miércoles, febrero 08, 2006

In the Box? Out of the Box?

I'm about to start volunteering for a program at Girls, Inc. (Inspiring all girls to be Strong, Smart, and Bold!) This organization is just SO FABULOUS. I am thrilled. In our volunteer training we had a lesson on "language" where we classified comments to girls based on whether the comments "keep them in the box" and empower them out of the box. (Now, mind you, I've been a professor of women's studies, but this was still such a great exercise!)

"Your dress is so pretty and it matches your shoes"

(In the Box. Although it's perfectly okay for me to write in my diary afterward,Dear Diary: Marisol is so cute! Today her dress matched her shoes!)

"Use your smart brain to figure it out"
(Out of the Box. Lots of "smart brain" talk. Girls need to be told they have smart brains)

"You're being so good and quiet."

(In the Box. Where no one can hear you scream.)

"I like it that you used your strong voice"

(OUT. You are strong. You are powerful. You are loud.)

Be careful.

(IN. Stay where you can be protected. Don't take any risks. Conform.)

Try it! I bet you can do it!

(OUT. Stretch beyond your comfort zone. It's not about being the best, it's about growing.)

You're a fast runner!

(OUT. Nobody's gonna catch you and stuff you in a box!)

See what I mean? try it for a little while. The kinds of praise girls are given. The kind of behaviors we find appropriate for girls. I gave a whole lecture on this last year, and yet it's suddenly all fresh and new. Do you think that's because it's not an idea, but actual girls?

3 comentarios:

brownfemipower dijo...

This is such a great post, I hope you post more stuff about what you're doing!!! I struggle with this every day...everybody LOVES my son's crazy loud persona, but people get irritated by my daughter's equally crazy and loud persona. We got told that BabyBrownfemi needed to realize that she's not the boss of everybody. This is a DAILY issue. My daughter is insistant that NOBODY is going to be the boss of her, but rather than encouraging her fiercness and independence, her school is constantly trying to bring her in and control her. And it's *strictly* gender here, because as I said, my son is one of the most popular children of the teachers...they just love how *cute* he is when he tells them to f off. ;-)
seriously tho, the world is clearly not ready for fierce little girls. I am so glad that you are working on this!

LadyK dijo...

You are so frikin' FIERCE Ktrion! I wish I could have been part of a program like this when I was younger. It most definately does make a difference when you are told you are smart as opposed to being told everyday of your childhood that you are a woman and therefore sub-human. Yes, it is most important that young girls be told they have good brains, and we have to keep encouraging them to use em'. I agree with brownfemipower--keep us posted!!! Do you know if they have other chapters? I'd love to get involved with something like that.

Ktrion dijo...

Hey BFP, sounds like you're a good mama if both your hijo and hija are raising hell. Let's get BBFP a "smart strong bold" t-shirt!

Hey, LadyK

Girl's Inc is a national group--back in the day they were "Girls Clubs [of America?]" but changed their name in the 90's. they're anti-homofobia. Here's your local hook-up: Girls Inc. in Ohio