Great web sites, books, and movies for better body image! Learn more about media, self-esteem, and general girl power.
Let us know if you have more ideas for what we can include here!
Awesome sites & blogs we like
Feministing – Young feminists blogging, organizing, kicking ass
Proud2BMe — Online community created by and for teens, with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight; here’s a list of resources from Proud2BMe
Rookie Mag – A hip, independent publication for teen girls that features themed monthly “issues” and whose editor is the Tavi Gevinson
SPARK – A girl-fueled activist movement to demand an end to the sexualization of women and girls in media. They collaborate with hundreds of girls 13-22 and more than 60 national organizations (including About-Face!) to reject the commodified, sexualized images of girls in media and support the development of girls’ healthy sexuality and self-esteem
Photo retouching & Photoshop web sites
BODY TYPED — a photo-retouching game!
Retouch: Ministry of Health and Social Affairs – A step-by-step interactive breakdown of what goes into retouching a magazine cover photo
Body-Positivity, Health At Every Size, Weight Issues, Fat/Size Acceptance
Fat!So? — Marilyn Wann is amazing and you should check our her site
National Organization to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) – non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to ending size discrimination in all of its forms
Radiance Support for Plus-Size Teens – A list of websites supporting plus-size teens
Teen-friendly organizations & groups we like
Beauty Redefined — Taking back beauty for females everywhere
Beyond Hunger – a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals overcome the obsession with food and weight and find a natural, loving, and peaceful relationship with their food, weight, and selves (based in San Rafael, CA)
The Body Positive –The Body Positive transforms people’s beliefs about beauty, health, and identity, freeing them to live balanced, joyful, and purposeful lives
Girls Inc. – A national organization dedicated to helping every girl become strong, smart and bold; great programs for girls ages 8-18
Hardy Girls, Healthy Women — Creates opportunities, develops programs, and provides services that empower girls as well as addressing girls’ lives in social and relational contexts; they believe it is not the girls, but the environment they live in that needs repair (national organization based in Maine)
The Media Literacy Project – Advancing education and advocacy for media justice (based in New Mexico)
YWCA – Dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all
Body-positive visual & performing arts
Fat Chance Belly Dance – A dance phenomenon as unique as the city of San Francisco
Guerrilla Girls – Since 1985, this anonymous group has protested gender and racial inequality in the art world while ”reinventing the F-Word: Feminism”
Your Body Raks – “Body justice” belly dancing in the San Francisco Bay Area
Eating disorders & disordered eating
Eating Disorder Center of California – An intensive day treatment and outpatient program for men and women, adolescents and adults suffering from eating disorders
Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center – International Eating Disorder Referral Organization
Eating Disorder Resources – Facts, links, online support groups, and more
Mental Health – Eating Disorders Resources, includes some articles and international resource links
Mirror-Mirror – Valuable site with facts about eating disorders and support for recovery
Monte Nido Eating Disorder Treatment Center – A residential treatment center for women suffering from anorexia, bulimia and compulsive exercise (locations in Southern California and Oregon)
National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) – Support for individuals and families affected by eating disorders
The Something Fishy Guide to Eating Disorders – Dedicated to provided support for individuals with eating disorders and their loved ones since 1995
The Renfrew Center Foundation – A national, non-profit organization advancing the education, prevention, research and treatment of eating disorders
Cool stuff to buy
Items from the About-Face web site – Great buttons, T-shirts, books, and more
VoluptuArt – Art and gifts for celebrating your body, including body-positive art and Yay! Scales
One Angry Girl Designs — T-shirts making big statements!
Related sites supporting girls and women
Coalition for Positive Sexuality - Everything you wanted to know (and some stuff you don’t)
Face the Issue - Site addressing body image, eating disorders, abuse, depression…each section has an animation narrated by a famous actress
Media that reflects girls’ experiences and empower us
(buy any of these using the Amazon links, and About-Face will get some of the sale!)
A $6 million box office theatrical run followed awards and acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival. Should Ana leave home, go to college and experience life? Or stay home, get married, and keep working in her sister's struggling garment factory? It may seem like an easy decision, but for 18 year-old Ana, every choice she makes this summer will change her life. Right now, she may be making clothes for less shapely women. But Ana is about to discover that real women take chances, have flaws, embrace life, and above all have curves!
Don't believe everything you read.
Open any magazine or turn on any T.V. show and you'll be bombarded with air brushed, perfectly styled and made-up celebrities and super models, icons of beauty that real women can never match. Too often, girls, measure themselves against these unrealistic images and find themselves lacking. But we can all break free from the cult of celebrity and start liking the face we see in the mirror once we understand that many of these images of beauty are all made up.
In the spirit of Fast Food Nation, media-awareness activist Audrey Brashich delivers an in-depth, informative, and eye-opening look at the effect the media and pop culture has on young women's self images.
Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in her younger sister's place and must rely upon her sharp instincts when she's pitted against highly trained Tributes who have prepared their entire lives. If she's ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Chris Rock visits beauty salons and hairstyling battles, scientific laboratories and Indian temples to explore the way hairstyles impact the activities, pocketbooks, sexual relationships, and self-esteem of the black community in this exposé of comic proportions that only he could pull off. A raucous adventure prompted by Rock’s daughter approaching him and asking, "Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?”, GOOD HAIR shows Chris Rock engaging in frank, funny conversations with hair-care professionals, beauty shop and barbershop patrons, and celebrities including Ice-T, Nia Long, Paul Mooney, Raven Symoné, Dr. Maya Angelou, Salt-N-Pepa, Eve and Reverend Al Sharpton – all while he struggles with the task of figuring out how to respond to his daughter's question.
Fat? Chunky? Less than svelte? So what! In this hilarious and eye-opening book, fat and proud activist/zinester Marilyn Wann takes on Americas' biggest fear—worse than the fear of public speaking or nuclear weapons—our fear of fat.Statistics tell us that about a third of Americans are fat, and common sense adds that just about everyone, fat or thin, male or female, has worried about their appearance. FAT!SO? weighs in with a more attractive alternative: feeling good about yourself at any weight—and having the style and attitude to back it up. Internationally recognized as a fat-positive spokesperson, Wann has learned that you can be absolutely happy, healthy, and successful...and fat. With its hilarious and insightful blend of essays, quizzes, facts, and reporting, FAT!SO? proves that you can be out-and-out fabulous at any size.
Deal With It! offers a whole new approach for dealing with your life as a girl. It's a resource to help you learn about, laugh about, and figure out the stuff you go through on your way through life. It won't tell you what to do, because you'll need to decide that for yourself. But whether you're wondering about your body, your feelings or your changing relationships with the people around you, this book provides accurate information and outlines your options. Hilarious illustrations point out the humor in even the sorriest situations. And with hundreds of excerpts from real-girl conversations on the gURL.com website, you can see for real that whatever you're going through, you're not alone.
This book is for anyone who needs to know what it means to be a girl -- from those on the edge of their teens to those who are way past them but still reeling from the trauma.
Whether they are rich or poor, tall or short, liberal or conservative, most young American women have one thing in common--they want to be thin. And they are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to get that way, even to the point of starving themselves. Why are America's women so preoccupied with weight? What has caused record numbers of young women--even before they reach their teenage years--to suffer from anorexia and bulimia? In Am I Thin Enough Yet?, Sharlene Hesse-Biber answers these questions and more, as she goes beyond traditional psychological explanations of eating disorders to level a powerful indictment against the social, political, and economic pressures women face in a weight-obsessed society.
Packed with first-hand, intimate portraits of young women from a wide variety of backgrounds, and drawing on historical accounts and current material culled from both popular and scholarly sources, Am I Thin Enough Yet? offers a provocative new way of understanding why women feel the way they do about their minds and bodies. Specifically, Hesse-Biber highlights the various ways in which American families, schools, popular culture, and the health and fitness industry all undermine young women's self-confidence as they inculcate the notions that thinness is beauty and that a woman's body is more important than her mind. The author builds her case in part by letting her subjects tell their own story, revealing in their own words how current standards of femininity lead many women to engage in eating habits that are not only self-destructive, but often akin to the obsessions and ritualistic behaviors found among members of cults. For instance, we meet Delia, a bulimic college senior who makes the startling admission that "my final affirmation of myself is how many guys look at me when I go into a bar." We even learn of six-year-olds like Lauren, already preoccupied with her weight, who considers herself "a real clod" in ballet class because she is not as thin as her peers. We are introduced to women (and men) from different cultures who themselves have acquired eating disorders in pursuit of the American standard of physical perfection. And we learn of the often tragic consequences of this obsession with thinness, as in the case of Janet, who underwent surgery to reduce her weight only to suffer from chronic illness and pain as a result. The book concludes with Hesse-Biber's prescriptions on how women can overcome their low self-image through therapy, spiritualism, and grass-root efforts to empower themselves against a society obsessed with beauty and thinness.
Am I Thin Enough Yet? brings into sharp focus the multitude of societal and psychological forces that compel American women to pursue the ideal of thinness at any cost. It will remain a benchmark work on the subject for many years to come.
Am I Thin Enough Yet? goes beyond traditional psychological explanations of eating disorders to level a powerful indictment against the social, political, and economic pressures women face in a weight-obsessed society.
Physical attractiveness is only a distant relative to self-esteem, yet our opinion of ourselves and others may be based on the way we look. Trying to measure up to the impossible standards of the media makes us insecure and can lead to depression and other serious health problems. It can even damage our relationships. Here psychologist Joni E. Johnston shows us how we become self-conscious about our looks from an early age and develop an adversarial relationship with our bodies. This well-researched book offers crucial help to men, women, and teenagers, showing how to develop and maintain positive self-esteem, social esteem, and healthy body image.
Appearance, good looks, and fitness are now the measure of one's social worth, and one cupcake may spell the difference between confidence and despair. The founder of the Eating Disorders Clinic at Yale University examines why we fall into self-defeating, health-damaging obsessions, and how to escape them.
In this ground-breaking study, Margo Maine declares war on a culture that dismisses, devalues, and disempowers women by making them hate their own bodies. This book covers issues from dieting and weight prejudice to concepts of beauty and ageism to sports, fashion advertising, and propaganda. With practical strategies for activists, educators, and parents, this book also contains extensive references and appendices. Body Wars takes its place alongside The Beauty Myth and Reviving Ophelia in recognizing the constant assault women face, but goes further by giving them practical tools with which to fight back.
Newly revised fifth edition! This research-based self-esteem guide in journal format for girls ages 9 - 16 provides age-appropriate information on topics covered in most body image and self-esteem programs including self-concept, stress management, growth and development, media awareness, healthy lifestyle, self-talk, role models and clothing tips to improve body acceptance. Interspersed with thought-provoking journal prompts, inspirational quotes, and journal entries from a caring mentor, this cute, fun journal will empower girls during those vulnerable adolescent years with the knowledge and tools to be healthy, strong, and set a path toward a meaningful and productive life. Can be used in the classroom or by individual girls. Girl tested; teacher, school counselor, and mom approved! "This is a valuable tool for girls of all ages that provides techniques to build lasting self-esteem. This journal encourages healthy creativity and self-reflection and is a great gift for aspiring writers and teens alike!" Jess Weiner, Author and Self-Esteem Expert.
The Ten Rules For Being Human:
1. You will receive a body.
2. You will be presented with lessons.
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons.
4. Lessons are repeated until learned.
5. Learning does not end.
6. "There" is no better than "here."
7. Others are only mirrors of you.
8. What you make of your life is up to you.
9. All the answers lie inside of you.
10. You will forget all of this at birth.
If life is a game, what are the rules?
We all know the feeling: In the game of life, why am I the only one who doesn't know how to play? But now, help is at hand, because this wonderful little book will teach you the rules so that you can conquer life's challenges and manage its unpredictable ups and downs.
For one of her workshops several years ago, Chérie Carter-Scott, a corporate trainer and consultant, composed a list of basic truths about life, which she named "The Ten Rules for Being Human." Right away, the Rules resonated with her clients, who photocopied and passed the list to friends and relatives. Within months, Chérie's Rules were in thousands of homes all over the country, and eventually, they were published in Chicken Soup for the Soul and have also appeared in Ann Landers' column. Although there's no formula to help you win the game of life, Chérie's Rules convey a universal wisdom that, once understood and embraced, can contribute to meaningful relationships with ourselves and others, at work and in the home.
In If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules, Chérie shares that there are no mistakes in life, only lessons that are repeated. In thoughtful, inspirational essays illustrated with encouraging personal anecdotes, she includes the lessons that can be learned from each of the Rules and offers insights on self-esteem, respect, acceptance, forgiveness, ethics, compassion, humility, gratitude, and courage. Best of all, Chérie shows that wisdom lies inside each one of us and that by putting the Ten Rules for Being Human into action we can create a more fulfilling life.
Chicken Soup for the Soul, they instantly became a favorite section of that wildly successful book.
Now Carter-Scott, an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, brings the rules to life by applying them to anecdotes drawn from her own encounters, as well as stories from her family, close friends, and workshop participants. Presented in a personal format, these steps to becoming a satisfied and well-adjusted person are sure to garner an even wider following. -->
Advertising is pervasive. A typical North American child views a staggering 40,000 ads every year on TV alone! With such a vast number of commercials out there, who's helping kids decode the messages? Media maven Shari Graydon, that's who!
Made You Look offers an intriguing exploration of advertising's inner workings. From the earliest roots of advertising to the guerrilla marketers of the 21st century, this revealing book shows kids where ads came from, where they're going, and how they work.
Bursting with behind-the-scenes secrets, thought-provoking Try This at Home activities, and plenty of tips to empower young consumers, Made You Look is any child's ultimate guide to the advertising universe.
A hilarious and empowering book for girls and women who are insecure about their body image.Take it from Kaz Cooke: "There are millions of gorgeous body shapes. Yours is one of them. Dieting doesn't work. Your thighs are pretty cute. Exercise should be fun not duty. Cheap cosmetics can be as good as expensive ones. Advertising lies. Plastic surgery sucks. Modeling can be miserable. You can recover from an eating disorder. You can read magazines and watch television critically. You can fight the Body Police."
At last, here is a book that tells you how to be friends with your body. Real Gorgeous is a big, funny, reassuring read about fashion fibs and diet myths—and the truth about, among other things, push-ups, push-up bras, and the great cellulite scam. It is meticulously researched and sensible, but it avoids impenetrable theory and instead embraces the fun of clothes, makeup, and life in general.
Packed with jokes, Cooke's own cartoons, and practical ways to find real self-esteem and avoid freak-outs and rip-offs, Real Gorgeous is easy to read, relevant, and an indispensable boost for women aged 11 to 111.
A hip, empowering, get-real guide to loving the body you’re in.
For young women today, developing a healthy body image can be a challenge. Yet Katherine Schwarzenegger has done just that. She has been there . . . and back, and has come not only to accept but to love her curvy, powerful, smart, sexy, and happy self. She wants to help other girls do the same—recognize their own beauty, both inside and out.
An estimated 8 million Americans have an eating disorder. Seven million of those are young women, and more and more of them are girls. Girls are increasingly growing dissatisfied with their bodies, trying to change them and fit into some image or mold of perfection that is impossible to achieve.
Where are they getting this from?
The answer is clear: their moms, sisters, friends, frenemies, television, movies, magazines, and every other media outlet imaginable.
When you open a magazine or watch a movie, what kind of girls do you see?
Impossibly perfect girls with immaculate bodies.
Everywhere they look, girls are inundated with carefully airbrushed, highly inaccurate images of the female body. It’s no wonder they feel something’s wrong with them!
In this down-to-earth, reassuring, and fun book, Katherine calls for a new way of seeing what is beautiful. Packed with informative facts, moving personal anecdotes from Katherine’s life, and the voices of other Rock What You’ve Got women, her book celebrates the female form, whatever the size, and inspires girls to ROCK WHAT YOU’VE GOT!
As exciting to look at as it is to read, The Looks Book is guaranteed to be a must-have book for teens and young women. A fascinating exploration of the history, culture, science, and business of beauty, this is the first book to empower women to simply have fun with their looks. Throughout the book, real-life examples of a stunning range of beauty archetypes help young women to re-define their concepts of beauty, while emphasizing self-expression, self-invention, and a healthy irreverence toward traditional ideals.
Girls today are in crisis--and this book shows why. Drawing on a vast array of lively historical sources, unpublished diaries by adolescent girls, and photographs that conjure up memories of the past, The Body Project chronicles how growing up in a female body has changed over the past century and why that experience is more difficult today than ever before.
Girls' bodies have certainly changed--they mature much earlier--but at the same time traditional social supports for girls' growth and development have collapsed. The media and popular culture exploit girls' normal sensitivity to their changing bodies, and many girls grow up believing that "good looks" --rather than "good works"--represent the highest form of female perfection. With an eye for the humor in as well as the pain of female adolescence, Joan Jacobs Brumberg shows how American girls came to define themselves increasingly through their appearance, so that today the body has become their primary project.
With remarkable insight, Brumberg provides an account of what adolescent girls gained and lost as American women shed the corset and the ideal of virginity for a new world of dieting, sexual freedom, and consumerism. She explains how doctors and parents helped to promote an ideal of physical perfection that underlies the current preoccupation with the body and contributes to many of the social and emotional problems identified by Mary Pipher in Reviving Ophelia and by Carol Gilligan in In a Different Voice.
The Body Project describes the historical roots of the acute societal and psychological pressures that girls feel today, evoking important memories of girl culture as well as milestones of physical and emotional development, such as first periods, pimples, training bras, first dates, and sexual awakening. A vivid photo essay and excerpts from intimate diaries underscore how girls' attitudes toward their bodies and sexuality have changed in the last century. The Body Project is a superb book, gracefully written, filled with understanding, and very relevant to the lives of girls and women today.
Drawing on a vast array of lively historical sources, unpublished diaries by adolescent girls, and photographs that conjure up memories of the past, The Body Project chronicles how growing up in a female body has changed over the past century and why that experience is more difficult today than ever before.
This smart, savvy book helps teen girls get respect and hold on to is no matter what—at home, at school, with their friends, and in the world. Tips, activities, writing exercises, and quotes from teens keep readers involved. This “big sister” style inspires trust. Girls learn respect is connected to everything, every girl deserves respect, and respect is always within reach because it starts on the inside. This book is your guide to getting respect and keeping it.
Let us know if you have more ideas for this list! (Please, no requests for sites promoting weight loss or cosmetic procedures, requests for advertising or cross-linking unless the site specifically relates to body image, self-identity, media criticism, or similar topics that fit our mission.)