I’ve learned something about myself from running this All Things Girl series…As much as I love it, I miss being ‘in the moment’ sharing life in ‘real time’—I’m finding it really hard to stay ‘in theme’ when events are swirling around me with exciting new media to share!
Whether it’s accompanying Anand and my Tapestries of Hope film pals today to witness the amazing work taking place via the OWCF (One World Children’s Fund) or writing about Monday’s exciting Program for the Future conference at the Tech Museum, furthering Doug Engelbart’s collective knowledge model, I feel like I’m always a step behind myself, like an errant shadow trailing my mind.
SOME of it overlaps, like GFC’s Sejal Hathi who was at OWCF.org speaking about her Girls Helping Girls org, asking us to TEXT our donor pledge via SMS code (times they are a changin’!) I was thrilled to see Sejal’s eloquence and conviction honored by CNN’s Young People Who Rock too. (can you believe she started her org at 15 and is only 17, now? She expresses her vision as if she’s had decades of public speaking!)
There were other equally awe-inspiring moments that had nothing to do with media and only partially to do with ‘All Things Girl’ so you can see my frustration with wanting to ‘blog fresh’ before my mind loses the experience!
One OWCF grassroots project that touched me deeply is the Batsiranai project in Zimbabwe where sewing mothers and their disabled children endure social stigmas and economic hardship of being local outcasts and have turned handicrafts into hope in courageous stories that unfold in a short book I bought called, “When Needles Heal.”
Their hand-stitched cards, bottlecap art, jewelry and vibrant and tales of courage are so uplifting that it gives me much needed perspective in this season of ‘gimmes’…this is just one of the MANY examples of OWCF’s “champion model” that goes directly to the source with person to person contacts streamlining the NGO bureaucratic hogwash and filtration that often fouls up the works. (OWCF has supported a record 28 grassroots projects in 18 countries with a staff size of 2! My kinda org!)
I’ll interview Rucha, OWCF’s leading lady soon, but you can see why from now on I’ll be keeping my ‘series’ shorter so I don’t bore myself (and readers) straining to stay ‘in theme’ since I’m hopelessly distractable or have a brain like a pachinko machine from my Japan days…I mean, OWCF and Girls Helping Girls might fit into the ‘all things girl’ series theme, but do Batsiranai greeting cards and a techno-visionary conference? ‘Prolly not…’ 😉
…I think I’ll pass along some of the Batsiranai art to humanitarian visionaries from our NextNow collaboratory helping out at Doug Engelbart’s Program for the Future, as ‘Batsiranai’ translates to ‘helping each other” —and I can’t think of a better way to use collective intelligence!
I’m so excited to lend a hand at the event…take a look at this speaker line-up and you’ll see why…talk about some brainpower and backing of visionary ideas! MIT Media Lab (a favorite of mine, as you can see by my I/O brush kids art post long ago), Stanford’s Media X, and I happen to know for a fact that even though she’s in Vietnam right now on a junket, Visual Insight specialist Eileen Clegg has created a massive mural large enough to surround the entire Tech Museum presentation hall.
Her plan is to help us all grasp the graphical timeline of where we’ve been and where we’re headed in terms of the connected revolution and vast potential to harness media as part of our collective intelligence used for POSITIVE pursuits…Can’t wait to see it…See? Distracted. I digress. Apologies.
So bear with me awhile longer as each and every one of these girl picks is deserving and worthwhile…and I want to wrap up Part Two of All Things Girl week and get back to regularly (un)scheduled programming…
Here goes: My sights are on these ‘seven sisters’ for All Things Girl media musts:
Reign of the GirlChild by MommyB:
Always hilarious and spot on, author and gal pal Felicia Richardson Battle (who wrote ‘Feel Good Girl’/Ypulse review here) focuses on preteen precociousness and preciousness with insight, candor, and ‘tell it like it is’ conversational wit.
Reign of the Girl Child is a self-ascribed “place for moms of preteen girls to chat, rant, and freak out in privacy’…See for yourself in her Monday musings piece on “Target Women” (no not the store, silly, it’s Sarah Haskins featured on Current TV’s weekly InfoMania, spoofing the absurdity of advertising’s attempt to appeal to women)
In this hilarious episode, it’s about advertising’s recent attempt to sell cleaning products. (sheesh, we haven’t come such a ‘long way, baby’…the seductive purple sponge had me ROFL! as the kids would say)
All of Felicia’s posts tend to have me nodding my head in agreement or giving an air high five, (usually both) so check out her book, her blog, and her thoughts and see if you’ll join me in wishing there were a new contender for the hackneyed ‘you go girl’ phrase, even though that’s the sentiment, spot on.
As a segue to girl created media to shift us into the literati of blogs that are not ABOUT girls but instead BY girls and FOR girls, we’ll be adding some link love for worthy Smart Girl sites for aspiring Teen Lit, writers and artists that abound, starting with one of my all-time favorites for aspiring writers, Girls Horse Club.
As one has a ‘horse girl’ who tries to get to the coast to ride Western whenever she can, know that these Junior Bloggers (and their lead mare, Michelle) are an inspiration for girls to create their own stories and share ‘barn goddess’ experiences.
It’s a find for any equine enthusiast and literacy lesson in passion to ‘write what you know’ because these girls weave their experiences and tales into poignant story archs and descriptive prose that would make any language arts prof proud.
Girls Horse Club.com (site at left) will be featured in a ‘horsing around for the holidays’ piece on Shaping Youth soon, where we shine the spotlight on these very REAL horse girls amidst the media and marketing blitz of horse games, goods and ‘virtual worlds.’
The barn goddesses in Girls Horse Club’s media stable are getting out into nature and kickin’ it for REAL, using media as a distribution channel for their passions…And while I DO like the virtual horse world of Bella Sara’s positive messaging for girls, it’s still trading on a ‘Webkinz’ style model of buying packs of ‘stuff’ to ‘play online’ so doesn’t register with me as much as GHC’s authentic hub for girl empowerment.
Soooooo… check out GHC’s stable stories. Blogazine. Girls Book Club musings. Freebies. Site. And ‘all things girl’ (and filly) gifts, with worthy links/suggestions from GHC like Fund 4 Horses.org to ‘have fun, do good’ and set those wild horses within FREE!
Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me by Tracee Sioux
Tracee Sioux is a prolific girl-power pro with an eco-slant, a second blog gig, and a journalism background…(if that sounds too familiar, the picture at left ensures I’m not using a pen name)
Nope, I’ve never met this woman in east Texas but feel a kindred ‘she’s walked in my boots’ ease…The more I read her blog, the more aligned I feel in hearing her words reflect what’s important in her world of creating balanced, confident kids. We share a diehard dedication to our blogs, enmeshed with desire for humor in large lumps of meaningful content to make it all palatable…
Though her focus is unequivocally ‘all things girl’ she’s been running a worthy series on consumption and holiday deconstruction to get to the heart of what matters this season (which has universal appeal.) Tips 1-6 of a “Meaningfully Frugal Christmas” (I linked to tip #2 arbitrarily as it meshed with a piece I’m working on about needless products right now, but you can read the rest of her links stacked conveniently below it)
I’d love for Tracee to write for Eco Child’s Play, along with any other readers who feel a sense of shared conviction that ‘less is more,’ being present in the present matters most, and freecycling and regifting is not a bad word but instead a preference among many…
(ECP is looking for a few eco-writers to join the Green Options media network to unearth fabulous finds that empower and enrich rather than deplete and define.) As you can see by this post, we have more than a bit in common, eager to turn negatives into positives, as she writes,
“In everything we’ve been reading the damaging effects of media has been a central force. APA Report on Sexualization of Girls, Girls Inc.’s The Supergirl Dilemma, You’re Amazing, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media all cite exposure to media as a central force in the girls beginning to define themselves as less than they truly are. While every one of these sources cite media as a potentially damaging influence, they also recommend fighting negative media with positive media. We have the power to – not just passively ban negative media, which we should definitely do – But we have the power to CREATE positive media for our daughters about girls.”
One of her recent posts, Steal This Christmas Gift Please! offers a chance to lift the gift of “The Perfect You” and customize it in your own words to publish and empower as a girls keepsake. I may use Blurb for book design as I love their elegant/stylish templates (it’s the creative director in me shining through) but whatever self-publisher you choose, it’s a treasure!
And did I mention she just got an “All Diva Media 20 Women to Watch in 2009” accolade? Well now she can add a ‘top 7’ for All Things Girl on Shaping Youth! 😉
If you’re looking for a ‘kinder gentler’ spin on All Things Girl with ‘sugar and spice and everything nice’ What About Our Daughters may not be the spot, but if you’re seeking some of the most intelligent, witty, in-your-face, shoot from the hip, call it like you see it, whack upside the head geopolitical snapshots of media’s powerful influence and trickle down impact on girls, Gina is a whip-smart media maven that spews like an uncontrollable firehose of truth.
Gina takes front page news with ‘wth?’ candor to strip off the floof of canned reaction to everything from girls’ portrayal in the media, misogyny in music, girls’ global injustice (great CNN piece here on ‘Screaming Bloody Murder”) and the absurdity and cosmic chaos of the recent stampede story of Jdimypai Damour at WalMart, called “Maybe We Need a Recession.”
You can literally FEEL her outrage and seething injustice put to prose with words as erudite, raw, and real as they come. (You can support her What About Our Daughters store with pithy slogans like this black unity tee that reads, “Calling me sister does not make it so. STOP defending the privilege to call me a ‘HO!'”
Her reflections on girls and life give me a much needed bracer whenever I get too sanguine or lax, inspiring me to ‘get back to it’ and strive to make a difference on this big ol’ blue marble of a planet.
Claire Mysko reminds me SO much of myself in my earlier years, authoring books as a child, publishing them as a teen, and working through the nuances of ‘growing up girl’ with hands-on zeal. One click on her ‘about us’ section gives you a feel for her cyclebreaking style and can-do momentum:
“Claire writes books, blogs, leads workshops, and consults with companies and organizations that want to reach girls and women with empowering messages. She has served as the director of the American Anorexia Bulimia Association, the Executive Editor of SmartGirl, and the Assistant Director of Communications for Girls Inc. She is also the co-founder of Inside Beauty, an outreach program dedicated to promoting healthy body image. Claire received her M.A. in Gender Studies from The New School for Social Research.” Claire’s an unstoppable force field wealth of knowledge with a backstory that intrigues (finally met her at the Ypulse mashup) packing more in her tender years than many have in a lifetime.
She’s a bellwether for girl media universally, adept at shining the spotlight on the good stuff of All Things Girl and unearthing authors and offerings that all girls should know about! Her other fabulous site and Facebook group 5 Resolutions to Transform the Fashion & Beauty Industries which she hosts with top model/cover girl/activist for eating disorders Magali Amadei is a must read for girls as well, right up there with our own S.Y. expert, Dr. Robyn Silverman’s body image resource blog, Kiss My Assets.
For our mom readers, Claire and Magali would love YOUR survey input for their new book about body image, pregnancy and new motherhood, so find out more about that project here. Claire, in the words of your own book tour title…You’re AMAZING!
Char keeps her blog up-to-the-minute with interesting thoughts on everything from campus recruitment to prevention of body burn out, injuries, and other healthy advice for raising athletic girls. Lisa runs GACtv (catch it on YouTube) so I blew my own referee whistle to disqualify GAC as a primary focus this round, because Lisa’s one of our regional partner orgs.
Lisa’s girl team of teen bloggers are stringers for ‘girl-created literary media’ as well, so I’ll just leave you with their links to peruse both sites and find resources, tips, videos and ‘hmn’ moments to keep your head in the game.
On Teens Today by Vanessa Van Petten
Last but not least, I chose Shaping Youth Gen Y expert Vanessa’s ‘girls category’ from within her larger On Teens Today blog, because her perspective on youth culture and her ongoing work with girls continues to be a vital resource for anyone trying to ‘mind the gap’ between generations…and decipher the subtext on the tween and teen scene.
Vanessa wrote ‘You’re Grounded’ at 17 and now has ‘Dirt-E Secrets Of An Internet Kid’ that I need to check out next…And though she’s now a young millennial instead of a ‘kid’ her insights and feedback from working with girls are invaluable, as well as her ‘been there done that’ view of ‘growing up girl’ online.
Vanessa’s social entrepreneur slant, marketing know-how and uncanny ability to get inside the heads of the parent posse to unearth ‘common ground’ is one of the reasons she’s been approved by our nonprofit’s board to be featured as a S.Y. advisor bringing us her guest columns, content, and unique perspective periodically. We’re looking forward to her practical tips and real deal reverb on making life easier for BOTH parents and kids in the coming year ahead as we expand our alliances and outreach…
If you want to get a flavor for her work…check out her imitation/insights on 10 Ways to Take Facebook Pictures Like Teens” where she satirically nails it and she also ponders the larger cultural zeitgeist in posts like, Cotton Candy Friends: 6 Ways Net-Gen Connections Are Changing.
And lest you think I can’t cut off at seven…well…you’re kinda right. 😉 Here are a few more faves that haven’t been mentioned, (most are sites, not blogs) This doesn’t include girl tech and gamers or STEM-femme inspirations which will be in a separate post…
Meanwhile, I’ve gotta get with the program, (literally!) to report on the Program for the Future!
So congratulations to the super ‘seven’ for All Things Girl and PLEASE add your own voice, offerings, faves/recommendations and random thoughts into the mix. Also, to uncork some conversation, see if you agree or disagree with the See Jane Win assessment on these two links below!
A Packaging Girlhood hardback book goes to those who send me THEIR top ten “all things girl” picks! (yah, I got by with seven, but that’s ’cause I’m windy) —Have at it! And don’t forget about our “Tee Party” slogan contest! (Gina, you could sweep this one judging by your What About Our Daughters tees!)
Grassroots Girl Power: Nourishing Girls Growth
Tween Club: SpinMamas (womens’ social adventure group) founder & friend Patti Church in Ottawa has brilliant ideas for engaging tween girls in adolescence, from ‘just try it’ experiences and first-time fun to identity quests and soul strengthening projects, like these ‘words of wisdom’ via girls mandalas.
Raising Smart Girls: I was going to save this one for my part three on women in technology and girl gaming, but had to share
Smart Girls Fun Blog: Ibid above; plus anti-consumption slant, lots of overlapping colleagues, fun ideas)
Gretchen’s blog, girls’ forum, girls stories; community, and my favorite category called (of course) Girls Who Can!
GHQ (Girls Headquarters) Tween & teenage girl talk, from poetry and passions to politics and youth culture
Write Girl.org: Empowering girls through mentorship and self-expression; great creative community
All Things Girl.net: Deb Smouse edits this ezine of poetry, blogs, prose and contributions by women for women, and it looks like it’s had a ‘major makeover’ in time for the New Year, but still has its regular columns ‘arts, writings, everything girl, man of the moment, and cover girl’ (archives are reposting soon)
In Her Image: Former New Moon maven Julia Barry’s blog about girl culture with links to cool stuff like Lauren Greenfield’s faculty guide to Girl Culture!
Project Girl: An awesome girl-led arts-based initiative with scalable ideas for media literacy that piggyback nicely with some of our counter-marketing pursuits; can’t wait to feature this one & find out more!
Teen Voices Online: “Because you’re more than just a pretty face” (full worthwhile ezine)
Girls Inc Online: Inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold (always a fave)
TeenInk.org: National teen magazine, book series, and website devoted to teen writing and art. (heavily written by girls!) I love the way they peel back the page at the top right corner and offer an ‘unedited’ version called TeenInk Raw where readers vote up a submission, offer advice, feedback in peer to peer mentorship with the top picks getting the prominence of moving to the main mag!
Beacon Street Girls (feature to come in January)
Smart Girls Know:
Packaging Girlhood (obviously!)
Girls Only/Dove Forum:
Teen Books with a Twist: Zest Books/Some Girl Favorites
Plus the rest of the ones we’ve highlighted during All Things Girl Week! (recap of links below!)
Shaping Youth’s All Things Girl Week Recap of Posts