Torch - Fall 2016

What are real girl things? If you guessed that they are the struggle to balance good grades with the extracurricular activities that stand out on a university application, you would be right. But if you guessed daring to choose karate over ballet just because it’s more fun, you would also be right. And although you may not even have considered it, real girl things even include secretly liking how powerful your voice sounds when shouting out slam poetry or how that new haircut really suits your face shape. #RealGirlThings) behind Havergal’s latest outreach campaign, is about validating girls and everything they stand for. Rather than seeing a girl as the great student, the superstar athlete or the bravest dancer, it’s about seeing her as all of those things. Actually, it’s more about her seeing herself as all of those things. How to build this confidence in our girls is a key question for teachers and parents alike. In publications from the Harvard Business Review to Psychology Today , experts have written about how the well- intentioned tendency to praise girls for their talents over their efforts can inadvertently suggest, consciously or otherwise, that skills are innate rather than feats to be pursued. Because they mature more slowly, we cheer the boys’ efforts and so, by contrast, boys learn early that persistence is the key to success. Traditionally, society has implied that good girls grow up playing it safe and sticking to their original skills, rather than trying new and challenging things. All of this insight was top of mind for Antonietta Mirabelli, Executive Director of Communications & Marketing at Havergal, as she set out to find ways to create conversations around real girl things: to break through the traditional placid image of the smiling girl in the overly starched blazer. The first step was to recruit the creative input of Matt Litzinger of Red Lion, Havergal’s marketing agency. Inspiration for the campaign came from all over, but especially from Havergal itself. Litzinger says he was particularly inspired by the first speech of First Principal Ellen Knox posing that fundamental question What are you going to do? to the first The point is that the idea of real girl things, the phrase (and now hashtag

where does real confidence come from?

Her outfit or her latest performance? At Havergal College, we believe real confidence comes from within. That’s why we’re encouraging girls to share the things that really matter to them: #RealGirlThings See more at

One of the four advertisements in the #RealGirlThings campaign.

shouldn’t be dismissed. They aren’t small. They do matter,” he says. Making such big ideas concrete meant moving beyond the conventional. Yes, the campaign included print ads; however, the images are no longer shiny-faced girls, but edgy celebrations of complexity: a girl taking a selfie behind the headline “calculus tutor” or another holding up a red lipstick under the headline “rock climber.” Each features a real girl with a real life at Havergal, each with the alluring tagline “Where does real confidence come from?” In moving beyond print, Litzinger and Mirabelli sought to reach girls in the spaces Continued

graduating class. “To me, that question has never been more relevant than it is now, because I think even though the landscape has changed, the opportunities that exist for women today are tenfold what they used to be,” says Litzinger. Litzinger says he was also inspired by the girls themselves and their real-life challenges, echoing Mirabelli’s view that traditional marketing has mostly been reminiscent rather than realistic. “Being a 17-year-old girl is one of the toughest things there is. I think what we chose to do was not look at it through the eyes of an adult, but actually look at it through the eyes of students. These challenges, they


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