Empowering Girls

Changing How We Speak to Girls

adult-businesswoman-company-325924“8 Ways to Encourage Girls to use Use Their Voices” by Allison Riley, from Girls on the Run, describes how important it is for adults to change how they speak to girls. I especially liked #1. Ask her, #2. Teach her that her voice matters, and #8. Encourage her to think critically when she sees conflicting messages. 

These are simple ways adults can help girls feel strong, valued, and empowered. Girls need to know that their voices are important, and unfortunately, they receive the opposite message every day. Consider this list from an article by Grace Weaver (also at Girls on the Run:)

Girls like pink.

Girls wear frilly headbands and bows.

Girls assume the role of a damsel in distress, not a superhero.

Girls are not messy.

Girls should be quiet.

Girls play inside with dollhouses, not outside with skateboards.

Girls like to look pretty.

Girls aren’t as tough as boys.

Girls like to read and do crafts.

Girls don’t need wilderness or survival skills.

Girls should be careful that their clothes don’t distract boys.

Girls are vulnerable targets.

When girls have the same opportunities as boys to explore, get messy, and experiment, they grow stronger and more confident. They become more self-reliant and daring. They are far more likely to think for themselves instead of accepting someone else’s opinion. These are the skills they need to succeed in life.

 

Announcements, Empowering Girls, Women in Film

Visionaries: Female Filmmakers 1910-Today

Screen Shot 2019-01-28 at 2.50.36 PMI’m happy to share Visionaries: Female Filmmakers 1910-Today. Girls’ Voices Matter staff member Kacie Clark researched and wrote this compelling and interesting account of eight important women in film. From Alice Guy Lache, born in 1873, who started her own film company in 1910, to Best Picture winner, director Katherine Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty) these women have broken barriers and created some of the most memorable work in film today. We hope this document will inspire you!

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Empowering Girls, Our mission

OUR STORY

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Girls’ Voices Matter is the daughter of Media Poetry Studio, an arts-based educational program for teen girls that started in 2014. Here’s the story of how Media Poetry Studio came to be:

In the Spring of 2014, California Bay Area Poets Laureate Erica Goss, Jennifer Swanton Brown and David Perez had an epiphany while discussing their plans as community poets. We wanted to reach out to young people, to involve them in creative writing, and make opportunities for them in the literary arts. Over several discussions, we developed a two-week summer camp for teen girls, one where they learned how to make short films based on their own poems. We called it Media Poetry Studio, and our students’ work can be viewed here.

In 2017, Erica moved to Eugene, Oregon, and began Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest, which changed its name to Girls’ Voices Matter in 2018. We offer a summer camp and workshops throughout the school year.

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Empowering Girls

If You Give a Girl a Camera

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I’ve always loved the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, which I read to my children when they were little. In the book, a boy gives a delicious chocolate chip cookie to a mouse. The mouse loves the cookie, which leads him to ask for things to go with it: a glass of milk, a straw to drink the milk with, a mirror to see if he has a milk moustache, etc. Soon the mouse is asking for a story, a nap, and eventually, another cookie.

When I discovered video poetry in 2012, I was just like the mouse: my curiosity led me in a number of directions. First I watched hundreds of videos. Soon I reached out to video artists, interviewing them for my column The Third Form. A year or so later, I began to experiment with making my own video poems, and soon after, ran Media Poetry Studio, a summer camp dedicated to teaching the art to teen girls. Now that I live in Eugene, Oregon, I’ve created Girls Voices Matter, a summer program dedicated to teaching teen girls how to make their own short videos.

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My “cookie” was a chance encounter at a writers’ conference in the winter of 2012. I wandered into a conference titled “Poetry Video in the Shadow of Music Video – Performance, Document, and Film.” When I entered Boulevard Room A at the Chicago Hilton and took a seat at the back of the room, I had no idea that my life would change. Now video-making is an important and growing part of my artistic practice.

 

If you give a girl a camera, what will she do next? Imagine the possibilities!

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Empowering Girls, Our mission

A Supportive Community For Girls

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At Girls’ Voices Matter, we believe in girls: their potential, their intelligence, and their creativity. We believe that giving a girl the tools to express herself is one of the most powerful things anyone can do.

Girls aged 11-17 are particularly vulnerable. Messages leap out at them everywhere, telling them how to look, how to think, and how to be. At Girls’ Voices Matter, we give the tools of image-making to girls, allowing them to tell us how they think and feel. This act of expression empowers girls in so many ways.

As an educator, I’ve worked with teen girls for many years. I’ve listened to them tell me about their lives, their stresses, the expectations placed on them, and their plans for the future. The passion of these girls to make the world a better place never ceases to impress me.

Our goal is to foster a supportive community for girls. We listen to them. We help them access their creativity. These are our future teachers, doctors, poets, and filmmakers. What are their dreams, hopes, fears and ambitions? How do they see the world?

Our mission is to help girls answer those questions for themselves.

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Empowering Girls, Women in Film

Reel Grrls of Seattle!

A Pacific Northwest original.

From the website:

Reel Grrls equips and empowers girls ages 11 to 21 to engage critically and creatively with digital media to create positive social change. Reel Grrls also provides media literacy training to help grrls, gender non-conforming youth, and male allies from diverse communities interpret and respond to the flood of gendered and racialized images and messages young people encounter in our media saturated world.

 

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Empowering Girls

Happy International Women’s Day!

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On International Women’s Day, I celebrate one of my personal heroines: Dr. Jane Goodall, who at the age of 83, travels 300 days a year to spread the word about conservation.

She sees hope in the “tremendous energy, enthusiasm and commitment of young people around the world. As they find out about the environmental and social problems that are now part of their heritage, they want to right the wrongs. Of course they do — they have a vested interest in this, for it will be their world tomorrow. They will be moving into leadership positions, into the workforce, becoming parents themselves. Young people, when informed and empowered, when they realize that what they do truly makes a difference, can indeed change the world. We should never underestimate the power of determined young people.”

Download 5 Ways Storytelling Empowers Teen Girls.