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I've done it. I started feminist group for teenagers. What now?

(26 Posts)
Sarahjconnor Sat 10-Feb-18 21:56:05

I've spontaneously started a feminist group for teenagers. Just did it. What should be on the agenda for our first meeting?

QuentinSummers Sat 10-Feb-18 22:02:45

What they want covered?
Maybe read an essay and discuss it? We should all be feminists now by chimamanda adichie

Sarahjconnor Sat 10-Feb-18 22:07:50

They are an awesome bunch. Not sure what to cover. 2 have lost close relatives to suicide and 2 others alcoholism. Need to be very supportive as well as educational! So far I have been circulating articles and suggesting reading. Need suggestions. They are so lovely. I feel my role as a middle aged woman should be to guide and support and love them. Glad to have MN feminist board to turn to. thanks

traviata Sat 10-Feb-18 22:11:21

Everyday Sexism. Laura Bates and interview here
What is it? what does it mean? how do we respond? is it important? should we just get on with life and not be snowflakes?
what about the guys that we like, at school or college, should we diss them? what if they do these things?
the gender pay gap. Your teenagers will earn on average 22% less than their male peers. is that Ok? Why or why not?

AdultHumanFemale Sat 10-Feb-18 22:12:19

Anchor discussion in their own experiences as young women; let it be personal, while highlighting the shared experience of women as a class under patriarchy.
What a great thing to do flowers

TyneTeas Sat 10-Feb-18 22:13:06

This is a few years old now, but may give you some ideas for how to involve them in determining the direction

goodyzoe Sat 10-Feb-18 22:22:43

You need to find out where they're at.

First session bluetack a huge piece of paper to the wall (if they don't have a board) and ask them "what is feminism?".

Maybe also a question like "has feminism ever changed anything?" And see what they can come up with. Maybe keep that one as a running thing, they can add to when they learn new things feminism has changed.

It's an excellent way of finding out where they're at.

When I was in my late teens / early 20s I got involved with a peer-education drugs project. We'd go into schools and teach harm reduction stuff to teens (mostly myth busting and saying where to seek help if they needed it).

For the first session we always asked them "what drugs can you think of" as it gave us such a good insight as to where they were at, and we'd tailor the rest if the sessions to the info they gave us then. The answers were very different with different bunches of kids.

So useful, I've always done this when I can when delivering any kind of training.

GuardianLions Sat 10-Feb-18 22:23:24

I think it might be worth talking about porn culture

Sarahjconnor Sat 10-Feb-18 22:26:13

Thanks for suggestions. Agree that we need to root in their own experience - which in many cases is extremely negative. As one of them said on our group chat:

"As weird and fucked up everything gets, we'll always have each other"

It's good to meet and share, and care and eat and laugh, mostly at men and the stupid things they do. I am nicknamed TOC (The Old Crone) and dispense scathing riposte when sexist comments fly. Been meeting them all individually to provide support to them but its exhausting so Ive been slowly intruding them to each other as a support network and now we're meeting as a feminist group for the first time. I feel if I can support them over the next few years to escape their childhoods, they can get to uni and escape.

Sarahjconnor Sat 10-Feb-18 22:27:51


RatRolyPoly Sat 10-Feb-18 22:33:46

No specific advice OP, just wanted to say good on you and give you my encouragement smile

GuardianLions Sat 10-Feb-18 22:41:37

yes great job - try to engineer that it is women-only otherwise consciousness raising can't happen

AssignedPuuurfectAtBirth Sat 10-Feb-18 22:46:45

Yes! So well done for you

My 15 year old son is full on with my feminism, as opposed to the crap he sees online. I think the key is just talking to them

Sarahjconnor Sat 10-Feb-18 22:52:47

The first rule of feminist club is NO PENISES!

That was the first decision on group chat. grin

I have a feminist DS14 but this is different. This is women only.

OldBlueStitches Sat 10-Feb-18 22:54:32

Might be helpful to know what they think a woman is too.

And if they want the group to be closed to new members or open to anybody who wants to come.

And any other "rules" for the group - or any you want them to work with because you're running it. ie if they share personal stories in the group, what happens if someone repeats them to others outside the group? A good framework will make people feel more secure and offer solutions if someone behaves in a way the group finds unacceptable.

OldBlueStitches Sat 10-Feb-18 22:55:33

I've just seen your name..and think I recognise it: no abusing the shared toilet! 😂

UpstartCrow Sat 10-Feb-18 23:17:15

How about a group lending library?

Sarahjconnor Sun 11-Feb-18 15:00:59

A lending library sounds like a great idea - I can ask for donated books from friends smile

Yes, we're meeting in my offices and creepy men are banned from the building whilst we'[re in - let alone the toilet. Bleerrgghhh.

qumquat Sun 11-Feb-18 19:56:16

I'm a teacher and planning on starting a feminist club there. Inspired by what you're doing!

athingthateveryoneneeds Sun 11-Feb-18 19:59:21

Where can I sign up my DD? smile

BertieBotts Sun 11-Feb-18 20:06:33

Sounds brilliant! No ideas but love all of the suggestions so far.

Sarahjconnor Sun 11-Feb-18 21:36:10

I'm starting too form an idea of how we can learn, support, listen and share. It's going to be exhausting, but hopefully worthwhile. If you do @qumquat please come back to share.

BeUpStanding Mon 12-Feb-18 08:10:32

What a brilliant thing to do! A session on body image looking at how the media alter images of women using Photoshop would be good.

Sallytakingcontrol Mon 12-Feb-18 08:36:28

I started a women's group recently in an Institute at Cambridge University. I would say that Imposter syndrome may well be an issue with some of the girls. In my group we are looking at improving ourselves and our confidence, we are discussing things like 'what women do/say to undermine themselves' see Playing Big by Tara Mohr and generally supporting each other in the workplace. TED talks are a good source of material and I would totally second having a lending library. That's the route we are going down and building a collection of books. Fortunately I have the support of a strong female director of the Institute who really likes the idea of us self-mentoring. Good luck, what you are doing is great.

Sarahjconnor Mon 12-Feb-18 18:28:22

Brilliant ideas. Thanks so much.

Imposter syndrome and body image are so important.

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