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?