Media literacy for teen girls* is essential to their growth. About-Face arms girls with the knowledge and tools they need to fight back against a culture that diminishes and disempowers them.

An audience of teen girls listen to a speaker. Some are wearing matching t-shirts. The image has a bright orange overlay.

Toxic Media: We’re Coming For You!

About-Face frees girls from the confines of a toxic culture so they can fulfill their potential.

From unrealistic beauty ideals to narrow stereotypes, girls receive dangerous and limiting messages from social media, TV, movies, and real-life events every day.

Learning how to deconstruct those messages and fight back to create change helps girls see and achieve their full potential.

A teen girl with light skin and dark hair lays on her side while looking at phone screen. The screen illuminates her face in a dark room.

Girls Need Us More Than Ever

Girls’ depressive symptoms increased by 50 percent from 2012 to 2015.

  • Three times as many 12-to- 14-year-old girls committed suicide in 2015 as in 2007.
  • Girls are more prone to overusing social media (and they use it at higher rates than boys).
  • Girls are bullied 22 percent more often than boys are — much of which happens via text message and social media.**

**Source: iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood — and What What That Means for the Rest of Us, by Jean M. Twenge, Simon & Schuster, 2017.

Our Strategy for Change

About-Face arms girls with the knowledge and tools they need to fight back against a culture that diminishes and disempowers them.

Our programs for teen girls range from our Education Into Action in-school programs to a weekend boot camp, and our online resources for teens here on the site. We also support their adult advocates — parents, teachers, mentors, relatives, and group leaders — through adult-centered workshops as well as curriculum development and support.


Teaching girls to think critically so they understand how mainstream culture affects their self-worth.


Equipping teen girls with tools they need to question media messages every day.


Inspiring girls to take action against harmful cultural messages.


By choosing issues that matter most to them, girls commit and reinforce the skills they learn.


Becoming activists and leaders who change the world around them.


Igniting inner, personal change that lasts a lifetime.

Ideas That Guide Our Work

In the past 10+ years working with girls in their classrooms, after school, and online, girls themselves have taught us that:

  • Systemic oppressions of girls intersect along lines of race and ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, gender expression, body image and body oppression, and physical ability.
  • It’s not just media. Our culture is awash in a misogyny so ingrained as to be almost invisible. Misogyny in the girls’ schools, their families, their friend groups, and in the statements and behavior of celebrities or public figures.
  • Let girls lead. When girls take the lead, confidence follows. And confidence is one of the greatest barriers to the damaging effects of our toxic culture.
  • Fun. Every aspect of our work needs to include fun and humor. It’s the best way to learn.
A teen girl with light skin and long dark hair is holding a large black camera. She is looking through the viewfinder with her hand on the shutter button. The image is overlaid by a bright orange filter.
A group of racially diverse teen girls are standing in a group. They appear to be listening to something in front of them and smiling and laughing.

Who We Serve

  • Girls* ages 13-18
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • United States
  • All backgrounds, ethnicities/races, income levels

Boys/young men are included in our point-of-entry Education Into Action Workshops in their classrooms or other spaces.

* A note on the word “girls”: We define this word broadly. When we use this term, we mean “girls and those who identify as girls or who are non-binary”. We fully recognize and welcome trans* girls and teenagers who identify as girls or young women, or who are gender non-binary, gender fluid, or agender. We always treat all participants with respect and understanding, and will never exclude participants on the basis of their gender identity.

Our Impact

About-Face has reached over 7,700 youth with our workshops, serving more than 1,000 youth locally in the last two years alone. We also reached more than 340,000 more via our web site and social media, giving them the tools they need to understand and fight back against our toxic culture.

The results of these programs have been truly awesome. With the support of our PhD-level evaluator using rigorous statistical methods to analyze the results, we have demonstrated a positive impact on:

  • mental health
  • leadership skills
  • self-efficacy
A group of teen girls stand in front of a building with large white columns. They are holding up signs  and smiling at the photographer. The most visible signs say, "Make-up Free Day" and "Show Your Natural Beauty." The photo is dated 2012/11/19 in the bottom righthand corner.
A teen girl with light skin and long dark hair is turning to the side and smiling at the photographer. She is wearing glasses, a scarf, and a plaid jacket. In the background, a woman is holding a sign. The image is overlaid with a bright pink filter.

How We Are Funded

People often wonder how About-Face has been able to make our impact year after year. Here’s where our funds come from:

  • Individual donors who ideally provide multi-year organizational support (48%)
  • Fees for our programs from sources/organizations that can afford it (18%)
  • Curriculum sales to teachers and schools (4%)
  • Foundation grants (25%)
  • Other funding such as corporate donation matching, sponsorships, and tickets to our events (5%)

The Role Of Adults

About-Face supports adult advocates in supporting their girls. We define adult advocates as any adult who supports girls’ mental health, leadership skill-building, and self-confidence/sense of agency — whether it be a parent, teacher, guardian, relative, mentor, or other community member. That’s why About-Face offers parent talks, teacher training, and online resources undergirding all the skill-building we do for girls.

Two women are bending over a table and pointing at materials on the table. One woman has short dark hair with a pink streak in it and is wearing a pink top and sunglasses. The other woman has light skin and long dark hair. She is wearing a red dress and is holding a black jacket.