Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Girl's Life

Rachel Simmons has a documentary A Girl's Life (streaming free online) that talks about the body image, social interaction, and other issues that 21st century adolescent girls face. Simmons discusses media pressure on girls and how it affects girls' self image, how technology affects the way girls interact (addictive texting, cyber-bullying), girl-on-girl physical aggression, and how single-sex education can benefit girls.

Though I have my usual issue with Simmons's work that she doesn't provide insight into why the situation is so precarious for girls, this video is interesting and information and provides an accurate portrayal of certain facets of adolescent life for teenage girls.

I am glad that my all-girls middle/high school took care to discuss these sorts of issues. For instance, we had someone come talk about her doctoral dissertation on the distortion of the female body in the media, from the sexualization of Ariel in The Little Mermaid to editing of magazine model photos. What was the experience of people who did not go to all-girls schools with respect to this kind of thing?

* This presentation, by the way, was met with a good amount of hostility and suspicion by middle school girls struggling to socialize themselves into a world with these media-created standards.

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