Saturday, November 29, 2008

I <3 Girls Studies

As a Women’s Studies major, and as a feminist, most of my time and energy is spent trying to improve the lives of women. Girls Studies was different for me because instead of fighting for all women, we got to focus on girls. It was an interesting and exciting for me, mostly because many of my family members who I am close to are young girls. It is hard to see them struggle in the world today. They are taught to be “good,” but still attractive to boys. They are taught to buy buy buy! They are taught to be straight, white, and quiet. A lot of time I wish I could offer them feminism as a solution to some of their problems. This class helped me to identify the resources I could use to give feminism to the younger women in my life. As a die-hard Spice Girls fan (theirs was the first concert I ever went to) it was hard for me to deny that “Girl Power” was a real source of strength. But this class has given me other sources of strength for young girls, like New Moon magazine and websites like Although Mary Pipher’s Reviving Ophelia had it wrong to assume that all girls are helpless and drowning, she made a good point when she said, “What can we do to help them? We can strengthen girls so that they will be ready. We can encourage emotional toughness and self-protection. We can support and guide them. But most important, we can change our culture.” I think that learning about the unique challenges girls face in classes such as this, we can counteract these certain problems with certain solutions. This class was a place to identify problems in our society that affect young girls and brainstorm solutions for these problems. After studying the hardships that girls face in our culture, it makes me believe in programs like YWLP even more. I really and truly believe that programs like this one can make girls strong. With a focus on competence, connection, and autonomy, girls in the program are taught that they can be strong, smart, and independent, but that they can rely on other women in their lives. Teaching these kinds of values and ways of thinking to girls is a great way to instill feminist values in a new generation of women. I am so proud that I attend UCF because of classes like this one and programs such as YWLP!!

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