Meet the Radical Brownies. In Oakland, activists from Black Lives Matter have started a Girl Scout-style troop of girls of color ages 8-12 that puts the focus on social justice, taking the girls on marches for police accountability and offering merit badges in "Radical Beauty" and "LGBT Ally." [more inside]
"Today, most American adults can call up some memory of sex ed in their school, whether it was watching corny menstruation movies or seeing their school nurse demonstrate putting a condom on a banana. The movies, in particular, tend to stick in our minds. Screening films at school to teach kids how babies are made has always been a touchy issue, particularly for people who fear such knowledge will steer their children toward sexual behavior. But sex education actually has its roots in moralizing: American sex-ed films emerged from concerns that social morals and the family structure were breaking down." — Slut-Shaming, Eugenics, and Donald Duck: The Scandalous History of Sex-Ed Movies
This mom got fed up. Companies have been down-sizing their clothing for years as fashion trends call for "slimmer" cuts and silhouettes. Clothing sizing is an issue. Maybe there needs to be a mandated standard of clothing sizes? No cutting corners or skimping on measurements. [more inside]
WYNC's Manoush Zomorodi investigates the gender gap in tech and computer science, and finds a number of people working towards bridging that gap, from childhood to university: completely restructuring a required computer science course to make it more welcoming to female university students, celebrating women in computing history (and recognizing that computer science wasn't so male-dominated, and making children's books and toys (even dollhouses!) for kids to explore programming concepts on their own. She also noticed that the majority of female computer science students in the US had grown up overseas - possibly because computer science isn't a common subject in American high schools. This is slated to change: a new AP Computer Science subject is in the works, with efforts to get 10,000 highly-trained computer science teachers in 10,000 high schools across the US. If you want to join Mindy Kaling in supporting young girls entering computer science, tech, and coding, there's a lot [more inside]
Black Girls Hunger for Heroes, Too: A Black Feminist Conversation on Fantasy Fiction for Teens.
What happens when two great black women fiction writers get together to talk about race in young adult literature? That's exactly what happens in the conversation below, where Zetta Elliott, a black feminist writer of poetry, plays, essays, novels, and stories for children, and award-winning Haitian-American speculative fiction writer Ibi Aanu Zoboi decided to discuss current young adult sci-fi.
Reelgirl: Slut-shaming Princess Leia or protecting childhood from adult sexuality? HitFix: The Terrible Unspoken Implications Of Star Wars' Slave Leia [more inside]
Frustrated with the modern toy market's focus on female characters with uncomfortable costumes, uninspiring back stories, and unrealistic body proportions -- "most are created for the adult male collector, decidedly more Hooters than heroine" -- Wellesley alumnae Julie Kerwin and Dawn Nadeau joined forces with the legendary creative team at EleventyPlex to crowdfund a new line of fierce, Joan of Arc-inspired action figures, designed to encourage girls to embrace their inner strengths and imagine themselves as self-made superheroes: I Am Elemental. [more inside]
Previously, Hello Flo, created this hilarious video about spunky young girls at summer camp and then First Moon Party, a celebration of a young woman's first period, which she fakes with glittery red nail polish on a pad, so desperate is she to begin menstruation. And now, another feminine hygiene product gets in on the image of powerful young women who menstruate by asking what it means to say someone does something "like a girl." Yes, I kick like a girl, and that's a good thing. [more inside]
At only thirteen years old, Tavi Gevinson was proclaimed the world's most famous fashion blogger. At the age of fifteen, she founded Rookie Magazine, an online magazine aimed primarily at teenage girls. Her newest project? Being a grown up. (Previously on Metafilter.)
Whether it's the constant fretting over Miley Cyrus' influence on school girls or the growing (and troubling) tradition of Purity Balls, it's clear that society has a fascination with young women's sexuality — especially when it comes to controlling it. But what are we actually teaching today's girls about sex? Fueled by outdated ideals of gender roles and the sense that female sexuality is somehow shameful, there seem to be certain pernicious myths about girls and sex that just won't die. That sex education in America has gaping holes in its curriculum hasn't helped much, either; in a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report just 6 out of 10 girls said that their schools' sex ed program included information on how to say no to sex. This lack of personal agency was reflected in a forthcoming study by sociologist Heather Hlavka at Marquette University as well, which found that many young girls think of sex simply as something that is "done to them." Knowledge is power, and we can promote a healthier relationship with sex by encouraging a more open dialogue, teaching girls to feel comfortable with their sexuality and, most importantly, emphasizing that their bodies are theirs and theirs alone. [more inside]
Remember Goldieblox who fought for their right to infringe? Beastie Boys have agreed to settle the lawsuit, for a percentage of the revenues to be donated to one or more charities selected by Beastie Boys that support science, technology, engineering and mathematics education for girls. Class.
Laura is super passionate about girls fighting evil, creating collages with short stories about various groups of girls fighting off demons - from radio DJs and the interns at Night Vale, to Dorothy Gale, travelers, and of course Beyonce. Sometimes the girls are helping the demons: evil counterparts to Cinderella, Belle, and Snow White, the underwater orchestra, even the underlord's admin assistant. Sometimes they fight each other; sometimes they fight themselves. Some of these fighters are real. Sometimes they'll let you borrow their style.
Every so often, ethnic dolls make the news, like this recent piece on Nigeria's Taofick Okoya who started his own line of Nigerian dolls after giving up his search in frustration. Okoya sells between 6,000 and 9,000 of his "Queens of Africa" and "Naija Princesses" a month, and reckons he has 10-15 percent of a small but fast-growing market. But the history of dolls outside of 'mainstream culture' exemplified by blonde blue eyed Barbie has been rife with prejudice and stereotypes. As the African middle classes emerge, is this an opportunity that gives rise to domestic toy industries?
You probably know of Paul Dini as the guy who, over the past 20 years brought to television Batman, the beloved DC's animated universe (with Bruce Timm) and Duck Dodgers (among many other things). He's now working at Marvel after 20 years with Warner Brothers. Speaking recently on Kevin Smith's podcast he claimed that executives are spurning female viewers because they believe girls and women don't buy superhero show related toys, which may go some way to explaining the Wonder Woman decision (previously). (via) Dini's comments come at a time when many feel that the gender segregation of toys is regaining strength.
Toy-startup GoldieBlox (previously) had already proven their marketing savvy - then their new commercial went viral, and might even earn them an on-air spot during the Superbowl. But now they've got a lawsuit on their hands - brought by the Beastie Boys. [more inside]
Before the days of Roe v. Wade (and sometimes after) girls who got pregnant were sent away. Now one of the places that housed them is closing. [more inside]
After a fight with a former friend, reportedly over a "boyfriend situation", Rebecca Sedwick was suspended. When Rebecca reported she was being bullied, the school worked with Tricia, Rebecca's mother, to change Rebecca's schedule. Tricia had her daughter close her Facebook account, too. [more inside]
"The question was not so much what the bracelets said but whether school officials used reasonable judgment when they concluded that such apparel was inappropriate and might lead to more egregiously sexual and disruptive displays, all in the name of advocating a cause." Special bonus: The knockers displayed in a Google ad running below the innocent image of a boobie-bracelet-bedecked wrist.
When Nada Al-Ahdal discovered that her parents had sold her she ran away. She is 11 years old, and this is her message. [more inside]
Merida, Pixar's "Brave's" red-headed heroine will be crowned Disney's 11th princess on May 11. And just in time for her royal coronation, she has been given a "Victoria's Secret" makeover. This makeover has caused some outrage in the blogosphere, and has even inspired a change.org petition launched by A Mighty Girl, a girl's empowerment website.
The Atlantic reports on the 2008 removal/"archiving" of the original three American Girl dolls, dolls whose arrival on the market in 1986 represented a "sensibility about teaching girls to understand thorny historical controversies and build political consciousness." [more inside]
Little Girls R Better at Designing Superheroes Than You is a (sparsely populated) Tumblr with illustrations based on little girls in superhero costumes, by Eyeburst. [more inside]
"Despite her pedigree, success came slowly," the story bravely ventured. This slowness was maybe not so apparent to several thousand other 24-year-olds who want to be actresses, but who haven't even figured out how to get to a reading for Law & Order to fail at it. Tom Scocca on Nathaniel Rich, Lena Dunham, Zosia Mamet, and cultural nepotism. (Related: How David Carr Became the Daddy of Girls)
An intriguing essay on how young women in Georgian England were able to do science by hiding in the pursuits of the domestic arts.
"Women didn’t find it easy to participate in late eighteenth century science. Experimentation and discovery were not easily compatible with the ideals of domestic femininity – but there were women who rejected these social expectations and became active and renowned."
"Girls" is a bit of a hit. Although it lost out to "Modern Family" at the Emmy Awards, it continues to receive significant attention as the 2nd season gets underway. [more inside]
'I'm a White Girl': Why 'Girls' Won't Ever Overcome Its Racial Problem-an article from The Atlantic with several interesting links on the larger issue of including (or not) black characters into American television.
Lena Dunham shows her art-world roots in her 2009 web-series: Season 1 at Index Magazine, Season 2 at delusionaldowntowndivas.com. Meanwhile Season 2 of Dunham's HBO series "Girls" arrives Sunday night, expect online fireworks.
This past August, producer Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men) launched a new digital series: H+. The premise: in the near future, 33% of humanity has retired their smartphones, tablets and computers in favor of an implanted computer system, H+, which connects them directly to the internet 24/7. The story begins as a computer virus attacks the implants, killing billions. In intersecting storylines across four continents (told in part through flashbacks,) the series then unravels what happened, who caused it and why. [more inside]
Girls: Fact + Fiction Gallery (some images MNSFW)
Move over Barbie, Goldie Blox is coming to town. A kickstarter-funded construction toy + book series targeting at 5 to 9 year-old girls.
Teenage girls try to navigate the minefields of desirability, attractiveness, and self-objectification in the age of Facebook. [more inside]
The Economist on the decline of British boy's comics as The Dandy ceases print publication. As it circles oblivion it risks joining the ranks of Whizzer and Chips, Buster, The Beezer and subversive late entry to the genre Oink. The days of the Great British girl's comic are sadly long passed.
"The world of entertainment still, all too often, values women only as objects of beauty to be placed on screen and ogled. [...] [T]he world is full of other women who have profound, intelligent, often hilarious things to say, and Dunham is very quietly making a space for those voices on TV, in a way that’s revolutionary both in terms of the show’s gender politics and in terms of its presentation. - AVClub critic TodVanDerWerff on "how [the HBO show] Girls challenges the masculine expectations of 'good TV.'" [more inside]
One thing I am going to do differently as a parent is go easy on the ‘save sex for someone special’ rhetoric with my kids – both with my daughter and my son. Feminist and mother Blue Milk on the downside of encouraging young girls to "save themselves."
What Should We Call Me? (a very silly tumblr for your Friday)
"Perhaps in American cinema, women have typically been reduced to types like mom, girlfriend, or victim. But in the Y.A. books of our youth, they are far more complex, and more thoroughly drawn."
'The Atlantic Wire' kicks off its new YA For Grownups series with The Greatest Girl Characters of Young Adult Literature.
Look, if you want to tell your child that being verbally and/or physically abused is an acceptable sign of affection, i urge you to rethink your parenting strategy.
"Princeless" is a new comic book in the self-rescuing princesses genre (more page previews here and here) - perhaps a younger-audience example of women kicking back against comic-book sexism? (previously on MeFi - wik, alsø wik, alsø alsø wik)
What Reality TV Does To Girls - referencing Jennifer Pozner's book and a new Girl Scout Research Institute national survey, this piece discusses "how did we get here?" and "how does this affect the viewer?" Jennifer Pozner talks about her work in Maclean's in much more depth.
"Are you a lady? Then finally there’s a game for you! While too many games are pretending that ladies enjoy the same things as men, like shooting, building cities or exploring alien worlds, Lady Popular properly recognizes what it is that makes a true, strong, independent lady: shopping, hairstyles, and having a boyfriend."
John Walker of Rock Paper Shotgun gives a no-holds-barred review (NSFW) of the game Lady Popular.
John Walker of Rock Paper Shotgun gives a no-holds-barred review (NSFW) of the game Lady Popular.