Thursday, January 5, 2012

peggy orenstein on girl culture

got the chance to hear peggy orenstein talk a while back and just came across my notes from the presentation. thought i would share her insights:

1) she talked about pink and princesses and gender coding of clothes and products for young children. gave an interesting history of how this came to be, pointing out that none of this gender coding is natural - it is just marketing trying make things appear natural. it appeals to young childrens' sense of gender impermanance by giving them specific ways to assert their gender.

2) the transition from pink princess to the world of shopping and consumerism: the "it's all about me" culture. for girls, self-absorption is sold as self-confidence, getting whatever you want just because you want it. she describes this as a move from cinderella to the narcissistic step-sister.

3) the link between body consciousness and impaired cognitive abilities: she quoted a study that showed how people who took a math test after trying on bathing suits did worse than those trying on sweaters. body consciousness also decreases one's sense of potential.

4) by showing extremes like "toddlers in tiaras" for people to rail against, it lets more mainstream practices and expectations that also sexualize and objectify girls off the hook.

5) when girls learn to objectify themselves, it creates a rift between the performance of sexuality and the embodiment of sexual feelings. she said that sexual agency is just the latest performance for girls - it's all about how you look, not how you feel, so your sexual identity is externalized.

she offered the following resources to address the above concerns:

the geena davis institute
the center for research on gender and sexuality
powered by girl
girls leadership institute
hardy girls healthy women

Monday, January 2, 2012

constable's clouds (1821)

some day nolan and i will go out skying.