The Grocery Line, The Swimsuit Issue, and Kids

Simone Marean thinks we can turn Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s controversial cover into a powerful, teachable moment with our kids.

Sports Illustrated is doing us a big favor. Next week they are releasing a swimsuit issue cover that showcases such an absurdly unrealistic version image of “beauty” that can serve us adults as a teachable moment for us, and our kids. Because they are making sure that this image is everywhere, everyone will have the …

Dear Friends, Drum roll, please….we have some major news about Summer Camp 2011! Read on for the exciting details. In the next month, we’ll invite all alumnae to return during a special registration period, followed by a welcome to new families to join us. Make sure that you’re in the loop for camp registration. Have …

Dear Friends, Spring has sprung! The longer days and colorful blooms are inspiring us to share our own stories of new growth: GLI is expanding to Boulder CO, and New York City! To kick it off we are running our first Spring Break Day Camp in New York at the Young Women’s Leadership School in …

The girls in Club Real Girl, our after school program, have me rethinking the power of gossip. We started Club Real Girl by asking girls about their interests and obsessions. One idea kept reoccurring: girls talking behind each other’s back. So we started our program by exploring just that. Twenty-four fifth and sixth grade girls …

Last week my mom, my little sister, and I went to see the latest Disney movie (the first to feature a black protagonist), The Princess and the Frog. As a feminist wary of the whole Disney Princess “some day my prince will come” thing, I didn’t get my hopes up and was prepared to leave the theater mildly annoyed at best and angry and offended at worst.

But in fact, I left the movie happily surprised. (***spoiler alert ahead***) Tiana, the protagonist, seems like a modern feminist herself—she’s a hard-working waitress who plans to open her own restaurant and doesn’t need a man to make her dreams come true. Tiana does eventually fall in love with Prince Naveen, a fun-loving yet lazy and materialistic guy; however, Tiana then teaches Naveen to cook and in the end the two marry and found Tiana’s dream restaurant together. With themes of gender equality and overcoming racial adversity and poverty, The Princess and the Frog seems like a feminist dream come true. (for more on its feminist themes, read this awesome blog post by Rose at Feministing:

The other day I gave my backpack a much needed cleaning and came across this to-do list:

Wednesday To Do:
1. 2 hrs AP US reading: Get as far ahead as possible
2.Study for APES test/finish review questions–1hr 3. Hamlet Annotations (Act III and re-read/annotate Soliloquy)—1hr
4.Math Worksheet/get ready for quiz—1hr
5.Spanish Subjunctive Packet+Check Answers—20 min
6. E-mail Jamie about fundraiser plans
7. Check out volunteering for Chesapeake Bay Foundation
8. Plans for weekend??
9. Model UN research-1hr
10. Start WOOSH! Blog Post-:30min
11. Practice Guitar/Music theory sheets
If there’s time: Outline Kenyon essays
And this was only one of twenty or so old to-do lists, scribbled on old scraps of paper and notebooks corners. As I looked them over, I noticed an unnerving trend: I hadn’t finished a single one.

In the anti-sexual assault community on my campus, there’s a lot of talk about “self-care.” We start every group meeting with a check-in about how we’re feeling and end every meeting affirming one thing we are planning to do in the next few days to take care of ourselves. We promote self-care since anti-sexual violence work takes a huge emotional toll on those in the community: in order to keep working in the field, we have to proactively work to prevent burnout.

With that said, self-care is a complicated concept. At first it doesn’t seem that way: usually, when going around the table in a meeting, people will say things like, “I’ll make sure I get enough sleep tonight,” or “I’m going to chill out and finally watch this week’s episode of Glee.” Now, getting sleep and watching Glee are great things. But beyond those one-time activities, how can we make sure to do self-care at times when we feel pressured to put everyone else’s needs first?

Lately, I’ve been in a lot of situations in which I’ve had to impress adults. For example, last month I held a fundraiser where I tried to persuade people to donate their time and money to bring glasses to people in the developing world. And, being a high school senior, I’ve had to put on my impressive face in the obligatory college interviews. I’ve been working hard to perfect my smart, mature presence, to be someone that these people could take seriously and respect. I’m confident that I’m a smart person and know that adults generally like me. I was expecting to completely rock out these situations. It turned out that flaunting my strengths and earning respect was much harder for me than originally anticipated.

This does not look like fertile ground for an emerging real girl, but this is where I am: on the tennis court. I dismissed tennis for years as elitist or exclusive. The truth is I am scared of it. Tennis is hard. When one isn’t naturally gifted at sports, one develops a sports philosophy that is anti-competition. This philosophy leads to yoga classes, leisurely bike rides, or relaxing (slow) jogs. Tennis, unlike these solo sports, is about winning, and therefore another person loosing. I am a progressive educator that usually doesn’t embrace this kind of set-up, but let me tell you, I am going for this.

It started this summer while attempting to play doubles. Even though we couldn’t get close to what I would call a rally, there was something energizing about being out on the court. As we walked off the court GLI Assistant Director, Julia Loonin, said to me, “That was fun!” “Yea,” I casually replied, not realizing that Julia was already thinking ahead to taking lessons.

I never was any good at playing the Good Girl game. Sure, I had the right parts and pieces. I came with the required two X chromosomes, two ovaries, and two breasts. And my mom paid the extra money for the gear: a helmet of insecurity, knee pads of perfectionism, and a quieted mouthpiece. On the first day of practice, I showed up prepared—physically, at least.

Even with all the right equipment, I could not wrap my head around the game’s objective. And I struggled immensely with the regulations—there were so many and you had to know them all to win. On top of that, every new opponent came with their own set of house rules. You never played good girl the same way twice.

I just couldn’t keep up and the other girls on the team took notice. At first, they helped me out. Girls pulled me to the side after practice. They spent one-on-one time teaching me moves. I picked up some things better that way but when game time rolled around, I contributed more to our losses than anything else.