Mission:

About-Face is a Bay Area-based nonprofit that equips women and girls with tools to understand and resist harmful media messages that affect their self-esteem and body image.

How We Do It:

To accomplish our mission, we have the following programs for young women:

  • Education Into Action media-literacy workshops in schools, organizations, and communities.
  • In-depth, multi-session media-literacy and body-image programs that deepen students’ understanding of media messages and encourage action-taking.
  • The About-Face online presence, including this web site, About-Face.org, and key social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube).
  • Speaking engagements for parents, teachers, and other adult advocates to help them understand the pressures facing girls today and how to bolster their self-esteem.

Our workshops and workshop leader trainings take place throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and our online presence reaches across the United States in all directions.

Why We Do It:

All the major studies point to the problem: Western culture’s emphasis on stereotypes of women and girls, and thinness as the beauty ideal, is a risk factor for depression, negative mood, and binge eating. In turn, dieting is linked with eating disorders. In addition,

  • 95 percent of girls want to lose weight.
  • Teenage girls who read articles about dieting are five times more likely to take extreme weight-loss measures five years later than girls who do not read such articles.
  • Body image and eating disturbances contribute to higher levels of depression in adolescent girls.
  • Women of color and Caucasian (white) women are equally likely to present symptoms of eating disorders such as bulimia and binge eating disorder.

Girls and women are suffering every day from ills like low self-worth, depression, persistent anxiety over weight and appearance, extremely unhealthy diets and exercise regimens, and eating disorders. All of these problems interfere with a woman’s ability to function to the best of her abilities or seize opportunities, including finding the confidence to run for political office or achieve in a corporate career. This limits not only their potential but also their earning power and chances of equality.

In nearly every published research study on media effects on young women, including from the American Psychological Association (APA), the researchers recommend two major strategies for addressing harmful effects of media: media-literacy education and advocacy training for young women. About-Face uniquely meets this need by empowering and educating young women to put up their own psychological barriers against harmful media messages so they can thrive and overcome the internal and external obstacles to their own success.

 


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