Thursday, September 3, 2009

Breaking the mold

When I came into Girls Studies, I had a pretty good idea of what it would be like. I basically envisioned feminism that had been redirected to apply to younger women. From what I’ve read so far, that would be correct. Some issues are different, of course. The experiences of young people are vastly different than those of us who are older. Of course, these experiences change frequently as well. My mother didn’t have the internet to deal with, and I only had the Myspace/Facebook issue when I entered college. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with all of the online drama in addition to my life. I was definitely online all the time on message boards and the like, but it was another part of my life, not another level.

The use of the internet seems to be a critical component of Girls Studies at the moment. Such terms as cybergURLs kept popping up in the Queer Girls and Popular Culture text. According to the author, it was through the internet that much of her research was conducted. Even our class in held on a blog. I am interested in this recurring theme. A lot of the terms used are terms I was not previously familiar with. “B girl” was a new one for me. Apparently, it is short for “break girl.” I see I have a lot to learn about girls and girl culture.

I like how Susan Driver listed out many of the responses to the gender identification question. Many of the girls chose not to say they were masculine or feminine, but instead said “Andro” or, my personal favorite, “Homoflexible”. I think that these responses show another key issue that all girls, regardless of gender face. There is a preset standard of feminine, and it is shoved down girls throats every day. Many girls conform to this because they feel they have to. Still, others choose not to conform at all. This limited notion of femininity limits all girls. This, in my opinion, is the one of the main reasons we need girls studies.

The most important reason for me is that it is the experiences young girls have that shape them into the women they will become. In the online reading, some past Girls Studies issues dealt with differences in schooling and how teachers responded to boys and girls differently. While many people would never tell a girl that they can’t be an engineer, girls are steered away from such pursuits in favor of more feminine career pursuits. The media and our culture plays a huge role in how young women see themselves and just how and what they are capable of. The media is a huge socializer in our culture. It is in our teen years that we begin to discover who we are, and many of us are driven not by our hearts, but by what others have predetermined for us. The ability to break this mold is true “grrrl power!”


Jen said...

"When I came into Girls Studies, I had a pretty good idea of what it would be like. I basically envisioned feminism that had been redirected to apply to younger women."

I can't say that I thought that this is what girls' studies would be like when I was coming in but, yes, this seems to be a part of the field of girls' studies. Driver, however, points out that this might be problematic when it comes to discussions with girls about their lives. Feminist researchers are sometimes searching for clear-cut answers and information that fit within their own concepts of girlhood. While feminist concepts can be a source of strength and community for girls it's fitting that that the individual girl experience receive sufficient attention outside the larger feminist agenda.

Jo-Anne said...

I am with you about all the internet use that the younger generation uses. No one even knew what a computer was when I was in school, so that was one thing us baby boomers didn't have to dael with. I can only inagine what it must be like to have things posted on the internet about you that are untrue and hurtful.As a teenager you are most influenced by what your peers think of you, and if someone says you are fat or ugly, it is probably taken to heart.I am glad I am learning about blogging and posting so that when I work with this population I will know what they are talking about!

Ani Reina said...

I was talking to some people I work with about how difficult it is now to be young. Especially with cell phones and texting. If news spread fast during the early days of AIM I can only imagine what it must be like for girls now. This is definitly a way that society and the threat of being "uncool" keeps girls in a box. :(