Girls are the best because we are pretty! That’s it?

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This is one of the drawings coming from one of the youngest participants in my research (Kirsty, 8 years old; all names have been changed to protect girls’ identity).

During a bonding group session with 6 girls (8-9 years old) I asked the girls to make a drawing about what they thought it was the best thing about being a girl. Let’s consider that out of so many qualities, characteristics, situations, attributes…the girl has decided to focus on just ONE: perhaps the one aspect of being a girl that first came in her mind or the one that she considers more poignant, we don’t know about this.

What we know is that a 8 years old girl has made this drawing in response to the prompt: “why girls are the best?”.

In other girls’ drawings (with the exception of one girl who emphasised instead being imaginative, creative and fun) “prettiness” was a constant component, with girls referring to make-up, fashion and boys’ gaze.

I suggest that this kind of drawings are powerful, emblematic representations of the way young girls internalise media and society messages about being a girl/woman and as such their meaning should be taken very seriously.

 

4 thoughts on “Girls are the best because we are pretty! That’s it?

  1. I’d be interested to see her response if asked to draw multiple responses and rank them in order, as it would give this image a lot more context.

    Do you plan to do more of these in the future?

  2. This is indeed a very serious topic. As a primary school teacher, I can see that girls from an early age are focusing so much on external look. We are brainwashing them into thinking that the very purpose of women is only to “decorate” the world! What about teaching them in the same way other important qualities? Girls are to understand the real power of femininity and their very important function: participating in the evolution through their child creating skill: they are goddesses, not puppets to be dressed and groomed. We are terribly limiting our potential here! If from childhood we start to instill quite different values in these girls a change is possible​. I personally believe that parents should be the main guardians and that they need to be very attentive to the education of their children, but we also must ensure that the messages the children receive from the media are not overwhelmingly focusing on beauty and appearance. Thanks for all you do Francesca, I will follow this blog.

  3. Francesca, I would be curious to know…When doing your study do you talk to the parents afterward and give them suggestions as to what they can do to help their daughters? If you don’t, I think you definetly should. Your understanding and passion for feminism is something that needs to spread. An educated parent makes for a happier more well rounded young ladies.

  4. I agree with AJ!
    You should talk to parents, give them your suggestions. They are the ones mainly responsible of their children’s progress of thought, so they should know what to be aware of and give the appropriate advice!

    With the pretty girl images that baby girls see all the time from their tale books, dolls, cartoons, all the way to TV shows etc, I am not surprised to see them emphasize on their external look and appearance!

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