Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Talking to Girls

It's what she's saying that's important.
I've written here before about the responsibility each of us has to take one step to push back against society's portrayal of women and girls.  Today, I read this Huffington Post book review, How to Talk to Girls, by Lisa Bloom.  Admittedly, it's like two weeks old, but I thought it was worth sharing because I think it's a particularly important topic.  Also, talking to girls and young women in way that promotes a healthy identity and builds a connection with them has been very much on my mind lately as I transition to teacher-hood.  Here's an excerpt:

This week ABC News reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that 15 to 18 percent of girls under 12 now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and 25 percent of young American women would rather win America's Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they'd rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.
Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What's missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.
Just something to think about the next time you meet a little girl.  Resist the overwhelming urge to validate her by complimenting her beautiful/cute/gorgeous she is, and say something about who she is.  It probably won't change the world, but it's a step in the right direction.
xo kate

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post Kate! I always compliment kids, regardless of gender, on who they are and what they are great at. What they contribute. Physical attributes are superficial and fleeting. Nothing to tie one's worth or self esteem to. Character is everything. I will have to pick up this book!