First, The Female Lead worked with data science company, Starcount to analyse hundreds of thousands of social media accounts. We found that there was a strong link between girls who follow positive female role models and a more positive and aspirational self-image
We then started a year-long qualitative study with young women from five schools across the UK and explored whether simply altering who teen girls follow can positively impact their mental health and aspirations.
We are empowering girls to only follow people who make them feel good and encourage them to develop a positive sense of self and belief in what they can achieve!
WHAT DID WE FIND?
Almost all girls reported that their outlook had changed. They were now following people they admired. They felt positive about their social media feeds. One girl said ‘My social media use was actually quite toxic so I think it’s shown me that my usage was harmful to myself..”
Apart from just feeling better, there were practical benefits too. They found out about careers and opportunities that they hadn’t known about. They took planned ‘breaks’ from social media or re-thought who they followed to remove anyone who they recognised as having a negative impact on their self-esteem.
"My social media now has given me much more self-belief"
- Leila Symonds, Study Participant
"I don't have to be hourglass and be a makeup artist or a model. I can be successful and independent. It's no longer just about what I look like but actually about what I think, which is definitely more important"
- Sophia Harley, Study Participant
SOCIAL MEDIA HEALTH
We know that social media is such an important part of your lives and that there is a growing panic around young people and the online world. Every week there are stories linking social media to depression, anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders and bullying – and who are said to be the worst affected? Young women.
The Female Lead set about finding a way to improve social media health for young people. Social media has a huge presence in everyone’s lives, rather than just limiting usage, how can we make the experience a positive and enriching one?
To tackle this problem, The Female Lead led an 18-month research project in partnership with Dr Terri Apter, a psychologist from Cambridge University, The research, which we’ve called ‘Disrupting The Feed’ explore whether teenage girls can be encouraged to use social media to expand, guide or reinforce their interests and aspirations by following more high-achieving women on social media.
WHAT DID WE DO?
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
1. Transform your Feed with inspiring new people
2. Love not Hate - Follow people you respect & make you feel empowered
3. Comment Kind - If you wouldn't say it in person, don't say it at all
4. Scroll Mindfully - Explore diverse interests, passions and cultures
COMING SOON - Look out for our new list of Positive Role Models launching on International Women's Day in March. This will include a list of recommended and inspiring women for you to follow.