Sunday, September 7, 2008

Genesis

I think Girls' Studies is accurately summed up by the quote found on page 15 of All About the Girl:

The joining of women and girls lies at the heart of our research. This joining symbolizes and encouranges our belief that the future experiences of women need not be bound to the past, in a process
of endless repetition, and that psychological understanding can contribute to change.


I find it almost alarming that Girls Studies is so new. I feel like we're pretty progressive to be able to say that we've been able to study this.

In any case, I think that Girls' Studies is especially important to Women's Studies and feminism in general. We all know how much of what we do and who we are is based on our experiences during adolescence, which is definitely a very significant point in our lives.

I thought Fine's foreword in All About the Girl was pretty clever in the way that she kept talking about women's bathrooms. I kind of laughed until I realized that bathrooms are one of the few places that are women only and not negative: "In today's new gender regime, you must qualify with a badge of (dis)honor to enter a space explicitly for girls and women: battered, teen and pregnant, or anorexic." How is that other than bathrooms, the main women-centered spaces we have are for those recovering from something? Hopefully programs like YWLP will change this. (Sidenote: My friend and I are considering forming a consciousness-raising group. Anyone interested?)

To be honest, I'm a little nervous about what we will study and discuss. For the most part, I hated being kid. I didn't like elementary school, I hated middle school, and I loathed high school. I was the kind of kid that always wanted to be an adult, and I realize now that I am, I am much happier. I haven't really been able to pinpoint the reason why, but I think it has something to do with the lack of freedom that kids experience. I know that I always felt suffocated until I came to college and could finally make my own choices. I have blocked out any sort of negative memories I've had from adolescence and I realize that by taking this class, I'm forcing myself to confront the memories and the issues that I've put aside. But it will be worth it, because by December when this class is over, I'll have a better understanding of myself and where I came from, a deeper connection to girlhood, and a better understanding of feminism. All in all, I think this class will make me a more enlightened individual.

Moreover, I hope we will be able to reclaim Girl Power and focus on "fixing the culture, and not the girl" (All About the Girl, 23).

By the way, there is no wikipedia entry for "Girls Studies." I think we should collaborate on one. :)

- Bianca

4 comments:

carly mac said...

I also thought that the bathroom analogy was extremely true. It reminded me of when I used to go to bars my freshmen year. My girlfriends and I noticed that in the bar, all the girls were competing to be the sexiest. You were not friends with other girls in the bar, you were enemies. You gossip about what the other girls are wearing and shoving them out of the way to get to the bartender. But then, miraculously, when you enter the girls bathroom, all of you are friends. You are complimenting eachother's hair or shoes and helping clean up a strangers puke. It really is quite phenomenal, and I too hope that we can overcome this type of girl vs. girl competition and find more spaces where we are safe and supportive of eachother.

Andrea said...

The bathroom thing is completely true and hilarious, and I definitely agree on coming up with a definition for Girls Studies! ;)

j.leigh said...

Bianca,

I love love love the idea of joining a consciousness raising group! Please keep us updated on it, so that public bathrooms are not one of the few places we can still safely meet :)

Leila said...

I love both ideas (CR group and wikipedia definition). Women's bathrooms can be awesome spaces of bonding through girl/womanhood. But yes, we should have more hygenic spaces to gather as well. Haha.