Thursday, September 25, 2008


I've been mulling over this topic for the past week or so. A fascinating article, via our local NPR station, interviewed author Wendy Shalit. A graduate of Williams College, she has written on the idea of 'rebellious good girls' in light of today's cultural norm. She challenges the status quo and rebuffs the myth of 'modest = prude'. Her research on the 'norm' is concerning to say the least. We've all heard the statistics but the teen/young adult lexicon was news to me to some degree. I have witnessed however the visual language woven into female fashion these days, all the way down to glitter on toddlers' bikini underpants. This begs the chicken-and-egg question, who is demanding this stuff, who is creating this 'language', what exactly came first?

Wendy's insightful and first-hand look at 'temporary relationships' and the grooming of self-esteem is eye-opening indeed. While she offers many possibilities regarding sources she also suggests a growing trend of girls who don't equate being 'bad' with being liberated. Refreshing, that young women have taken it upon themselves to reevaluate the roles fashioned for them. Wendy spins and compares the 'good' versus 'bad' regarding perceptions of being repressed versus 'intrinsically expressing individuality'.

Her books have been praised as 'brave', 'illuminating', 'provocative', 'heartbreaking' and 'optimistic'. Her tone as I heard it was not preaching or naive rather persuasive and confident. No doubt she cited examples of mockery and intolerance toward her views (I do so love my 'Sex and the City' reruns, I must admit I first listened with some hesitance). What resonated with me however, was the likening of this revolution to that of our predecessors as an effort toward independence, integrity and recognition.

paper dolls for today found here.


Julia said...

I need to read more about Wendy, but just the ideas you've expressed in this post are intriguing to me. I grew up feel ashamed of the fact that I still liked playing dress-up at age 13. I wonder how a little girl's desire to play "dress up" translated to being "dressed up." Does that make sense. As a women starting to think about starting a family, I'm very interested in hearing about women who challenge the norm. Who bring hope instead of fear. Who praise revolution in thought in this area!

Thank you for posting Tyler! Thank you!

pve design said...

I am all for a good girls revolution and being never too old to play paper dolls.

Mrs.French said...

thank goodness...we need women like Wendy to help make the world for our little girls a less stereotypical one....oh and good mommas like you don't hurt.