On Friday, Brooke Chaffin and Catherine Connors announced the launch of Maverick, a social network for girls between the ages of 10 and 20. The aim is to connect and empower girls by fostering their creativity and introducing them to inspiring role models.
Maverick, a social network for young women, launches with $2.7M in funding.
When users join Maverick, which offers both a free iOS app and desktop experience, they have the opportunity to participate in video, photo and text-based “challenges,” like creating their own superheroes, coming up with lyrics for their personal anthems, making dance videos and creating posters for meaningful causes. One recent challenge involves designing their own “freak flags” to celebrate their eccentricity.
“Girls and young women do feel extraordinary pressure to be perfect and likable and to follow the rules.” -Catherine Connors
“Maverick aims to provide girls and young women with ongoing opportunities to exercise their powers of creativity, curiosity, and daring in the years of their lives when they are still comfortable being messy, ambitious, and unapologetic,” Connors told HuffPost.
“This is with the hope and expectation that they will become practiced and comfortable in experimenting and taking risks, in challenging the pressures of perfection, in being their real, powerful, authentic selves, and in working together ― and that they will carry them forward into adulthood, and use them to make their own futures and change the world,” Connors added.
The challenges come from “Catalysts,” or role models from a range of fields meant to inspire the young “Mavericks.” After sharing their work in response to challenges, users have the opportunity to view and reward each other’s work with comments and badges for categories like “unique,” “creative,” “unstoppable” and “daring.”
Indeed, studies have highlighted the loss of confidence girls experience at surprisingly early ages and the importance of positive female role models in building their self-esteem.
After Connors and Chaffin had both left Disney, they reconnected and decided to use their digital media experience to tackle this issue.
“Girls and young women do feel extraordinary pressure to be perfect and likable and to follow the rules. Much of their current social media engagement increases that pressure,” said Connors. “Maverick’s emphasis on creative messiness and authenticity allows girls to be able to push back against the myths of perfection – and to meaningfully exercise their very real powers.”
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