Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 264: Time for an About-Face?

Dear Awesome Readers,

You may have noticed that 2011 was a year filled with increased awareness about skewed and damaging media representations of girls and women.  From the terrific new film Miss Representation, to feature stories on 20/20, the Dove Real Beauty Campaign, dozens of Facebook pages, amazing blogs (ahem!), and Twitter feeds, there are a lot of people out there who are fighting the good fight!  I also like to think of  all of you readers as being a part of that good fight.

I know that my blog and academic research mainly contribute by building awareness of the issues that harm women's body image and self esteem.  This is an important piece of the puzzle, but, as you know, making real, lasting change for girls and women requires that we move beyond awareness: this goal requires action. We need to provide young women with tools and skills they can use to combat the dangerous messages they receive each day from our toxic media culture.

This call to action motivated me to become a volunteer and donor for About-Face.

About-Face is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving girls' body image and self esteem.  We do this work through our fantastic website (www.about-face.org), through media literacy workshops, and by coaching groups of teens in "Take Action!" groups in which girls build a sense of efficacy by developing their own media literacy projects (see below).
This was my all-time favorite "Action Group" project.  Oprah liked it too!
My own role as a volunteer at About-Face has been to lead media literacy workshops, and to develop an evaluation program that measures how our workshops impact girls' self esteem, body image, and media literacy skills.  The first round of data has been collected and I'm thrilled to report that participants show improvement in all three of these areas (!), even a full month after attending just one About-Face workshop.  

These are what the numbers tell us, but girls can tell you in their own words about their experiences participating in a workshop:
"It was very interesting and gave me a different perspective on body image and the media.  It reinforced the idea of being happy with yourself." - Girl age 14
"I liked how you told us how untrue the media that makes you feel bad about yourself is.  You also helped us for future reference, when we're not sure if we should buy a product or not." - Girl age 11
"It helped me feel better about myself" Girl age 12
I'm so proud to be part of the small-but-dedicated About-Face team!  I'm really busy, and definitely strapped for cash.  Yet, I feel so passionate about the work being done by this organization that I find the time to volunteer, and I regularly dig out all the quarters hiding under my couch so I can donate to the cause.  If you are looking for a meaningful way to contribute to a non-profit organization this holiday season, I urge you to consider donating to About-Face.  (If you're as broke as I am, I suggest asking friends and family to donate in your name as a holiday gift! Really, don't we have enough stuff?!?!)  I've seen firsthand that even small contributions of $10 or $25 can make a big difference, as About-Face operates in a teeny-tiny office with only one paid staff member managing dozens of committed volunteers.
It all started with this fantastic poster....
Read the About-Face founding story here!

There are so many amazing things about About-Face.  I don't have space to talk about them all here, but you can learn more on the website, which I encourage you to peruse for both inspiration and education!

 I'll end here with a link directing you to the About-Face donation webpage.  Take action!


How might your life be different if you'd attended an About-Face media literacy workshop as a teen?


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26 comments:

  1. Was About Face the organization that put sticky notes with positive beauty affirming phrases on them up all over public restrooms? Like "your beauty shines from the inside" and "a smile looks great on you!" I LOVED that campaign.

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  2. Oops, just took a closer look at that picture insert. Yup, that was About-Face. They are sooo cool!

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  3. What an awesome organization! Thanks for sharing. :)

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