Photo Credit: giseleandthegreenteam.com
Imagine animated supermodels using their super powers to save the earth. Sounds like a Saturday Night Live skit or a beer commercial, doesn’t it? Well, it’s real -- Gisele & the Green Team, a new web series on AOLKids starring Gisele Bundchen "follows a group of teenage girls who lead double lives as supermodels and environmental superheroes."
No one's against empowering teen girls and trying to make them feel good about themselves, but this approach begs the question, "Couldn't they do this without being supermodels?" What message does it send to team up Gisele Bundchen with what looks like a casting call for Teen Baywatch? And where is Tyra Banks in all this? If anyone's cartoon-ready, she is.
Bundchen is a goodwill ambassador for United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and is heavily involved in clean water projects and rainforest protection, so her eco-friendly heart's in the right place. But it’s gotta be hard to deliver a message of inclusion when your membership consists entirely of petite, curvaceous, tiny-waisted teens. (Just remember what high school was like!).
The Gisele & the Green Team website features a "Girl Power" section, which includes "inner and outer beauty tips, activities that inspire girls to believe in their dreams and more." A "Go Green" section highlights daily tips, facts and news about environmental action and awareness. It feels right, but also trite. Simply telling girls to "believe in yourself," to have an "attitude of gratitude" and to "stress less" will have as much personal impact as a fortune cookie. Here's another approach to the intersection of "cover girl culture" and self-esteem that hits the issue more squarely and bravely.
Do we need beautiful people to inspire the rest of us? Well, if beer commercials are any indication, maybe we do. It'd just be nice if the "it's good to be green" message wasn't served with a side of "it's good to be gorgeous."
Is Gisele & the Green Team sending the right message? Chime in now!