Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What Girls Want: Wish List for 2010

No doubt, with the New Year upon us, you’re hearing lots about resolutions — probably filled with the "classics" involving dieting and/or going to the gym. While many are thinking about whittling waistlines and generally getting smaller, we're thinking bigger-- culture change-big, to be specific.

This year, our Girls Advisory Board, knowing full well that they’re not lacking in resolve, decided to make wishes for what they’d like to see happen in 2010. They’re wishes for girls, parents, and their peers. And they’d like to share them with you and ask you to share your wishes too!

So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are Hardy Girls' Top 10 Wishes for 2010:

1. My wish for 2010 is for everyone to realize the importance of girls in their communities, that their ideas can change the world for the better. --Devan

2. My wish for 2010 is that girls will be less critical of themselves just because they don't fit every part of "ideal beauty." --Amelia R.

3. My wish for 2010 is that toy companies will cut the makeovers and stop making all their dolls look like bratz'ed versions of our beloved favorites. --Megan

4. My wish for 2010 is for more women to be talked about in history class because we did stuff, too! --Thalia

5. My wish for 2010 is that women will be paid equally to men. --Alyssa

6. My wish for 2010 is for more famous women to challenge narrow cultural ideas of beauty. --Ruya

7. My wish for 2010 is to see myself as a beautiful, intelligent, and worthy woman, the way my friends and family see me. I wish that all women could see this within themselves this year. --Ali Jean

8. My wish for 2010 is that more girls become aware that they are worth something, and that their lives don't need to be about makeup, boys, and popularity. --Jenn

9. My wish for 2010 is that there will be more girls involved in "guys'" sports such as football or hockey! --Amelia D.

10. My wish for 2010 is that every school will have a safe place for girls where they can be themselves and allies to one another. --Jackie

And that's just a little taste of the big dreams we're envisioning for 2010. What do you hope 2010 brings for girls and women? We'd like to hear about it! Share your wishes too!

And we hope you'll consider helping us get the ball rolling (before it drops on New Year's Eve!) by making a tax-deductible donation-- it's your last chance before the end of the year! Your dollars will go directly toward empowering girls through programming, education, and new experiences that open their eyes to a world where girls thrive.

Thank you, and Happy New Year from Hardy Girls!

Share your wish for 2010 here or on our Facebook Fan Page

And, make your gift to support the realization of these wishes today by visiting:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Get acquainted with our winners from last year's Girls Rock! awards.

Remember last year's awesome gals? Here's your chance to nominate a girl for the 2010 awards! Click the title of this post and you'll be directed to the nomination form, or follow this link for an online nomination option.

Title IX Champion: Waterville-Oakland Girls' High School Hockey Team
When told that the only way for them to play hockey would be to join the boys' team, fifteen girls from Waterville and Oakland chose another path. They raised enough funds for their own team and have gone on to win numerous tournaments around the state!

Health Advocacy: Chelsea Schoen
Chelsea has been an active member of the Maine Youth Action Network (MYAN) for over two years, and has brought the Thin Line (a production about eating disorders) and an anti-tobacco program to her school. Two years ago, Chelsea also testified at the State House to get increased funding
for School-Based Health Centers across Maine, eventually helping to secure $500,000 in additional funding for the next two years.

Against the Odds: Vera Mauro
Vera entered Noble Middle School in 2008, as a new student to public schools. Though She is deaf, Vera doesn’t let it get in her way. She is a high academic achiever, and as an extracurricular activity, Vera initiated a sign language class to be held after school for both her peers and teachers. She continues to take time out of her busy day to teach sign language to whoever wants to learn.

Community Organizing: Leila Saad
Leila’s belief in a united community led her to co-found a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) group at Sumner High School in 2006. She has since arranged for the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to address the high school staff of her school on issues of sexuality, and continues to educate and advocate for others.

Entrepreneurship: Samantha Lee Todd
Samantha started her own organic business named “Simply Luscious," where she produces hand slave and lip balm by growing her own ingredients at home or purchasing them from local health food stores. Samantha donates her proceeds to needy children in Uganda and Guatemala.

Co-Creator: Aleah Starr
Aleah, a junior at Colby College, started a project entitled, “Projections” to raise awareness on eating disorders among young adults. The project calls attention to the negative and limiting image society imposes on young people, and has already been shown at the Maine Legislative Briefing and many other venues across the state.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Speak out against sexualized and violent games aimed at kids!

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is heading up a petition against the sexualized and violent video games promoted by Nickelodeon. Take action by signing the open letter to Nickelodeon reps (excerpt below).

Share this link with friends and colleagues through Twitter, email, etc

Thank you for your support and continued activism!"Did you know that Nickelodeon, the children’s media empire, is promoting sexualized and violent video games to children as young as preschoolers? Its popular gaming website,, features games such as Candy the Naughty Cheerleader, Bloody Day (“Back alley butchering has never been so much fun. . . . How many kills can you rack?”) and the Perry the Sneak series, where gamers take the role of a peeping Tom trying to catch revealing glimpses of scantily clad and naked women. Nickelodeon promotes, and links directly to, on its website for children and even on its Nick, its website for preschoolers.

Please visit the petition to tell Nickelodeon to stop promoting sexualized and violent video games to children.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Check out Lyn Mikel Brown's piece featured in the PTA online magazine!

Hardy Girls is overjoyed to share another insightful article by Lyn Mikel Brown, who challenges and critiques the media's influence on children and youth. This piece, "Taming the Media Stereotypes that Make Kids Aggressive," is featured in the December 2009/January 2010 edition of the PTA online magazine.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Point, Shoot, Retouch and Label?

The New York Times online last week featured a piece about French Parliament member and mother of two teenage girls, Valerie Boyer, who has introduced a draft law that would mandate that retouched photographs appearing in advertisements feature a label that clearly discloses their digital alterations.

Unsurprisingly, Boyer faces opposition—from people that claim that Michelangelo’s paintings prove that this idealization of women is age-old; from people that argue anorexia is far too complex a disorder to pin the blame on a few photographs; and from people that claim that women and girls must already know that the photographs have been retouched because they’re so unrealistic.

Boyer defends her case, echoing some long-held Hardy Girls sentiments along the way: “If someone wants to make life a success, wants to feel good in their skin, wants to be part of society, one has to be thin or skinny, and then it’s not enough — one will have [her] body transformed with software that alters the image, so we enter a standardized and brainwashed world, and those who aren’t part of it are excluded from society.”

This exclusion is precisely where we, as a society, and our girls and women run into trouble. The constant media barrage instills in girls and women the belief that they will never be good enough, but eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are only a couple of a whole host of issues research has proven to result from feeling as if one will never be thin/pretty/sexually appealing enough to measure up. These include, but are not limited to, depression, self-mutilation, alcoholism, and drug use. We don’t mean to make light of eating disorders and certainly hold media culpable, but we also embrace that it’s far too simplistic to claim that people develop eating disorders because they read magazines.

Now, having acknowledged the complex web that impossible societal expectations weave — we’re all for labeling retouched photos. It’s an appropriate first step toward calling out unrealistic standards of beauty in a consistent way.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Help Us Save New Moon!

A message from HGHW co-founder, Lyn Mikel Brown:

When my daughter was 8, I bought her a subscription to New Moon Magazine. As a feminist mom I loved that she would never see a diet ad or receive instruction about how to steal that cute guy in the pages of this magazine. New Moon promised and delivered something "for every girl who wants her voice heard and her dreams taken seriously." They supported my personal mission "to build healthy resistance to gender inequalities." With departments like Girls on The Go, Herstory, and Girls Act Out, my daughter connected with girls across the country and the world who understood they had something to say worth listening to. While other magazines went for outer beauty, New Moon defined beauty as "good hearts, great works, and activism."

I can't imagine a world for girls without New Moon Magazine. But without our support, New Moon will no longer rise.

Hardy Girls Healthy Women has joined New Moon Girl Media as an Affiliate Partner. For every subscription bought via this link* $10 will come back to support Hardy Girls' local programming. In perfect synch with our Hardy Girls message to girls, we all win when we work in coalition with one another!

*Please note that the link brings you directly to our affiliation page, as indicated at the end of the URL "HDGRLH." Though the Hardy Girls name and logo are not represented on the webpage itself (we are working to fix this) please trust that by following the above link with its special URL ending, you will be ordering a subscription through our affiliation.

Today I called our local elementary school, to find that the 4th and 5th grade library did not subscribe to New Moon. To keep the dream alive, I'm buying a year's subscription for the Albert S. Hall School in Waterville, Maine. Please join me: Buy a membership to New Moon for an 8-14 year old girl in your life. If she's all grown up like my daughter, buy a subscription for a local school, library, doctor's office, or homeless shelter. Then join "Save New Moon" where you can help just by spreading the word.

We have until December 12, 2009. Let's all pitch in and save New Moon for the next generation of smart, strong, hardy girls!

Friday, November 6, 2009

HGHW responds to the Maine election results and their impact on youth.

As you know, November 3rd was a big day here in Maine. With a slim majority, Mainers voted to repeal the law that granted the right to same-sex couples to marry. One of our first thoughts here at Hardy Girls was how this news, and Campaign messages on both sides, have impacted Maine youth and their sense of community and safety. I think we can all agree that the security, support, and wellbeing of our youth are core concerns. For that reason, we are including a few resources to support your new, ongoing, and renewed work to protect and support all youth.

As we learned from the Ugly Ducklings National Campaign to Reduce Bullying and Harassment of LGBTQ Youth, the importance of safe, supportive communities for all youth cannot be understated. According to the 2007 GLSEN National School Climate Survey:

-86.2% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 44.1% reported being physically harassed and 22.1% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.

-73.6% heard derogatory remarks such as "faggot" or "dyke" frequently or often at school.

-More than half (60.8%) of students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and more than a third (38.4%) felt unsafe because of their gender expression.

- 31.7% of LGBT students missed a class and 32.7% missed a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe, compared to only 5.5% and 4.5%, respectively, of a national sample of secondary school students.

The statistics are staggering but they highlight the need for all of us to continue to fight for environments where all youth can thrive: in families, schools, and communities free of bias-based harassment and violence.

Whether or not the state recognizes same-sex marriages does not diminish the impact that this election has on Maine families, and in particular, children. We encourage you to please reach out to the young people in your life and encourage conversation about how we can all work to create an ideal environment where all youth can grow up free of harassment. Now, more than ever, it's important for young people to know where they can turn to for support, information, and allies.

For all our friends and allies, we recommend the following resources for reducing bullying, harassment, and violence.

Top Ten Ways to Make Schools Safer...For All Students

Lesson Plan: Building a Bully-Free Building

Four Steps Schools Can Take to Address Anti-LGBT Bullying and Harassment

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Help Name this Campaign!

Calling All Girls...We Need Your Vote

Hardy Girls is working with sister organizations across the U.S. and Canada on a full-scale, girl driven campaign to change media’s representation of girls. We want you to have the information, power, and support it takes to demand more real girls with real lives, real interests, and real bodies in media and fewer mean girl, pole-dancing, shopaholic fashionistas. This will be a fun, edgy, creative campaign that connects you with other girls across a variety of platforms, including social networking sites like Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, and Twitter.

So if you want to speak your mind and strut your stuff, if you want to join with other girls and start a new girl movement, help us NAME THIS CAMPAIGN!

Tell us which name you like best on the poll to the right. If you have a better suggestion, email us at If we choose your original name over one of ours listed below, we’ll send you a $100 iTunes gift card.

So, drum roll please...?

Here they are!

  1. Get Real! A Campaign for All Girls
  2. ROAR (Reclaim Girlhood; Organize; Assert Ourselves; Rescue Media)
  3. G-WAVE (Girls With Active Voices Everywhere)
  4. Girl Up! (as in Be Strong, Stand up, Speak up)
  5. PBG (Powered By Girls)
  6. That's What She Says (Turning a joke that makes girls sexual objects into a chance for real girls to talk back and making it an active statement of girls' voices!)
  7. DissTheMessage
So, after some feedback from our friends and allies, we've restarted the poll and changed #6 from "That's What She Said" to "That's What She Says" It's an important difference to us and to the girls we're working with on this Campaign! We tallied up all the votes we received so far and will add those to the results from the new poll.

Vote Now! And tell your friends by emailing, sharing through Facebook and Twitter, and good old-fashioned word-of-mouth!!


Monday, August 24, 2009

An Apology -- Now That's Edgy...and Refreshing

After writing to The Maine Edge about their latest cover (see last entry), and with the help of our friends at the Packaging Girlhood blog and you, we've received an apology from publisher Michael Fern. We understand from others that Mr. Fern responded personally to everyone who wrote in to complain about the cover, addressing a variety of concerns.

After explaining how the image made it's way to the cover, Mr. Fern writes: "We do appreciate your feedback and take responsibility for our work accordingly - we certainly missed the boat on this one. I apologize for that and assure you we will show more due diligence for our future covers and story presentations. As a reader you deserve that from us, and I hope you'll forgive us for this error."

Mr. Fern tells us that the cover has been a teachable moment for his staff. "As part of the community and social fabric, we have a responsibility to do better."

In addition, the offensive photo has been taken down from The Maine Edge's online magazine site.

Thanks for the apology and the follow through, Michael Fern. Truly refreshing -- like a milkshake on a hot summer's day!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Maine Edge Has Gone Over the Edge

The Maine Edge Has Gone Over the Edge

If there’s any question about the increased sexualization of girls and general pornification of the culture, check out the cover of The Maine Edge, a publication out of Bangor Maine that seems so desperate to be “fresh and edgy” that they’ll sell out your daughter and mine for sales. The current issue’s cover has a young teen girl in a bikini straddling a milkshake. Everything is suggestive about this image — her body position, the location of the whipped cream and the straw, the red cherries, the “Milkshakes aren’t just for kids any more. Beat the heat with a grown up treat” title of the article, and the online sidebar “Inquisition Survey” that makes it all so clear: Does your milkshake bring all the boys to the yard? Possible answers? Yes. No. Um...what?

More like “Um...what are the editors at The Maine Edge thinking? Why does edgy have to mean sexing up young girls? How “fresh” is a lame reference to a dated and cheesy rap song (Kelis’ 2007 song “Milkshake”) about breasts? Want to be really creative? Try putting your heads together and coming up with something clever and smart that doesn’t make teen girls into sex objects. These days using pornified images of girls to sell products is as common and lazy as it is offensive.

Tell the Maine Edge to use their imagination!

Michael Fern
Edge Media Group
PO Box 2639
Bangor, ME 04402-2639
Phone: 207.942.2901
Fax: 207.942.5602

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Too Sexy Too Soon: Miley's Elle Pics

No she’s “not a kid anymore,” but didn’t we know that after the racy Vanity Fair photo last year? How about after those sketchy bra-showing facebook pix? The black leather porn pose for an upcoming film? This time, though, there are no I didn’t knows or I’m so embarrassed, or you people have dirty minds sort of comments. Nope, the “I’m not a preteen, I just play one on TV” star of Hannah Montana is sixteen and full on sexy in the July issue of Elle. We actually don’t have anything against Miley. We’re just so sick and tired of beloved pop stars “growing up” this way and only this way. Where are the pictures of her as a smart, creative, interesting young woman? Nope, it’s fashion, sex, fashion, and sex. If the message wasn’t so awful and the impact on girls so big, we’d yawn.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

We Want More Real Girls in Disney/Pixar Films!

Dr. Ed Catmull, President
Pixar Animation Studios
1200 Park Avenue
Emeryville, California 94608

Robert A. Iger, CEO
500 S. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91521-9722

Dear Dr. Catmull and Mr. Iger,

We read Linda Holmes’s wonderful letter to Pixar asking you to create a feature film with a girl or women as the main character. We’ve had enough of Disney princesses with doe eyes and Barbie doll bodies. We love your inventive, brilliant movies. We know you have it in you. We loved feisty Princess Atta in A Bug’s Life and Dreamworks' Princess Fiona in Shrek was our kind of girl, but the stories weren’t theirs to tell, nor the journeys theirs to take. We want a female LEAD character, a nonprincess LEAD character who is complex and interesting. While you’re at it, could you give her a passion for something other than fashion and shopping, and how about a realistic body type? Girls are 25% of characters in animated films and 52% of the population. Research tells us boys care less about gender than interesting characters. They’ll watch if she’s cool enough. Come on, give us just one. If you make it, we will come to the theaters in droves. Promise!


Your concerned customers

Sign the petition here and pass it along to your friends!

Check out the Packaging Girlhood authors' blog about the petition

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dear Mattel and Nick: We're Not Buying It

After loads of media attention to Dora's makeover, and more than 5,000 concerned people signed our petition, the Nickelodeon Press Department released a statement. But, we're not convinced.

Here is our response to Mattel and Nick:

Dear Mattel and Nick,

It’s safe to say that neither the thousands who have signed our petition nor we are soothed by the unveiling of the new tween Dora’s image. The original Dora the Explorer was unique and beloved by both girls and boys because she was adventurous, smart, and loved the outdoors. Trading her compass, map, pet monkey, and sneakers for jewelry, a dress, and the big city, means Dora isn't the same explorer anymore. The new tween Dora fits right into the narrow mold that defines too many girls' toys, and thus limits their imagination.

In the AP Wire article released yesterday, your company defined "tween" as girls 5-8 years old. Parents need to know that this is a new definition of tween – a big change from the 8-12 market originally targeted. The creation of an older Dora is a blatant attempt to go after younger girls and create a desire for a lifestyle and products parents tell us they are too young to experience. This is a time in girls’ lives when we should be introducing a wide range of possibilities and interests – not limiting their potential with stereotypes of appearance-conscious tween fashionistas.

Through the creation of a tween Dora who can change her hair and eye color to “go undercover” you have effectively erased Dora’s cultural identity - transforming what was not only a wonderful example of a non-stereotypical girl but also a strong, independent Latina character. Dora’s cultural identity is not just another accessory for your corporations to peddle.

If Dora does have to grow up, Hardy Girls Healthy Women, and thousands of concerned girls, boys, and parents think she should keep her sensible clothes and interest in problem-solving and jungle adventures.

We will continue to urge concerned parents and children to make their voices heard by signing onto our petition and will continue to contact media outlets until we are satisfied that you have taken steps to maintain the adventurous spirit of the original Dora.

Sign the petition to save Dora today.
Read Packaging Girlhood authors Lyn and Sharon's response

Thursday, February 26, 2009

'Let's Go!' No Makeover for Dora!

What happened? FIRST it was Dora's Magic Talking Kitchen, THEN Dora Princess, THEN Dora Babysitter in her cousin's show, NOW DORA TWEEN.

Alas, we saw the signs. The cute flower lip gloss, the pinkified look, the sudden separation of Dora and Diego shows. We could have, should have predicted this after we saw the likes of Strawberry Shortcake, Holly Hobby, and Trollz (now with the ubiquitous commodified girl power “z”), all made over in the cute sexy way that marketers sell maturity to girls--the sassy wink, the long flowing hair, the thin waist, the turned out hip pose of practiced lingerie models. What next? Dora the Cheerleader? Dora the fashionista with stylish purse and stilettos? Dora the Pop Star with Hoppin' Dance Club and "Juice" Bar? We can expect it all, because that's what passes as "tween" in the toy department these days.

In Packaging Girlhood, Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown write extensively about Dora the Explorer as one of the best role models in girls' early worlds, at least before her image was sold to princess clothing lines and sugary cereals. On TV she wears shorts. She has a sidekick monkey. She has a map and a compass and a backpack! She solves problems and explores the world in Spanish and English. Her motto is "Let's go!" and it could never be construed in that ‘wink, wink’ kind of way. But those adventuresome folks who created Dora no longer own her. She's owned by Mattel who can use her image, re-MAKE her image, in any way they see fit to make money.

The highest bidder for tween Dora was Mattel, and they have plans to sell her at a whopping $60 to aspiring teens everywhere. For this price, girls are told to forget the outdoors and adventure into the same old same old: shopping, fashion, makeovers, and jewelry.

But we know the truth and can do something about it! We know that if the original Dora grew up, she wouldn't be a fashion icon or a shopaholic. She'd develop her map reading skills and imagine the places she could go. She'd capitalize on those problem solving skills to design new ways to bring fresh water to communities in need around the world. Maybe she'd become a world class runner or follow her love of animals and become a wildlife preservationist or biologist. We'll never know because the only way a girl can grow up in tween town, is to narrow that symphony of choices to one note. It's such a sell out of Dora, of all girls.

That's why we're sending this letter to Mattel and Nickelodeon! Join us for Let's Go: No Makeover for Dora. Help us tell the execs at Mattel and Nickelodeon to "Let GO" of Dora. Either let her live on as her wonderful self, or create a pre-teen doll that is true to who she was as a child!

Sign onto the petition here and we’ll add your name to the list of concerned parents, activists, educators, and girls who refuse to stand aside while yet another girlhood icon becomes the victim of marketers’ schemes.

Sign on now!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

LMB writes about Mean Girls on The REAL Deal

Lyn Mikel Brown is featured on The REAL Deal blog where she writes about dealing with the "Mean Girl" phenomenon. "Mean girls" are featured in everything from reality TV shows, dramas, and tabloid magazines. For 2009, Lyn writes that her wish for girls is to "affirm girls' relational and political strengths by giving them reason to believe they can count on one another and work together to solve social problems." Read the full blog here.

What's your wish for girls in 2009? We want to know!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Commercializing Girlhood

While girls everywhere struggle with Barbie as their role model and the pressure to become "just like her" two girls don't have to imagine what they would be like as Barbie dolls - they've already been made. TyGirlz has come out with the Marvelous Malia and Sweet Sasha dolls to capitalize on President Obama's inauguration. Yes, these dolls are plush instead of plastic, but they've got the unrealistic "beautiful" infant/alien eye to head ratio as well as the top-heavy structure girls everywhere have come to know very well with their Barbie dolls. Yes, Malia and Sasha, even though they are 7 and 10, in doll form have breasts. This also conjures up thoughts of Pocahontas who in reality was 12-14 years old at the time of the colonists' arrival, being made a woman overnight in the Disney movie Pocahontas to fulfill the romantic angle Disney wanted to prescribe to little girls.

The Malia and Sasha dolls aren't a part of a romanticized plotline but once again a company has sexualized and commodified girls for the sake of making a buck. In doing so, they perpetuate the message we're seeing everywhere these days: that girls will never be "just girls" but girls on the verge of being teens and everything that marketers have come to associate with being a "teen." (i.e. sexy, fashionable, into makeup, and don't forget sweet). It goes to show that marketer's have no respect for any girl - even the First Daughters! Even they can be used, as the post on Packaging Girlhood points out, "to encourage little girls to play with teen dolls and everything marketers think "teen" means. That is, Bratz and their followers party, have a passion for fashion, drink "juice" drinks in cosmo glasses, fly in jet planes, shop, and hang out in hot tubs."

The copy for the Malia and Sasha dolls reads "The magnificent beauty is Marvelous Malia! Malia looks great in a long sleeved shirt with butterfly detail and capri pants. This modern maiden is ready to look stunning in spring." "Sweet Sasha is one of the nicest girlz you could hope to meet! With her pigtail braids and clever combo of a shirtdress and leggings, it's easy to see that this sweetheart has style."

There you have it: Beauty is a look and sweetness is a style. Both are up for sale.

At least their names weren't "Oo Lala" (Olivia) or "Sizzilin'" (Sue).

Check out Susan Linn's editorial from Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood on how the President (acting at First Father?) should take on coporate America.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Are Girls Responsible for Dating Violence?

Two recent articles in The New York Times and the Boston Globe have reported on youth violence, specifically dating violence. While the articles describe efforts being made to prevent this violence, a recent commentary notes how they are based on gender-stereotypes and hold girls responsible for stopping it.

"This seems to be the thread running through both of these recent stories: that we still live in a country where gender stereotypes (men are violent and uncontrollable, women are passive and responsible) in collusion with systemic invisibility, lead us to continue making the same ineffective interventions. Our short-sightedness and sexism is, in itself, a sort of violence. It prevents us from empowering the next generation to live better, more peaceful lives," writes Courtney E. Martin.

Statistics on dating violence have shown the degree to which the problem is both troubling and urgent. According to a study from The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, more than one-third of the 920 students questioned were victims of emotional and physical abuse by romantic partners before they started college. Similarly, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found an increase in dating violence by more than 40 percent since 1999.

"But what about the young men? Do we really think teenage boys so depraved that they can't respond to an education on emotional management or be asked to take responsibility for preventing and ending interpersonal violence?" Martin writes.

To read the full commentary, click here. What do you think? Weigh in!