The Hidden World of Girls
July 2, 2010 9:36 AM   Subscribe

Hidden World of Girls: Girls and the Women they Become is NPR's collaborative year-long, ongoing series between The Kitchen Sisters, NPR and listener submissions. The series explores "stories of coming of age, rituals and rites of passage, secet identities—of women who crossed a line, blazed a trail, changed the tide."

NPR and The Kitchen Sisters are looking for stories from around the world — from the middle of the city to the middle of nowhere.
We're looking for the women who are leading the meetings and the girls who are breaking new ground: the famous, the infamous, the unknown and the unsung.
We also want to document rituals girls undergo across the world. What rites of passage do they face? What trails have they blazed? What kinds of secrets do they keep?
The series to date:

* Open Diary: Chronicling The Hidden World Of Girls. "As part of the Hidden World of Girls project, we're looking to create a database of intimate diary entries. With enough of them, they could form a comprehensive tapestry — from elation to depression — of life experiences. We already have a small collection on Flickr."

* A Woman's Mission: To Teach Birth Control In Nigeria. "When Chris Abani was a boy, he toured the Nigerian countryside as an interpreter for his mother, Daphne Mae Hunt, who wanted to teach women about their menstrual cycles as a form of birth control."

* Deborah Luster: The Power of a Picture After her mother's murder in 1988, Deborah Luster found herself coping in an unusual way: by photographing inmates. (Previously on MeFi.) Bonus: Deborah Luster's Hidden Kitchens

* Taking Surprising Risks For The Ideal Body. "Every culture has its idealized woman — a standard of beauty that is sought and valorized. And everywhere around the world, women are altering themselves to achieve the look that is celebrated, from cosmetics to liposuction. The Jamaican vision of beauty keeps evolving."

* For Traveller Women In Ireland, Life Is Changing. "Travellers, "the people of walking," are often referred to as the Gypsies of Ireland. Mistrusted for the most part, their traditions and lifestyle are not well understood within the larger culture. Historically, they were nomads who moved in caravans and lived in encampments on the side of the road. Their tradition as "tinkers" or tinsmiths, and as the breeders and traders of some of Ireland's best horses, goes back hundreds of years."

* In Secret World, Girls Of The '60s Advised The Beatles: 'Science-fiction writer Pat Cadigan and her friend Rosemarie DeCaria imagined a world where they maintained a "secret exclusive contact with The Beatles'"

"Sonic Tidbits" from listeners.

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posted by zarq (15 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
I was driving in the car with my friend when the photographing inmates segment was on. When it ended there was a long, quiet silence while I recomposed myself a bit.
posted by basicchannel at 10:24 AM on July 2, 2010

Oh, and perhaps the faux-Glass score helped. That shit does it to me every time.
posted by basicchannel at 10:26 AM on July 2, 2010

The Hidden World Of Girls.

I knew it! I was right all these years! And the other Cub Scouts had the temerity to call me mad...
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:23 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, and perhaps the faux-Glass score helped.

I'm 95% sure you mean Philip Glass here, but I first thought you were referring to This American Life type musical underscore. (Which I know lots of people hate but I actually like.)
posted by kmz at 12:11 PM on July 2, 2010

Neat, thanks.
posted by Forktine at 12:25 PM on July 2, 2010

Wow... and I thought they were mythical creatures!

Kind of like Lady Cottington's Pressed Womens Book, really.
posted by markkraft at 12:40 PM on July 2, 2010

I had the same experience as basicchannel - great stuff, just heartwrenching. I highly recommend it!
posted by sarahsynonymous at 1:11 PM on July 2, 2010

Ira Glass, FWIW, is Philip Glass's cousin, and has collaborated with him on at least one work.
posted by Peach at 1:32 PM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

thanks for posting this.
posted by nadawi at 2:48 PM on July 2, 2010

Hidden from whom, I have to ask?
posted by jokeefe at 3:52 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

An additional story has been posted:

* In The West Bank, Women With A Need For Speed. A group of Palestinian women has entered the male-dominated world of car racing in the Arab world. The women, who call themselves the Speed Sisters, are breaking stereotypes -- and raising the concerns of some Palestinian men who say the racetrack is no place for females.
posted by zarq at 7:08 PM on July 2, 2010

jokeefe, the links explain that these are coming of age stories. Secret identities, diary entries, secret stories told between girls, secret dreams, cultural rituals etc. What drives girls as they pass into womanhood. Things like that may be hidden from the world at large, but they can lay a foundation for the women those girls become.
posted by zarq at 7:12 PM on July 2, 2010

Further info at the Kitchen Sisters link, above:
Hidden World of Girls


We’re looking for stories about the women who are leading the meetings and the girls who are breaking new ground: the famous, the infamous, the unknown and the unsung.

What was the ritual when you came of age? When your mother came of age? Or your grandmother?

Who are the women who have changed their lives and the world around them?

What is the sound track of your life? Your neighborhood. Your ringtones, your ipod playlists.

We’re gathering photographs and videos that capture the hidden world of women and girls. Send us yours

posted by zarq at 7:14 PM on July 2, 2010

That segment on Travellers was disappointing. The weddings and caravans are the most visible aspect of their lives, sure. But they're under huge cultural pressure that is killing off their traditions and history. At the same time, pitching those traditions against contemporary life is hugely problematic, and there are significant issues with the role and value of women in traveller communities. I would have expected a little more focus on those issues.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:32 PM on July 2, 2010

This looks like great stuff, thanks.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:39 PM on July 5, 2010

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