Posts tagged girls
Encouraging Young Girls to Be Themselves and that It’s OK
If you don’t already know this by reading my blog regularly, I love my kids. They bring me such joy and clear perspective on all things in life and for the most part, they just think I’m the cat’s meow. I am preparing myself for this not to be the case as they get older, but for now – I am enjoying being one of their favorite people in life.
My girl HB is running for Treasurer of her Elementary school and the recording of her speech is today. She never ceases to amaze me – she created her poster and her speech is really good. It’s well organized, has her quirky sense of humor in it and she has practiced it with the vigor of a young tiger. While I was listening to practice her speech last night I wondered if in a few short years (maybe sooner than that) will she fall victim to the insecurities and doubts that seem to creep into young girls’ minds as they start to hit puberty and go from girl to young woman? And what can I do to minimize the effects of media and public stereotypes as her mom — and as a woman who did and still does live under the influence of ideal standards of beauty to some extent.
I read a lot about how women are portrayed and socialized in our society to believe in the myth of beauty and to put so much value in how they look. One non-profit that is doing good work trying to help shed light on how it all happens is Miss Representation.org.
Miss Representation.org is a call-to-action campaign that seeks to empower women and girls to challenge limiting labels in order to realize their potential and transform our culture for the betterment of all.
Given the advent of the 24-7 news cycle and the proliferation of infotainment and reality TV, media has become the predominant communicator of cultural values and gender norms, telling us all who we can and cannot be.
We believe that one ordinary individual, united with others around a common, meaningful goal, can spark millions of small actions that ultimately lead to a cross generational revolution to eradicate gender stereotypes and create lasting cultural and sociological change that will benefit not only women, but the world at large.
I want my daughter to believe in her intelligence, her personality, and that treating others kindly and with good intentions will ultimately be her worth and that by caring about her overall health – she is beautiful.
I believe it’s my job as her Mom and primary role model to walk the walk – talk the talk! It’s hard to change filters but it’s something that I am working hard to do because it is so vitally important and influential on both of my kiddos.
On her way out the door this morning, she asked “Mom, should I wear my glasses during the speech?“. I said – Does Hannah wear glasses? She said “Yep“. I said — then wear them! I love that girl —
Workout today was a two parter –the weather here in Northern VA is so odd. It was 60′ at 6A and it’s supposed to get up to 80′ today. Crazy warm weather for Fall. But made for a nice outside warmup and sprint workout!
- shuttle runs
- KB Swing
tabata sprints (sprint 20s/10s rest x 8 rounds)
- 10 KB Swings
- 10 Push Ups
- 10 Sit Ups
According to MissRepresentation, 80% of 10-year-old girls say they have been on a diet, and “the number one magic wish for girls 11-17 is to be thinner.” Now, personally, I’m pretty sure I didn’t figure out that I was fat and unlovable until I was around 15. And then I didn’t figure out that all of that was complete bullshit until I was 25. That was ten years of disappointment, dieting, crushing loneliness, and the gloomy certainty that I’d be alone forever (to be fair, it was also fun times, travel, hilarious friends, a great education, gin & tonics, and unfettered focus on making my life awesome). But today’s girls get 15 years of that shit, to my ten—presuming they clamber out of the pit by 25, if they manage to do it at all. NO THANKS. This is clearly an emergency.
I know one of these girls. She lives in my house. My 10-year-old stepdaughter (her dad and I aren’t married, but you know what I mean, Archbishop of Pedantrybury) recently announced that the entire family would be required to “work out” together every morning. She made little workout checklists for herself and her 8-year-old sister, with a specificity that would be hilarious if it wasn’t so troubling (“do 36 push-ups,” “jog for 17 minutes”). I notice her grasping for little excuses not to eat. She casually mentions that certain relatives and classmates have called her fat. She claims she just “likes” turkey bacon better than regular bacon (BLATANT LIE). Even kids (especially kids, maybe) know that the best way to insult a woman is to call her fat. They know that thin > fat, even if they don’t really understand what that means. So her stupid 14-year-old cousin knows that the best way to needle my 10-year-old beanpole stepkid is to call her fat. And he does. Stupid cousin.
Now, this could all be coming from a totally healthy impulse—she’s also terrifically athletic and currently obsessed with martial arts and acquiring a machete (her “Weapons to Get” list is twice as long as the workout list)—but it sure doesn’t feel like that.
What can we do as parents and mentors to encourage and support young girls to embrace physical fitness? I don’t know about you all, but I know for a fact that women do sweat! Feminine, girly, frilly women – they do. I have seen women in the gym – leaving sweat angels all over the place. I like to say “clean up on aisle 2″ when I see a pool of sweat and have said it for many of women. These women clean up nicely too.
What is it about girls and puberty that they start to lose interest in so many things that will help them further along in life — math, science, fitness. They lose their self esteem, confidence, belief that they can do anything. They can do whatever they are willing to work for — just like the boys that sit next to them in class.
I let the fear of being sweaty go a long time ago — it happens, we are human and my kids, seeing mom and her friends rolled up in a ball of sweat at the end of a hard workout helps the cause. Maybe that’s the key – as parents we need to show our kids that we fit fitness in, no matter what is going on. We get sweaty, sore and spent — Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk…
Forty-eight percent of girls surveyed said that “getting sweaty is not feminine”– and almost a third of boys surveyed agreed, according to a report in the Telegraph. Fifty-seven percent of girls agreed that girls tend to drop out of physical activity because their friends do, and 76 percent of girls agreed that they feel self-conscious about their bodies; about a quarter of them feel like gym class forces them to put their bodies on display.
Apparently, the insecurity and self-consciousness continues into adulthood. A different study, released last month by the British mental health charity Mind, found that 90 percent of women older than age 30 are crippled by low self-esteem and body-confidence issues when they try to exercise in public.
Some try to get fit by exercising in the dark or wearing baggy clothing, but most tend to avoid outdoor activities entirely, their report found. Instead, 71 percent of the 1,450 women surveyed said that they were more likely to eat comfort food, 66 percent said they’d rather sleep, and 71 percent would rather find a way to be alone instead of exercise.
Holy Smokes do I love this!
There was a time when you were five years old,
and you woke up full of awesome.
You knew you were awesome.
You loved yourself.
You thought you were beautiful,
even with missing teeth and messy hair and mismatched socks
inside your grubby sneakers.
You loved your body, and the things it could do.
You thought you were strong.
You knew you were smart.
Do you still have it?
Did someone take it from you?
Did you let them?
Did you hand it over,
because someone told you weren’t beautiful enough,
thin enough, smart enough, good enough?
Why the hell would you listen to them?
Did you consider they might be full of shit?
Wouldn’t that be nuts,
to tell my little girl below that in another five or ten years
she might hate herself because she doesn’t look like a starving and Photoshopped fashion model?
Or even more bizarre,
that she should be sexy over smart,
beautiful over bold?
Are you freaking kidding me?
Look at her.
She is full of awesome.
You were, once.
Maybe you still are.
Maybe you are in the process of getting it back.
All I know is that if you aren’t waking up feeling like this about yourself,
you are really missing out.
I woke up with a sore throat so when I woke up this morning, I had some hot lemon tea so I could be ready for a workout. And today’s workout was all kinds of suck – as my fellow athlete Jon likes to say. It was one of the Girls of CrossFit – Nancy. Because I assume that the Girls of CrossFit were named after former girl friends — I can only imagine what a crappy girlfriend some of these ladies were and Nancy is no exception.
10 push ups
10 Kick to Handstands
10 Hamstring stretch
10 Pass thrus
Five rounds for time of:
400 meter run
33lb Overhead squat, 15 reps
I went light with my weight today. My throat is sore and I feel run down so I brought 80% today. 33lb OHS is too light for me in general but my body is sore — and sometimes going light is the right thing to do.
I’m about to head off for a business trip — and of course I am trying to plan and figure out when I will be able to fit in some workouts. I emailed a CrossFit box in the area and they said – drop on in! So, that’s my plan and I am going to make as sure as I can that it happens.
Today I am heading to the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve for a Girl Scout Walk Together with Hannah Bea today for a 3 mile nature hike. Its a crisp fall day and anyone that knows about No VA knows its one of the most beautiful times of the year for this area — with the fall leaves changing colors. I hope to get some great shots of it all!
A Best Friend? You Must Be Kidding
But increasingly, some educators and other professionals who work with children are asking a question that might surprise their parents: Should a child really have a best friend?
Most children naturally seek close friends. In a survey of nearly 3,000 Americans ages 8 to 24 conducted last year by Harris Interactive, 94 percent said they had at least one close friend. But the classic best-friend bond — the two special pals who share secrets and exploits, who gravitate to each other on the playground and who head out the door together every day after school — signals potential trouble for school officials intent on discouraging anything that hints of exclusivity, in part because of concerns about cliques and bullying.
…much of the effort to encourage children to be friends with everyone is meant to head off bullying and other extreme consequences of social exclusion.
.. Many psychologists believe that close childhood friendships not only increase a child’s self-esteem and confidence, but also help children develop the skills for healthy adult relationships — everything from empathy, the ability to listen and console, to the process of arguing and making up. If children’s friendships are choreographed and sanitized by adults, the argument goes, how is a child to prepare emotionally for both the affection and rejection likely to come later in life?
I had a best friend up until about 7th grade. Then a big falling out and it was over and my world fell apart. To a 12-13 year old girl who grew up in a smaller town where you basically knew everyone you graduated High School with since birth – breaking off a BFF friendship over something stupid really rocks your world.
Not sure discouraging kids to have close friends really helps discourage cliques or bullying…I believe having one or two close friends help kids develop intimate relationships, and learn empathy and caring for someone else.
And while it did “rock my world” when I lost my BFF – I do have great memories of the time we spent together and it made me who I am today –
Here’s a pic of Hannah and her partner working on a small basic training module on Sunday. I wrote about it last week: Teaching Kids Programming Event. Although I think Hannah was a bit younger than the ideal age to introduce some of the concepts, it did spark some overall interest in programming. One the drive home she asked when she can work with her Daddy on building some stuff on the computer.
I think it is so great that Microsoft and Gen INC TV and Learning Tree International created this event to target young girls and introduce them to programming early. The earlier you show young girls that they can “get” science, math and computer technology, the great chance at success in “hooking” them for future careers.
And I love that they let Hannah go even though she didn’t meet the age target. They were open to seeing how she would take to it… What a great event and I hope to see more of these nationwide!
Way to go Microsoft!
Programming? For girls? ….YES! Programming has evolved and now more than ever girls have the opportunity in a world they’ve only known through technology to shape and mould the future of our society. So many young women have already discovered the limitless opportunities and adventures that programming careers bring. Small Basic is a first step in discovering the magic of object oriented programming and best of all ITS FUN Join us for a few hours and you’ll walk out ready to download and have hours of fun with more recipes (our format for learning Small Basic) Soon you’ll be teaching your friends and family.Oh and did we mention its FUN!
Join us July 11th at Microsoft’s Chevy Chase offices for a morning of learning, laughing and give aways.
Sign up today by going to the “more“ option from the menu at the top and choosing Registration Page. We`ll contact you to confirm your magical seat number and send you more details. Hurry seating is limited.