Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

23 March 2009

Book Review: Supergirls Speak Out by Liz Funk

Supergirls Speak Out: Inside the Secret Crisis of Overachieving Girls could be loaned out at preschool or kindergarten orientation. It should be on hand for all elementary school teachers and administrators. Reading the stories inside is one warning shot after another to parents, teachers & others in our society who keep telling our kids, girls and boys, that if you don't do well in elementary school, you can't get into the top high school and then you might as well start picking out safe schools for college. I go on a lot about being in the Chicago Public School system, but it's true. That's the name of the game. Growing up in the suburbs in a one high school district, it was more about making sure you did well in elementary so you got into at least the honors track in middle/high school. So there is a lot of pressure to get kids going on the right foot & I'm all for that - except that subtle & not-so-subtle messages we give kids about screwing up (getting a B) in 3rd grade ruining their college hopes.

Funk agrees that there is a hook-up culture that is running rampant and talks about seeing it first hand. I have to say that I'm still leary that this phenomena is actually happening, especially when one quotes Laura Sessions Stepp as an expert.

As her first book, Funk has sought to expose what some say is the ugly under belly of feminism's daughter - trying to do it all, be good, sexy & perfect. I do think that many of feminism's messages have been heard wrong, poorly stated and that any movement has negative outcomes. But I believe that the fact that girls today still think they need to be perfect & "good" means that feminism still has a long way to go at breaking gender stereotypes.

Supergirls isn't as good as You're Amazing in talking to girls about the issue. I'd say that Supergirls is more for parents than the girls themselves. Maybe buy them together and give your daughter Mysko's book while you keep Funk around to keep your dreams for your daughter in check.

You can purchase Supergirls at an indie bookstore, thru Powell's or borrow it from your local library.

This review was cross-posted at Feminist Review.

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