NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Breaking News

PortWatch

May 7, 2014

The Daily Parent: Using mother-daughter book clubs to raise confident girls

One of the most fulfilling and most memorable undertakings of my parenting journey was the formation of a mother-daughter book club, a collaboration with my then-8-year-old daughter and four other mother-daughter pairs that would last for six years.

We all discussed the need to counteract stereotyped and sexualized girl culture with positive messages about who girls and women really are and what they can do. As mothers, we wanted to work together as a “village” to develop open communication with our daughters early on, so our girls would be listening (and talking to us) when all the marketing and media messaging aimed at girls needed to be deconstructed and kept at bay. We knew it was becoming increasingly difficult to raise happy, healthy girls with good self-esteem in our increasingly shallow, beauty-obsessed society. We felt we could do a better job at this together than separately.

I also remember noticing how few of my daughter’s books had female protagonists, and of the ones that did, how few of those portrayed women and girls in strong, positive roles. I noticed that girls did not seem to mind reading books about boys, but that boys had no interest in — and, in fact, avoided — reading books about girls. I started talking to other mothers, teachers and colleagues about this and found that they all observed the same behavior, and all felt frustrated by it.

Research supported my observation. For example, in 1996, a wonderful movie came out: the film version of “Matilda” by Roald Dahl. Great book, great movie. But the movie bombed at the box office, and its production company went on record saying it would produce no more movies starring girls, because they were money losers. Girls went to see the movie, but boys stayed home, and thus the potential market was cut in half.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Special Features