Friday, September 4, 2009

Just Be!

Girls Studies is about how outside influences affect girls, and the over all issues that occur in transition to becoming a women. In regards to outside influences, it could be anything from school, popular culture, and relationships. I think a better idea than “becoming a women” would be discovering a sense of self. There are so many factors that can influence young girls, and there become even more as time goes on. The effects of these factors have showed links and patterns in a girl’s development. Girls Studies in an in-depth look into researching what causes girls to form certain ideas that include what it means to be a female.

There are many issues involved in Girls Studies. One of the links I found between both texts were the way the media portrays the appropriate definition for a “girl”, and the affect that ideal image has on girls. My problem with this is the need for definition. Why must we force young women to define themselves? No one says it’s ok to be just you. One of the other major issues was the lack of research that has been geared towards girls specifically. For many years the majority of scientific research has been focused on women. Why girls studies? I think Benjamin and Ward hit the nail on the head when they linked the “connections between girl’s development and women’s psychological and professional lives.” Your “womanhood” is directly affected by your “girlhood”. If we can better understand ourselves as girls then we will be better equipped to understand ourselves as women.

Queer girls and none queer girls face the same issues in self-definition. Driver used the word “normalize” a lot. I think all girls seek to normalize themselves by society’s standards. Driver implied that queer girls do not fit “the mold”, and I think that is something that all girls feel. I especially enjoyed the definition one girl gave herself in response to Driver’s research: “neutral”. Why must one be one way or the other? Why can’t we as females just be? Pop culture has glamorized real culture. So even though there are queer women in pop culture, just as there are none queer women, there is a lack of adequate models for each. When any girl is growing up she will often look to pop culture for roles models, and there just aren’t enough to satisfy any girl’s needs.

Pop culture is so prevalent in a girl’s life. It is everywhere and unavoidable. Girls Studies must exist to counteract the bewitching effect of pop culture. It keeps girls from expressing their true feelings. I completely agreed with Benjamin and Ward when they quoted Brown and Gilligan by writing, “How can we help girls learn to deal with disagreement in public… when we cannot deal with disagreement in public ourselves?” I believe the media teaches girls to feel shame when they have any feelings or ideas outside the public norm. As Benjamin and Ward described, it makes it “harder for girls even to identify, much less express their true feelings and opinions.” The media has become a very dangerous tool and has manifested incredible pressures for girls. Girls Studies needs to exist to help show girls that the real truth lies within.


mk morley said...

Your third paragraph really resonated with me- if I had read it before I posted my blog, it probably would have influenced mine a bit. The "normalize" problem was something I was trying to grasp. Girls so often strive so hard to be just "normal," when usually the girls they want to be like are facing the same thing! It's a sick cycle, one that I can remember pretty clearly from my own girlhood and something I still deal with occasionally, even as an adult (technically).

Michael said...

Yeah, but how do you define "normal?" Like I wrote in my post, girls have a harder time living up to what the definition of a girl means. Queer girls can hide behind the empty word "queer" and create an identity that suits themselves. Granted, they are still girls and have to deal with what that means. But, they are given an opportunity to normalize queer.

I believe that the studies of girls is not that different than the studies of boys. At a young age, it doesn't matter who you are, you are impressionable, naive, and confused. Each gender faces their own unique challenges. I'm coming at this class from a unique perspective, as a male. This gives me the chance to compare and contrast the issues each gender faces. I have an amazing memory that can recall things going all the way back to kindergarten.

Lindsey said...

I like your focus on the "normalization" that Driver mentions. I know growing up, I often tried to fit in the mold of the pretty, pop-culture princess, even though it never totally satisfied me. I can only imagine how much harder that must be for queer girls.

Kristen said...

Just out of curiousity I looked up the word "normal".

1. conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

Who would want to be any of those things?