Friday, November 12, 2010

Chicago Tribune Article - Ladies we can't continue to ignore what young women are being taught or believe - When will this stop?

Today I read the following article in the Chicago Tribune you can follow the link here to read the story on the tribune website. Below I have posted the article in its entirety.

Later, in this week I was reading a post by Scot McKnight (here) on women in leadership within the broader evangelical church settings. The statistics were promising stating that many felt that women should be leaders, but the statistics and the reality don't match up. Then a commentator asked a question (that I am paraphrasing) which I thought summed up the reality, he/she said: The real question is not whether people believe women should be leaders, but whether they would actually be lead by a women... Interesting twist...

Anyway, I am angry upset, and feel totally helpless in what we need to do to stop this never ending cycle. Please help me, tell me what you think I can do, what you think I should do...

Here is the article:

Survey: Teen girls call themselves 'fun' online

Dawn Turner Trice

November 12, 2010

Ashley Gonzalez, 16, won't reveal her politics or social values on her Facebook page. She doesn't want to be judged by "friends" who don't know her very well. But she said she would never downplay her intellect, kindness or efforts to be a positive influence.

And she's troubled that a new national survey by the Girl Scouts Research Institute found that girls 14 to 17 years old often portray themselves in social media as "fun," "funny" or "social," rather than smart and ambitious.

"I understand they do it because they'd rather be popular and cool," said Gonzalez, a Chicago resident and longtime Girl Scout. "But it's the opposite of everything I believe in, and it breaks my heart to know a girl feels she needs to do that."

That some girls dumb themselves down in social settings, particularly those where they believe it's necessary to impress guys or fit into a clique, is nothing new. But what's different is that almost everything — think: bullying — re-created in the online social-networking world seems to be so amplified.

What's also different, researchers say, is that teens tend to view their social-media profile as a brand they're creating out of this amalgam of photos and posts. That online persona becomes part of their identity and, for better or for worse, could have an impact on how they see themselves in real life, experts say.

Maria Wynne, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, said her organization saw this firsthand over the summer while conducting focus groups separate from the institute's poll. She said they learned that although girls felt proud about building character and confidence in real life, they were shying away from such attributes in online social networking because they didn't seem cool.

In September, the organization launched the Web site "The World's Strongest Girl,", so that girls 5 to 17 could share stories, real or imagined, about acts of courage and how they overcame obstacles.

"We thought that girls needed a safe gathering place online to learn about themselves and each other in an environment that was largely anonymous," said Wynne. "Girls don't have a lot of platforms where they can envision who they might become."

Peggy Orenstein, the author of " Cinderella Ate My Daughter," due out in late January, said young people long have felt they were performing for an invisible audience, and now with social networking they really are.

"Kids get to craft their image or identity based on responding to people they don't even know, and the quickest way for a girl to get feedback is for her to be sexy, but not necessarily slutty," said Orenstein. "On one hand, girls have made such huge and obvious and wonderful strides, and yet the pressure hasn't abated to define themselves by their looks and sexiness."

The institute's poll examined 1,000 girls from around the country, many of whom were not Girl Scouts. The poll found that 41 percent of them admit that they try to make themselves appear cooler online.

Girls with low self-esteem were more likely than girls who were more self-assured to admit their online image didn't jibe with who they were in real life. Those low-self-esteem girls also more often portrayed themselves online as "sexy" or "crazy," meaning fun-loving.

According to the institute's research, 91 percent of the girls polled use Facebook regularly and 28 percent use Myspace regularly. Kimberlee Salmond, senior researcher at the institute, said the girls boast an average of 351 Facebook friends and said they make about six comments daily and post more than two personal status updates.

And while 85 percent of the girls said they have talked to their parents about safe social-networking behavior, 50 percent admit they're not as careful as they should be, putting themselves at risk.

But the poll did offer some good news: Even though girls spend a lot of time in the social-networking world, they prefer face-to-face communications.

"Ninety-two percent of girls would give up all social-networking friends to keep one best friend in real life," said Salmond. "Eighty-two percent of girls would rather go a full week without logging on to a social network than go a full week without seeing their friends in person."

When the institute mentions those stats, adults tend to breathe a sigh of relief, she said.

Gonzalez said it's important to note that online social networking isn't all bad. She said she's used it to get involved in causes important to her.

"Once you get beyond the scrutiny that's there, the fact that you're constantly being judged, you can use it for good," she said. "I try to be as honest as possible about myself at all times."


Turtle Woman said...

I really think you need to get serious Brenda, and read Mary Daly, and find out more about how radical feminists of another time dealt with the church. If you don't find out how a woman centered, woman's intellectual movement freed a whole generation from patriarchal indoctrination and male domination, you are going to be stuck in this media/evangelical merry-go-round.
Daly had solid anwers, and a solid intellectual structure. Start with her first book "The Church and the Second Sex" and continue step by step through her work.
I don't know why you don't want to do the hard intellectual work. You are dealing with a 5000 year old system of thought, and if you don't learn what radical feminists put all on the line to discover and share, you are going to forever be stuck. The answers are out there, the research has been done, the women educated themselves at the highest levels of theology, philosophy and liberation. They created entire communities of support at an advanced level that I think you should find out about. I've told you this before, but you seem just unable to do this work. I don't really understand why you rely on such artifical things like Chicago Tribune articles to learn what is at the heart of the churche's attitude toward women.

Brenda S. Marin said...

Turtle Woman - I have and will always admit that I am very new to the information available on the "Modern Women's Movement" or in all of female history. I am a well educated person who didn't think about taking women's courses, but I do regret that option. I am now forced to attempt to learn on my own through reading, research, and the information shared on this blog.

However, I want to make it very clear that I do not use and/or view the Chicago Tribune as any sort of learning tool when it comes to women's issues/history/expectations/values etc. I am a bit taken back that is what you think.

I enjoy reading the tribune because its the Chicago paper. Additionally, there are times when the paper does a story on an issue I would like to post and discuss. Case in point the attached story is a AP release about a study performed by the Girl Scouts of America. This is a modern day women's organization and I did feel it was important to post and discuss the information within the article. No the tribune did not conduct the research they simply reported on it.

Also with the 50000+ years of a women's movement why then in 2010 do we still have many young women feeling as they do according to this research?

I will never fully agree with your stance on this world. I would hope you respect that as I respect you have your own views and are entitled to those views.

Instead of desiring separation we must find a way to meet in a common place on common practices in order to have sustainable growth and change. Maybe that is why the 5000+ years has not changed the thinking from one young girl to the next no matter what generation or time period she is in within history.

I have much more to learn and much more to read. I will pick up the books you suggest. I am trying to fit all of this new discovery and passion into an already complicated and packed life.

Plus I will admit I am depressed so everything seems to be taking a bit longer...

Turtle Woman said...

I didn't major in women's studies. The discipline didn't even exist when I was going to school Brenda. Rather it was the woman's movement itself that was the education. I don't know where women get the idea that we all majored in women's studies. Very few lesbians I know did this, but we read voraciously, and we didn't quote malestream texts. We found women's sources and works and spread the word. So, no the Chicago Tribune will not answer this. It could be a basic reader for male centered current events --again mostly focused on male centered news. The real mother loads of feminism are not mainstream publications, CNN, NYT or even Huffington Post.
I am a proud lesbian separatist, so don't diss women who have gone this route. If you diss women who have very good reason not to want to work with men, you will miss a powerful lesbian feminist context that got women the right to vote, among other things. Who do you think did the lion's share of this work? We don't want to work with men, we are happy in lesbian nation run our way. You can fully support the lesbian choice NOT to be with men, and not to be politically connected to male led movements, including most gay stuff today.
There are hundreds of thousands of lesbians over time who are erased by patriarchy, so that women like you are stuck yet again reinventing the wheel, instead of reading the works that would break you out of this cage.
We have very good reasons for not wanting to work with men, we wanted time to focus on our issues, research, herstory, and spirituality. We are legion.
So if you are depressed this might be clinical, but not accidental because you are trapped, and are on a search, and your current situation is not giving you the fuel and the energy to make this personal breakthrough. I'd say it would be very hard for any person to make a big leap within established male centered spiritual norms, which is where you are now. It's why there is such a gap among evangelical straight women and lesbian feminists to begin with. I'm just telling you. You are being subject to a massive religious right backlash. Even Sarah Palin is being attacked by right wing men who don't want her in politics. Recent news. Right wing men hated it that Sarah Palin and Geraldine Ferraro were even talking amiably on CNN recently.
This is a bit rambling, but you are a frustrating person to talk to because you don't seem to realize it's all been done before, written before, worked on before.
And no, you don't need to get a degree in women's studies, the books are there. You could even do a google search and find solid christian feminist women who know what's what. I didn't have the benefit of google, the Internet, and a lot of books that helped me later hadn't even been written yet.
You simply might not be fully aware of all of this, but you are aware that something women are going through now is dragging you down, drugging and dragging... and this is the realization that you are in male supremacy and you are smack dab in patriarchy. At least find a feminist woman to help you with your computer! At least do that.

Brenda S. Marin said...

Turtle woman - I mentioned not taking women's courses because as I have continued with my education it was available and for whatever reason chose not to take those courses. I did not assume you or that all Lesbians have majored in, minored in, and/or studied some form of a structured women's course. I was attempting to speak from my experiences or as I have admitted lack thereof.

Second as I stated previously I do not believe the Chicago Tribune is in any way a research tool which I would use specifically for women's issues and/or study. I read the Tribune because I am from Chicago. I enjoy this paper and primarily read it for the events happening in my community and surrounding area. I read many other papers and media outlets to get a balanced perspective, but the Tribune is the "home" paper I have chosen. Every once and awhile a story has caught my eye and I choose to share it on this blog to receive comments and/or thoughts. Please do not continue to insult me with references that I use the Tribune as some type of women's lib.

Third, I am not advocating nor will I ever advocate being separate. I am not a Lesbian and therefore my world will always have men intimately involved, such as my husband. However, I love and respect my Lesbian sisters as I expect the same love and respect in return. That being said, I do not choose to separate myself from all those I encounter and I do not believe I have the luxury or the desire to do so.

My world consists of Gay, Straight, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, male, female, brown, yellow, black, red, and white. I will always choose to live in a world which encompasses all of God's perfect creations.

I will admit in my attempts to become much more serious about this topic I have not read or studied as much as I would like to have, but I am making efforts. My life as is yours and so many others quite busy and I don't have all the time in the world to read everything.

I will state this as well, I do not believe you and I will ever come to full agreement and I am perfectly content with that statement. Are you?

I appreciate that your knowledge and experience comes directly from your personal involvement in the women's movement. Many of us will never experience that authentic lesson and are forced to read it or speak with those who went through it to understand the full journey. Please continue to comment here, but know that I will probably continue to frustrate you.

I see my goal to not only inspire women of the faith community to look at who they are as women called by God, but also for the men in the faith community to understand the strength women bring to this world. In my experience I believe women must start to re-examine who they are within the confines of a false model of expectations and the men need to figure out how to break down what they expect.

Without speaking to all sides of the issue we will never make any true significant and lasting change. I thank you and all the women who fought for the life I am able to live, but the circle has not been broken.

We cannot separate and remove ourselves as you did in the struggle we must stand and fight in the places we find ourselves. We must be significant and show ourselves significant.

Brenda S. Marin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda S. Marin said...

Please note the removed comment was my own comment as it posted twice.

Turtle Woman said...

I guess I didn't double post...oopps. Of course, we will not be in agreement on a lot of things Brenda, because you don't have the education yet. it's ok not to agree on anything, but I do know that as women we have one strong thing in common, we have both been oppressed by patriarchy and have been born into the sex class, the second class. And I don't object to the Chicago Tribune. What I am saying, is that your education is very thin, and if you truly want to break new ground as a woman, then you do need to READ the texts, and study the women who did do the hard work, and get the European degrees.
stuff 40 years old, 21 years old, MCC celebrated its 40th anniversary recently, Stonewall is ancient history, and women's historians born in 1954 are now dead.
You send a mixed message of wanting to know, but then not doing anything about it. So I'm going to get on your case a bit, and challenge you to get to work, and take your mind seriously, very seriously.
Take the leap Brenda, pick up "The Church and the Second Sex"-- go to -- nice five part series on grace and sin by a professor of theology at Cambridge.
Good stuff. No kids, you're a free woman, read, prepare yourself for the coming conflicts. You can't advance in knowledge unless you take reading seriously, because otherwise, you'll read the male authored version of the universe, their story, not ours.

Turtle Woman said...

I just thought of something obvious. For over a thousand years, women were excluded from education, from ministry, from governments, from the founding fathers etc. Men have had endless amounts of time to talk to each other, to create male centered theories of the universe, male serving banking systems, male controlled marriages and property ownership of women.

Now it is women's time to come together and discuss how we want the world to be.