Saturday, September 5, 2009

Normal Girls, Queer Girls, Minority Girls...GIRLS shouldn't be silent!

Far too long girls were taught to be silent, to look pretty, do not over-achieve, do not be aggressive, get married, stay home, and have babies. After reading through the material I found many reasons to have Girls Studies. Popular culture is very influential to young girls because of the amount of sexuality in the media, magazines, and music. Young girls are fixated on false images of womanhood, on the idea of sex, and men. Their minds are confused about what’s real and what’s not. Studying girls is important because it helps open our minds about the real problems that they face today. It stops us from blaming girls for being irrational, hormonal, and rebellious. They are true problems they deal with and as adults and college students educating ourselves on these issues leaves us closer and closer to undoing what has been done years ago.

Girls who aren’t confident and are gay have a hard time within the school settings, with their teachers, and amongst their peers. I have seen this first hand as I worked as a substitute in Orange County. The way they truly feel is threatened by the social origin that it is wrong to be gay. Queer defined as strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint; unusually different. To use such a word can make anyone feel inferior and insignificant. However, Susan Driver defines “queer” in “Queer Girls and Popular Culture” as the following: “While queer is used to specify particular girls and their desires, it is more readily deployed to encompass an interchange between cultural signs and socially embodied subjects, mobilizing the term queer as a verb rather than securing it as a noun” (Driver 2). Personally, I wouldn’t tell a young girl she’s queer or describe her in that way. They deal with too much at a young age to have to process the different terms we use for who she is.

Moreover, as a Puerto Rican woman I have known the cultural issues that can go along with young minority women and how they are being raised in today’s society. Amongst minorities the high rate of teen pregnancy, lack of education, and father-less girls is a cycle that can be detrimental to a girl psychologically. This is important to me because I have two older sisters who have two different fathers which they never grew up with. The difficulties that they faced had a lot to do with their fathers being absent from their lives. Also, my husband is an African-American; we have a daughter (actually my step-daughter) who is 4 years old. It’s important for my husband and me to raise her to be confident in who she is and where she comes from. The idea of being a mixed race can affect her psychologically as she grows up in today’s society. In addition, the AIDS epidemic amongst Hispanics and African-Americans continues to reach high numbers. I refuse to be one of the silent parents on this issue. Our young girls need to talk about sexual activity, get protected, and stay healthy.
Jessica Darden

1 comment:

Ani Reina said...

"Personally, I wouldn’t tell a young girl she’s queer or describe her in that way. They deal with too much at a young age to have to process the different terms we use for who she is."

I can understand the fact that being "queer" brings a lot of bad connotations but one girls in the book said she used it as a way to start the conversation on sexual idenitity and gender norms. Which is a wonderful idea. Maybe instead of telling young gilrs to wait till their older to use a "label" we should help them be comfortable in their skin no matter what how that makes other people feel.

I also grew up in a single mother home,and let me just say that I always thought not having a father wouldn't affect me. Pssht I was so wrong! I am so happy you talk to your daughter about issues that can affect her later in life. Kudos to you! :)