Monday, June 30, 2014

How We Talk to Girls

I've seen two videos recently that have really made me stop and think about how we talk to girls in our society.   Here they are:

1)  Like a Girl

2) Inspire Her Mind

As a female, I know personally how the deck can be stacked against us in certain ways.  Also, as a teacher I see many of the same sayings, thoughts, and stereotypes placed on our young ladies today.

I know kindergartners who are concerned about wearing high heels (usually a small platform on the bottom of their shoe) and if they need more lip gloss.  I'm not exaggerating here.  These two girls that I am thinking of - ages 6 and 7 - cannot identify or write many of the letters of the alphabet, they used to struggle with even identifying their names if they were spelled out in front of them, and they cannot write or identify all of the numbers 1-10.

These girls are not stupid.  They are very intelligent, but the message they have been given from a very, very young age is that their appearance is more important than anything else, especially school or any kind of 'work' like reading or doing math.

When this message is made clear to girls, it also translates into expectations for boys.  While in kindergartner most boys think girls have cooties, as they grow up around girls who increasingly focus on their appearance, since that is what girls are directly and indirectly told is important, boys will start to conform and expect that stereotyped standard as well.

We need to be even more cognizant of the language we use with young children and the messages, intended or not, that we send them.

We can do more for our girls.

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