While watching a riveting CNN documentary series about television throughout the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, I was struck with how every generation complained about the same thing. People protested and courtrooms were filled for public hearings and lawsuits about how TV is ruining us all. I can certainly think of more than a handful of idiotic shows that deserve to be cut. But when you get down to it, there’s some good that comes from seeing real women on the small screen, like Queen Elizabeth II’s first televised Christmas speech in 1957, or Michelle Obama’s televised famous words from the 2016 Democratic National Convention, “When they go low, we go high.”
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 55 Percent
I’m the first to admit I love some ridiculous reality TV shows, especially the kind where wine is tossed in a frenemy’s face and participants strongly voice that they “aren’t here to make friends.” But those women are, without a doubt, not great role models. Sadly, according to a recent U.K. study of girls 7 to 21, many said reality TV and online celebs do serve as models for how they should live. Maybe that’s because there’s a lack of positive female role models on the small screen. Indeed, 55 percent of the young women asked said there simply aren’t enough strong, aspirational women visible in the media.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Sophia Rossi, Co-founder of Hello Giggles
When you have a bad day, it helps to find some light to bring you out of that dark funk. That’s why I love Hello Giggles, an online community that promotes self-acceptance, female empowerment and a whole lot of positivity.
Co-founded in 2011 by today’s Woman to Watch, Sophia Rossi, with the help of her besties, actress and singer Zooey Deschanel and TV writer Molly McAleer, Hello Giggles now has 11 million visitors each month. The site, with its clean lines, pastel colors and funky geometric designs, draws viewers in instantly. They stay, of course, for the powerfully positive content.
Hello Giggles covers it all, from lifestyle and fashion to entertainment and news. There’s fun stuff, like how this January’s full supermoon set the tone for the rest of your year, but there’s also great copy about the serious stuff, like why we all need to pay more attention to teen girls’ mental health. Articles cross generations, offering an easy way to connect with women from all backgrounds.
Speaking of backgrounds, Sophia’s is definitely envy-worthy. She’s the quintessential California girl, born in Long Beach and raised in Beverly Hills, where she made money babysitting and working as a summer-camp counselor. In fact, her summer-camp experiences helped fuel the idea for Hello Giggles as a place where women and girls could have fun while also getting real with one another. Prior to co-founding Hello Giggles, Sophia was probably best known for her work as a reality TV producer for infamous shows like The Hills and The City (Why, oh why did Lauren Conrad choose love over a Parisian Teen Vogue internship?!)
Of course, an online biz like Hello Giggles doesn’t go from zero visits to 11 million fans without effort. Part of the site’s success stems from the fact that Sophia and her co-founders knew they needed data-driven experts at the helm. While it may not be easy to find the right experts to launch your online company into the stratosphere, it’s clearly worth it. After all, Time Inc. purchased Hello Giggles in 2015 for a cool $30 mil. Not too shabby for a former reality TV gal, huh?
QUITE THE QUOTE
TV stars and crushes come and go, but you, my dear, are here to stay. As author and speaker Byron Katie said:
“Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.