Over the next two years, Flamingo Estate will donate $100,000 to Girl Scouts, aiming to support research and subsequent program development meant to combat body shame among Girl Scouts’ 1-million-plus members, with a focus on emphasizing body neutrality over body positivity.
“Body positivity is something great that you can opt into, but the concept and idea that you could always be body positive just doesn’t seem very realistic,” said Flamingo Estate’s head of social impact Maggie Hureau, adding that young girls are more likely than their male counterparts to be taught to appreciate their bodies for how they look, rather than what they can accomplish. “To be more neutral — to think about your body in terms of how it got you from point A to point Z, is a better way of thinking than valuing it for what it looks like.”
To that end, the first year of the partnership will be focused on conducting research among the Girl Scouts community to determine what meaningful support should look like. Future programming could entail dedicated, routine conversations with Girl Scouts volunteers; with members’ own caregivers; within troop meetings — or all of the above.
“We’re talking to Girl Scouts of all ages about what self-confidence means to them, and we’re very open to seeing where the research leads us,” said Sarah Keating, vice president of girl experience and program delivery at Girl Scouts.
Elementary schoolers — or those in the Daisy, Brownie and Junior membership levels — comprise the majority of Girl Scouts’ member base, with Keating reporting “a big drop-off between elementary and middle school” — which is also a stage when girls’ confidence is likely to take a hit.
“Lots of things change in a kid’s life as they move from elementary school to middle school, but we do know that is the point in time when Girl Scouts can have the most impact, particularly when we’re talking about body confidence,” said Keating, adding the organization introduced a Mental Wellness patch and corresponding programming a few years ago to better meet the needs of early-teen and teenage girls, and body image programming “is the next stage of that.”
For Flamingo Estate, too, the partnership marks an extension of existing efforts to support women in fostering healthy relationships with their bodies. Since launch, the body care brand has collaborated with trauma-informed yoga company Inhale to Exhale, and earlier this month, Flamingo Estate unveiled a podcast, “Unruly,” which addresses the commodification and regulation of women’s bodies.
“One of the cool things to happen along the way of us partnering with organizations to discuss body autonomy and trying to find ways in which we can talk to our customers about this work, is realizing it resonates with women in their 30s, 40s and 50s, some of whom have never heard these terms before,” said Hureau. “We should all be continually learning and understanding — and we can learn together.”
For Keating, too, maximizing impact is key.
“My hope is that we will see [Girl Scouts] pay it forward, that what they learn in this program, they will find and invent ways to share it with the wider world, which is what I truly expect we will see.”