Tag Archives: girls

This Girl Scouts for Reality in New Barbie

Girl Scouts Facebook page.

-from Girl Scouts Facebook page.

This week Girl Scouts and Mattel paired up to create a Girl Scout Barbie. Yea I know, for an organization that has been a front-runner, in my opinion, on tackling negative body and self-image and promoting leadership among young girls and teens, I’m struggling to see where this doll fits in their overall mission. But just like everything in today’s world, controversy sells. WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE ABOUT DOLLAR SIGNS INSTEAD OF MORALS.

Any who, way back in the day I was a girl scout, first a Brownie then a Junior, and never did my uniform consist of tight fitting pink capris and heeled boots. In fact, the uniforms were so unflattering and ill-fitting that I didn’t even want to wear it half the time. Perhaps girls still don’t? Check out year 1993 on this lovely timeline of Girl Scout uniforms. Do you blame me!?

On Girl Scouts Facebook page the organization commented that “girls and moms alike associate this doll with the outdoors, camping, giving back in your community, and we think that those are really positive message to all of our girls. What do you think?”

I think those are all great messages for our girls, but this doll in no way portrays those messages. I associate this doll with Mall Barbie or even Miss America Barbie, but instead of a state name block-lettered across her sash there are badges of honor, from all the camping and hiking she must have successfully accomplished in her heeled boots without breaking her ankles (kids, don’t try that at home), full face of make-up, and beret fascinator that seemed to stay perfectly positioned on her head of coiffed hair.

These days, the typical 10 year-old girl looks more like she’s 15 (and acts 18) but since when did Junior Girl Scouts (9-11 years-old) look 20? This doll looks more like a Girl Scout Ambassador (15-17 years-old) or troop leader, not a Junior that she portraying with her green sash.

I trolled through the comments on Girl Scout’s Facebook page regarding this monstrosity of a doll, and one mother offered up her 7 year-old girl scout’s opinion, “She doesn’t look like she would really do real girl scout stuff. Like she would just set back and say ‘I don’t want to get dirty.’ But being a real girl scout is about getting dirty and helping your community.”

I will, however, give kudos to the designer for making her racially inconspicuous, thus making her a doll for everyone, which is something that I like to see! I also have to admit that as an only child I used my imagination and played with Barbie dolls often and never felt inferior because I didn’t look like her, didn’t have that dream house with an elevator or that hot corvette she cruised around town from job to job because I could separate a plaything from reality. I think in today’s unlimited access to media and communications makes it harder for young kids to separate (let alone dissect) what’s falsified and what’s reality. Because even adult women have trouble with this reality and try to obtain the impossible which leads to this. With that said, no, I don’t think this doll is bad to play with, though I’d prefer a doll that looked more like a Lammily, even Skipper would do, but I’d like Girl Scout Barbie to more accurately portray the brand of the organization and reflect the average age of the majority of scouts while wearing a true uniform. And maybe feed her a cookie or two?

What’s your opinion of the dolls and the message it’s sending young girls? Would you by this for your sister, daughter, or niece? Let me know in the comments!

How Young is too Young to be Shopping at Victoria’s Secret?

There’s been a lot of mention of unmentionables in the media lately. The most disturbing—a mother saying on national television that it’s OK for her nine-year-old daughter to shop at Victoria’s Secret for undies. I’m sorry… WHAT?!?!
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having cute panties and bras from the big girl store,” said Jenny Erikson, the mother.
victoriassecretstorefrontAt the age of nine, I was still wearing underwear with the days of the week and they had an elastic band all the way around with my staple brand at the time, Limited Too (now Justice). No “sling shot” style for this girl… well until the summer before I started freshman year in high school. I bought my first “sling shot” from Wet Seal while at the mall with my friend. Sorry mom. I have to admit I was really uncomfortable and embarrassed about the whole purchasing process because I knew I was too young and I was fourteen!

Hitting the fast forward button on little girls’ childhoods is far too common and when it’s the girls’ parents who are at fault, like Erikson, I get irritated because parents are supposed to be the protectors not the instigators. One day your little girl is just shopping at the “big girl” store and the next day they are buying make up and comparing shades during recess.

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Support Systems Lead To “Girl Rising”

Last Thursday my friend Jill and I went to a screening of the documentary, Girl Rising, a film by 10×10 productions telling the stories of nine girls from nine different countries and the strength they inhabit while overcoming challenges they face to get an education.

“When girls go to school and get an education, they stay healthy. They save money. They speak up. They build businesses. Then they pass it all on…and poverty declines. Challenges become opportunities; progress happens”
-Richard Robbins, the Girl Rising Director

Between Jill and I playing “name that narrator,” I found myself questioning the predefined theme of the film—“one girl with courage is a revolution.”

I’m not sure that’s quite right.

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“Safe Space”: the REAL social network

girlsonlyLast week I wrote about the seminar on girl education and empowerment that was hosted by BRAC , the world’s largest non-government development organization.  A take away that I failed to mention was this idea of providing “safe spaces.” Think of it as a real life social network or a girls only club. Sorry boys.

Former BRAC Bangladesh senior manager in the education program, Farzana Kashfi, turned this idea on its head. In most developing countries women don’t have spaces to themselves where men aren’t allow. Often times boys will hang out in public roadside or at the shops in town, but you would hardly see girls gathering. By providing women with a “safe space” in the form of these “girl empowerment clubs,” they can escape the pressures of family life and pressures of a male-centrist society to focus inward and share their story in this real life social network. There are about 10,000 of these clubs worldwide with about 275,000 members who gather to sing, dance, learn and thrive. Peer mentors, who are trained by BRAC teach the girls life skills, health awareness, financial independence with access to micro-loans and ways to reach their fullest potential.

To watch Kashfi describe more on “Safe Spaces” watch the clip here.time stamp: [40:00-44:55]

The End.

Who’s the First? She’s the First!

Earlier this week I attended a seminar via webcast on Girls Education and Women’s Empowerment in Real World Social Networks as part of Social Media Week in NY.

The speakers were from BRAC USA and Bangladesh, Pro Mujer, and She’s the First.

The organizations focus on helping girls who live in developing countries succeed and develop life skills through education, During the event the panel of development practitioners discussed how building real social networks through education both inside and outside the classroom, particularly for women and girls, leads to both social and financial empowerment.

I'm the first…to graduate college. Photo by Jessica Dodds http://jessicasheaphotography.com/

I’m the first…to graduate college. Photo by Jessica Dodds http://jessicasheaphotography.com/

Out of all the organizations that participated in the event, She’s the First I really felt connected with because I am the first of my family to graduate college. Founded by Tammy Tibbetts in Nov. 2009, She’s the First is a not-for-profit that sponsors girls’ education in the developing world, helping them be the first in their families to graduate, not just college but high school. In the process, STF fosters leadership and global awareness in young Americans, by inspiring them to lead creative fundraisers and correspond with sponsored students throughout the world. Pretty cool stuff. Their efforts shape a rising generation of well-educated global leaders, future philanthropists and cross-cultural communicators.

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