LEWISTON – Mayor Lionel C. Guay Jr. signed a proclamation on May 13 declaring the month as “Turn Beauty Inside Out Month” in the city. Turn Beauty Inside Out, Maine is a grassroots celebration of a new cultural definition of beauty as “good hearts, great works, and activism.” Turn Beauty Inside Out 2004 was celebrated across the nation.

The proclamation states that “within society today, girls are bombarded with messages that they need to be prettier and thinnner to be accepted. This creates a toxic environment for an adolescent girl’s self-esteem and body image.

“Turn Beauty Inside Out helps girls and women think about what it means to be all they can be in today’s world by redefineing true beauty as that of good hearts, great works and activitism”; and that “the ultimate goal for girls, as well as boys, is to encourage them to feel better about themselves and to develop confidence in their skills, so that they may be more content and successful in their adult roles.”

In his proclamation Guay declared, “In many aspects, the media offers girls strong positive role models when women are shown as dependent upon themselves to achieve their own goals.”

He said, “I encourage all families, schools and communities to conduct activities to promote awareness and appreciation of the new cultural definition of beauty in Maine: True Beauty is Good Hearts, Great Works and Activitism.”

Gov. John Baldacci has also declared May as Turn Beauty Inside Out, Maine Month.

The campaign began as a project of New Moon Magazine in 1999 when the magazine’s girl’s editorial board decided to challenge People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” issue. It’s own special issue, “25 Beautiful Girls” in May 2000 declared, “We’ll Show You Real Beauty.”

A steering committee organized in Maine in 2002 to explore ways to introduce the project at the state level and locally. Turn Beauty Inside Out, Maine is about education, activism and social change.

Begun as an initiative through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Gender Project, the vision is to collaborate with organizations and individuals around the state to create environments and a healthier culture that appreciates girls for all of who they are.

With sponsorship from the Maine Women’s Fund, the Maine Community Foundation and the Maine Women’s Health Campaign, Turn Beauty Inside Out, Maine has compiled educational curricula in the areas of media literacy, body image, leadership and empowerment for girls and women. The program has developed strategies and opportunities for individual and collective action.

To learn more, call 353-5550 or 1-800-287-1458, or go to www.umaine.edu/umext/genderproject/04tbioactivities.htm.

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