK Summits to speaking out against gender stereotypes in stores.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • forming arguments
  • text analysis

Social Studies

  • power structures

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • asking questions
  • thinking critically

Collaboration

  • meeting challenges together

Responsibility & Ethics

  • honoring the community
  • integrity
  • respect for others

Teens can learn about fighting media messages that sexualize girls and promote sexist stereotypes on this nonprofit organization's website. SPARK also highlights the important distinction between healthy sexuality (a positive, natural part of development) and sexual objectification (using girls' and women's bodies as a marketing tool). By calling out and critiquing the growing sexualization of girls and other harmful messages, SPARK gives girls a healthy dose of media literacy and encourages them to fight back.

This Learning Rating review was written by Susan Yudt

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Kids say

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What's it about?

SPARK stands for Sexualization Protest: Action, Resistance, Knowledge. The nonprofit organization's website includes a blog that critiques problematic media messages, plus a second blog that's dedicated to explaining relevant research studies to the layperson. The Take Action and SPARKit! sections give girls ideas of things they can do to spread the message, from attending SPARK Summits to speaking out against gender stereotypes in stores.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

SPARK's blogs feature smart critiques of the media's representation of girls, and its reports on successful actions (like petitioning teen magazines to limit their use of photo-retouching software) show that speaking out really can make a difference. SPARK's website isn't as splashy as some of its sister sites, but the organization's mission is rock solid.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about body image issues. What role does the media play in determining how girls and women view their bodies? Do your kids know that "perfect"-looking models and celebs are often Photoshopped?

  • How are men and women portrayed differently in the media? Think about the questions reporters ask male vs. female public figures (how often are the men asked what kind of diet they went on or who designed their clothes?)

Website details

Genre:Civic Engagement
Pricing structure:Free

This review of SPARK was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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