Friday, August 28, 2009

I said "Hey! What's Goin' On?"

My Life as a Girl / Your Life as a Girl

Mini autobiography:

Hello friends! My name is Misty and I’m a Senior here at UCF. My major is Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Physical Sciences and Humanities, as well as Minors in Theatre and Women’s Studies. I sing in the a cappella club, I’m an honors student, and I love to act in films. I’m taking this class because I’m very passionate about Women’s Studies, and also because I have a 15 year old sister and I want to be able to relate to what she is going through. I’m so excited for this class and look forward to working with all of you J

Sittenfeld, Your Life as a Girl:

I feel that Sittenfeld did capture girlhood effectively. To start, her style of writing was hectic and fast-paced, much like my own hectic and fast-paced experience of growing up as an adolescent and into my teens. The cruelty shown by her male classmates with the use of female-specific vocabulary was an accurate portrayal of how, once differences have begun to be discovered between boys and girls in middle and high school, a new discourse is created to further stereotypes and derogatory, sexist language. Middle school was the first time I encountered such discourse toward/dealing with young women.

The desire Anna has about wanting attention from her male classmates and the delicate balance she has yet to find between gaining that attention and “overstepping her boundaries” is something I believe many girls go through. What struck me most profoundly was the transition of Anna’s thoughts from a younger, more carefree 5th grader, to a nervous, insecure teenager who envies boys and is so affected by what they think of her. Sittenfeld’s story may not relate to every girl and their experience through girlhood simply because every girl is different, not every girl went to boarding school, not every girl was into sports, etc. However, she effectively captured the essence of the general insecurities and feelings of confusion that are so prominent in girlhood.

The stories written by the girls in RED were fantastic. The intuitive first person narratives were easy to read and made the stories personal and emotive. Sittenfeld’s story was much more intense, and covered a longer time period, than any of the stories in RED. Both Sittenfeld and the girls had the same curious feel in their stories, with questions left unanswered, but the stories in RED felt more real- probably because they were. Also, the stories in RED were much more uplifting: Mini finds her confidence on the rock climbing wall, Jaclyn discovers that her purpose in life is to be a doctor and is hopeful even after her mother is attacked, whereas Anna in Sittenfeld’s story takes more of a passive approach to her problems.

The girls who did not get as much out of their experience as they initially expected, like Samantha who did not win the Scripps National Spelling Bee, or Kelly who did not get enough time with her horse before it passed, still find positive things to take away from their journeys. I particularly liked the stories written by Lindsay about being alone, and Erika who spent two summers in China, because they internalize their experiences until they are rich with meaning. These stories remind me that teenage girls are bright and observant, emotionally in-tune with themselves and aware of the world around them. They already have so much of the essence of the person they are going to be, and it is refreshing to read such honest prose.


Misty Black Coltune said...

Well, my name is Misty also! I love all the things you described in you biography summary. Are you born August 10th, too? Haha...
I agree that Sittenfeld's story does not apply to every girl but is very fitting for the changes girls can go through in societal terms. Also, WHO gives the negative feedback is is important to me because often it isn't the same-aged boys--it's girls, adults and other peers.

Misty said...

Misty! What's up, girl? So nice to meet another one :) My birthday is November 24th, sorry :) Thanks for responding to my post, it's nice to know when people read your thoughts. Good luck in the class, nice to meet you!!

Misty Black Coltune said...

Ditto to all :)