Extraordinary People

Meet hero ripping up the rule book that girls must be pretty and boys must be smart

Cover girl meme exposed gender biases that young girls face today.

How many times when you click that like or share button each day are you consciously thinking about the content you are supporting?

One campaigner is a on a mission to revolutionise the way we consume media and make us think before we allow our subconscious to simply absorb what is on our timeline.

Back in 2016, Katherine Young went viral after she used her Photoshop skills to revamp a magazine cover which centred on female aesthetics to focus on achievements instead.

Katherine wanted to expose gender biases used today when talking to girls versus boys.

The original cover featured a heavily airbrushed image of actress Olivia Holt alongside headlines such as ‘Fashion You’ll Love’, ‘Wake Up Pretty’, and ‘Your Dream Hair’.

Katherine’s overhaul saw new cover girl Olivia Hallisey, who had just won the Google Science Fair Grand Prize, beside headlines ‘Girls Doing Good’ and ‘Your Dream Career’.

The initial driver for Katherine to mock-up the faux cover was after seeing an Instagram post comparing Girls’ Life to the Boys’ Life edition – which led on the headline ‘Explore Your Future’ and encouraged young men to think about ambition rather than beauty.

Katherine’s life has now taken an unexpected twist, as the popularity of her meme has led her book, How to Discuss Politics Online: Stop Falling for %$*!#@ Marketing Tactics.

Chatting exclusively to Uspire, Katherine spoke about her debut publication and how she is a voice for future generations to reach their full potential – no matter what gender.

Katherine said: “I had no idea the Girls’ Life meme was going to reach so many people, but I am so proud it did. I think when we see magazines on racks all having the same homogeneous message about a woman’s appearance always being the main priority, we don’t even question if that should be the norm.

“That one image took me ten minutes to make and it has gone viral again and again every few months for the past four years. That is the impact one image can make.

“But here is the thing; my original Facebook post got less than 500 shares and I was seeing misinformation and propaganda posts getting over 1m. That is when it hit me.

“Trolls are making thousands of divisive images a day and people are spreading them by the millions. Just the thought of it is terrifying at the least and alters history at the most.

“I knew I had to do something about this, and that is how the book came to be.”

Katherine says she hopes her book will help people to start questioning the marketing tactics used in online content that manipulate us into believing certain paradigms.

The North Dakota native is not only lifting the smoke and mirrors behind these tactics, but also shining a light on how to be better prepared to make individual decisions.

Katherine said the objectives of her writing are not are to change opinions, but to make sure the public are better informed when an opinion is marketed to them.

She explained: “Just that pause before sharing something is a huge win for me. If someone sees a meme and recognises it features the ‘Us vs. Them’ tactic, or it could possibly be supporting a troll account, and decides to not share – we all win.

“As much as we blame the media, or politicians for spreading fake news, we all are taking part. If the general public has a more critical-eye on information they share, then fake news doesn’t go viral. And that is a game-changer.”

Katherine added: “I want people to feel empowered and to realise that maybe that meme shouldn’t be shared and to have a resource to know why.”

Thanks to the overwhelming positive reaction to her campaigning, with people crediting her for re-evaluating how they digest news, Katherine is continuing to open impressionable eyes by making education resources and hosting an online book club.

She concluded: “I want people to see these posts more through the eyes of a professional marketer. I want people to see posts more objectively and stop believing what they see immediately based on their own bias.”

To grab your copy of the book, click here.

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