Sunday, September 6, 2009

Girls, Girls, Girls

If there is one thing I have learned from the readings it is that there is no concrete definition of Girls Studies. “Girls Studies” is as diverse as the girls we are studying. Life experiences, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status—Girls Studies encompasses the ALL differences between girls as well as their similarities. The most important issue running within the pieces we read is the importance of identity for girls. There is a lot of stress put on the fact that girls are searching for their own identities as well as searching for others to identify with. This search is influenced by many different mediums as well as pre-established stereotypes of the ways a girl should think, act, and feel. One of the most important issues in girls studies is that not all girls are represented. While reading “Queer Girls” I was disappointed to read that even in academia many girls are left out of the academic discourse, specifically queer girls, and one that really hit home for me, disabled girls. My first year of college my roommate had Cerebral Palsy and I learned a lot about what it was like for her as a girl, and how it affected her in womanhood as well. If there is one thing that is really stressed, it’s the inclusion and embracing of all girls and their lifestyles.

One of the topics the author of “Queer Girls” briefly touched on in our reading is the influence of popular magazines and songs on the lives of girls. This is one part of our media-driven culture that I am constantly wishing would change and is definitely a reason why we need Girls Studies. All it takes is standing in line at the grocery store reading the headlines for stories to get me fired up. Magazines like Cosmo are supposed to be “for women,” but all they mostly do is teach women how to change themselves for men. So from a young age, girls think that they should be growing up to please guys, or change themselves to be more like a magazine tells them they should be. Most importantly, these magazines hardly ever include a dialogue concerning queer girls. If Cosmo is the “bible” for women, shouldn’t it include all types? I can only imagine what it feels like for a queer girl to search for her identity in a world saturated with heterogeneity.

I think Girls Studies is so important. As women, we should educate ourselves about these issues so that we can help our daughters, nieces, sisters, friends, mentees, whoever! I have a little cousin who is turning seven this year. She is so cute and self-assured right now, but soon she’ll be undergoing many of the situations we’ve talked/read about. Thinking of her going through the story we read last week of “Your Life as a Girl” is just one reason why we NEED Girls Studies. I’m sure everyone knows a little girl in their life who is going to need that positive influence throughout her adolescence. I’m sure that everyone in this class has realized how important Girls Studies is, and I can’t wait to see what great things we do with our new knowledge and our service learning!

1 comment:

Misty Black Coltune said...

The disabled comment hit home for me too. While I was not disabled as a girl, I have health problems now (no where severe as cerebral palsy) and it has made me wonder how would I have been treated if I had my challenges then? I cannot even imagine what challenges your roommate faced and how being female affected her life. I cannot even begin to ponder how it must have affected her womanhood.
I also agree about the magazines. "How to please your man in bed," or "Secrets that will drive him wild," or "Why Men Cheat" are one's that I recall.
Reading this makes me think back to my friends that were gay and how it never occured to me how they might have been affected by magazines and pop culture.