Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Once Was a Girl!

My name is Jo-Anne and I am graduating at the end of this semester! I love going to school, and wish I would have done it when I was younger. I hope I can inspire other women who think they are too old to go back to school. I am 50. I am in this class because I am taking my minor in Women’s Studies. I think that learning about girls instead of women will help me to better understand some of my younger clients. I sometimes forget what it is like to be that young and how your view of the world is so different at the age I am now. This class will help me remember, and also see the way things have changed with girls today and the issues they have to deal with that I never did.

I started relating to Anna’s story and immediately going back to my own time at that age. I remember being good in sports, but not getting any encouragement to continue. I remember reading the romance novels and as Sittenfeld wrote “you start to think you were born at the wrong time.” I think she got it right. All the insecurities of that age, even over little things like shaving your legs and thinking that will make you somehow popular with the boys!

It seems in a lot of the stories these girls are having a hard time expressing their authentic selves. In the story Mini Mountain you can feel how insecure Kirsten is except when she is rock climbing. It is almost like she becomes another person and she even goes by the name Mini instead of her given name. Kirsten writes that when she is Mini, she always voices her opinions and is loud and popular, compared to the quiet Kirsten that she is outside of the gym.

Jaclyn Humphrey in the story Pediatrics wants to be a doctor for as long as she can remember. After her mother was in the hospital, as well as some of their friends, it reinforced her desire to become one, so that she never again had to “sit helplessly in a hospital.” This was a way for her to deal with her insecurities. Most of the stories in these reading show a little bit about how the girls deal with not being secure enough to make their own decisions and how that can make them feel more insecure in their world. Peer pressure causes Anna not to tell on the boy who “felt her up” and Anna Saxon in The Management had a boss who was abusive, but she just took it as a lesson “about the type of person that I never want to be.”

It really hit me that these girls all recognized the bad behavior that was going on, but did not have the skills or self esteem to stop it. Most of the stories had some description of behaviors that the girls recognized and did not want for themselves. Lucy from the story The Hamptons recognizes that her grandmother had them over for dinner because she didn’t want to be alone, and Lindsay in Alone realizes that she has learned how “to act” around people to get along, even though she prefers to be alone. She even goes so far as to lie to her boyfriend so she doesn’t have to spend time with his relatives, instead of being able to be her authentic self.


Merritt Johnson said...

I really enjoyed your blog, as I related to it. I remember doing all those things when I was younger. t's funny now, because my little sister is 13 and I see her and her friends going through changes.

rinaresca said...

I believe you will bring a great perspective to this class. Your re-caps of the Red stories really convey the complacency that many girls struggle with in their coming-of-age and how they learn and grow from static received from external and internal forces. Due to regular degradation, too often girls just have to deal with negativity and uncontrollable forces and often do not possess the necessary confidence and self-worth to stand up for themselves. These societal defects take a toll on our young women and consequentially, our country.