Friday, August 28, 2009

Life as a girl

Calling all feminists! What I’ve learned so far in my college career is that anyone in the world of academia possessing significant intelligence recognizes feminism as a progressive and necessary belief/study because of feminism’s insightful and accurate examination of the human condition. Therefore, examining girl’s lives is indispensable to a sound feminist education.

That said, my name is Marina and this is my final year as an undergraduate at UCF. Communications is my major and a passion. I also enjoy surrounding myself with encouraging and laid-back males and strong-willed and accepting women, being near, in, or around the ocean, and learning about different ways of living; which I am hoping to be exposed to in this class, especially stories and recollections of girlhood!

Sittenfield’s intense and abrupt description of the female experience is wholly her own but seems to resonate with sincere anxieties that are unfortunately familiar to the vast majority of girls. She reveals the desperation and vulnerability plaguing most girls’ lives that makes them oversensitive victims to incidents or comments usually so immature they are best ignored. Though during this integral time of self-discovery, proves a near impossible task for young women; it is usually the small memories, embarrassments, and insults that construct our behavior and hang ups. Such as Anna’s friend’s boyfriend calling her a bitch over the phone because she wants her friend’s attention. I know the awkward tween inside me can relate to trying to make oneself nonexistent, “or at the edges, where you’re least likely to be accountable” (4).

In my humble opinion, growing up girl is one of the most unsettling and uncomfortable feats endured and our culture does a great job at working to break our spirit’s and invade our thoughts as early as possible. I have a job as a server, and the other day at work I had an 11-year-old girl come in and not want to order French fries because of the size of her thighs. So I did what any self-respecting active feminist would do and told that girl to stop thinking like that right away! I feel very passionate about the negative effects of media on our youth, especially the disgusting tactics advertisers stoop to in order to raise sales. One of the most evident and telling aspects of our country can be observed to the extreme on the Disney Channel. If you think we are leaning away from capitalism, turn it on and see how divisive and brain-washing the television our children are watching.

The short stories written by teenage girls in Red are a great peak into the minds of other girls and how they each grow and learn from their big and small experiences, especially Erika’s life lessons in China:

“I learned that the most sweet-faced, sweet-voiced, seemingly most sweet person you could ever hope to meet can be a totally different person around boys”

“I learned that everyone loves a girl who never gets upset but that very, very, very few members of the human population possess this genetic make-up” (185).

It would be very interesting for these two statements to be basis for discussion regarding girls, women, how they relate to boys/men and society’s role in all of it.

Looking forward to a great semester with all of you!


Jo-Anne said...

You are so right! No matter how different we all are, it seems that the feelings we have and insecuities are all the same. We worry about not being good enough. Living in a patriarchal society tends to do that to a girl!But the good news is that with education and the right role models, we can begin changing the culture, one girl at a time. Next time a girl wants to eat french fries,have some with her LOL!

Leila said...

I really enjoyed your post and the quotes you pulled from the Red readings. It is tragic how preoccupied with weight perfectly healthy girls are. My ten-year-old niece's best friend constantly counts calories. I was shocked by this. I didn't even know what a calorie was at that age--thankfully. But over time, I learned to think about these things and self-loathe in front of mirrors and insist my thighs could be a little smaller... If we spent as much energy loving ourselves instead of loathing ourselves, we would send powerful messages to girls--maybe even more powerful than the industry that relies on our thinking we are not good enough. Great start; looking forward to the semester!!