Girls are bombarded with sexualized images of women, many in advertisements that sell everything from lingerie to floor wax on television, in magazines and on the Internet.

As a result, girls can get conflicting messages about what to wear, what to eat and what they have of value to offer the world. All those images — as many as 5,000 a day — can lead to confusion and destructive behavior, such as self-cutting, eating disorders, drug use and promiscuity.

But a Maine-based girl-empowerment group says the problem isn’t the girls, it’s the images, and what girls need is some help navigating their way through the flood.

Hardy Girls Healthy Women is celebrating its 10th anniversary with its 2nd annual “Girls Rock!” weekend at several Maine venues. Tonight, there will be the Girls Rock! awards, honoring five girls and one adult, at the Holocaust Human Rights Center in Augusta.

On Saturday, there will be a presentation of “That Takes Ovaries!” a play that honors real-life women and girls who perform courageous acts, at the North Star Caf?in Portland.

On Sunday, the weekend will close with a poetry reading and open mic concert at Jorgensen’s Caf?n Waterville.

Hardy Girls Healthy Women encourages girls to take control of their lives and to fight back against exploitative messages that limit their horizons.

As girls make their way into adulthood, they need support from their families and friends to help them separate the truth from fantasy.

With monitoring and advocacy, Hardy Girls Healthy Women also plays an important role in easing the way for girls who are making this increasingly confusing passage.


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