Talk

Advanced search

Looking forward - supporting girls with becoming young women

(62 Posts)
xxyzz Tue 01-Dec-20 12:55:37

Two great pieces of news today: Keira's victory in court, and Joanna Cherry's (and allies) victory in Scotland.

Great to hear that the grown-ups are back in the building. But thinking about Keira's case, and about the future for women more generally, while today's judgement should notably call a halt to children (largely girls) undergoing unnecessary surgery and taking dangerous untested drugs in the UK, it won't on its own stop those same girls transitioning once they're a bit older. It's awful that we live in a society that is so misogynistic that young girls feel the only way they can achieve happiness is by opting out of being women altogether (via drastic surgery and dangerous, untested drugs).

As well as cutting off the supply of these drugs, we need to think about cutting off the demand, i.e. think about what is causing these young girls to hate their own, healthy, female bodies to such a degree.

All of us who are adult women know that female puberty is a difficult time, and many of us experienced misogyny and hence dysphoria too at that age. Is there more we can do to provide support, a welcome for young girls to the sisterhood? Very moved by Raquel Rosario Sanchez's tweet on this, addressed to Keira.

How can we help these girls to love who they are, the bodies they're in, to feel supported, and realise that despite the misogyny that they will undoubtedly encounter, being women is great, something to be welcomed, not feared?

Any thoughts welcome.

OP’s posts: |
persistentwoman Tue 01-Dec-20 13:01:09

Lovely post OP.
I don't have the answer. But I do hope that as the excessive gaslighting of children by organisations, the BBC, charities and self interest lobby groups reduces (and today's judgement will help a little) girls will be allowed to talk, think, explore and grow in a safe environment - rather than be caught up in a toxic ideology that labels any thoughts or actions not in line with Stasi central as 'bigotry'. It must be terrifying for girls trying to navigate all this.

FizzyDizzy121 Tue 01-Dec-20 13:02:18

This is exactly what we need for both sexes. Thank you for the idea OP

ArabellaScott Tue 01-Dec-20 13:05:13

Great idea, Keira.

I think highlighting strong role models, non-conforming women, lesbians, women of all creeds, sizes, colours, seems a good way to help.

I suppose amplifying these women who are already out there doing their thing.

I do think that moves to question sexism and stereotypes need to be gently but repeatedly made.

Supportive spaces for girls and young women online - websites, sources of good information, evidence based information, perhaps?

ArabellaScott Tue 01-Dec-20 13:06:21

Er, sorry, not Keira! Name is on the brain today! smile

OP.

midgebabe Tue 01-Dec-20 13:18:24

Happy to support however I can

But short on ideas through . I sort of feel that the commercial world likes stereotypes and that there is more pressure than ever for children to conform

Need to get stories out, real life stories, fictional stories , that cover

xxyzz Tue 01-Dec-20 14:03:35

Websites/forums aimed specifically at teenage girls? Kind of like the antidote to Teen Vogue et al?

I think back to the 90s and while the Spice Girls were not unproblematic role models, nevertheless, the idea of Girl Power was a positive.

I'm thinking something that firmly teaches girls that they are allowed to have boundaries, that violent porn and sex aren't required or 'normal', that they don't need a man to feel complete, that women come, as ArabellaScott says, in all colours, sizes, creeds, lesbians/straight/bi, GNC etc.

Aah, I have the name: Teennet, or TN for short.

I'll get my coat... grin

OP’s posts: |
xxyzz Tue 01-Dec-20 14:04:41

Or Minimumsnet grin

OP’s posts: |
xxyzz Tue 01-Dec-20 14:06:27

Youth wings of GC feminist orgs? Festival of women?

OP’s posts: |
FeedTheSparrows Tue 01-Dec-20 14:07:13

Keira's win is such good news and a victory for common sense!

One way of supporting girls with becoming women might be telling our own stories of puberty and teenage years and sharing any feelings we had of wishing we weren't female - because of all the sexism and ogling of females.

Getting those stories out there will be the harder part I imagine, given the publications that would have once carried such things have been captured. Then again there are 'blogs', self-build websites and FB groups now...

I certainly recall feeling pretty depressed when I started my periods (aged about 12), hated my breasts and wearing bras (up until my mid 20s) and around age 18 (and until my mid 20s) just did NOT want to look in any way feminine. I wanted to be tough and masculine so that no one (meaning men) would mess with me (meaning try to abuse or harass me) - and I did my best to be seen as 'a bloke' and 'one of the lads'.

Now I am a grown up (well, sort of) in my 40s I can look back on the younger me and see what was going on. I am so glad not to be a teenager/in my 20s now!

Surely loads of us have similar stories to recount?

PopperUppleton Tue 01-Dec-20 14:10:27

We need to start calling out the men and boys every single time. Yes, yes, we've been doing it for years (all my life!) but perhaps more coordinated campaigns to highlight the issue of misogyny and male violence against women and girls, making more and more noise. I know it has been and is being done, but keep shouting. I know I do.

xxyzz Tue 01-Dec-20 14:11:17

Great idea, FeedTheSparrows. Yes, I definitely hated my female body too as a young teen. This is so common, it's almost unusual not to experience it, I think.

But not a teeny tiny bit of me would wish now to have been encouraged to act on those dysphoric feelings. shock

OP’s posts: |
PopperUppleton Tue 01-Dec-20 14:12:06

Oh, and campaigns for better mental health support for all children and young people. Let's invest in our youth

xxyzz Tue 01-Dec-20 14:20:06

YY, Popper.

Maybe also a movement like Rock Against Racism, but aimed at genderism?

Somewhere GNC and lesbian girls, especially, can feel they belong, and is cool, that doesn't require wearing binders that break their ribs, taking dangerous, untested drugs or undergoing major surgery on healthy bodies for no reason, with resultant major health implications.

OP’s posts: |
xxyzz Tue 01-Dec-20 14:21:10

Feeding into the body positivity movement, which is well-established with that age group. More 'love the body you're in'.

OP’s posts: |
FeedTheSparrows Tue 01-Dec-20 14:25:42

xxyzz

Great idea, FeedTheSparrows. Yes, I definitely hated my female body too as a young teen. This is so common, it's almost unusual not to experience it, I think.

But not a teeny tiny bit of me would wish now to have been encouraged to act on those dysphoric feelings. shock

Thanks - and yes same. I hated having to wear a bra and having a bosom so much - it doesn't bear thinking about what I might have been encouraged to do if what is available on the NHS now was available back then.

I also have female friends who felt same, including one who insisted on being called Keith for many years of her youth!

mollscroll Tue 01-Dec-20 14:34:15

We got given a book for teens by some influencer or other Gemma Someone. Never heard of her. The page on periods began - Not Only Girls Have Periods. I threw it in the bin. I’m not sending it to Oxfam - I want it safely away from young eyes.

My next goal is to call out this sort of nonsense magical thinking. Children and teens think it’s gospel. It’s nonsense. I will also not use ‘trans child’ or any similar formulation.

Waiting for the day when MN allows us to stop using TW. Only women are women and girls should be able to look forward to being women. It’s not available to all.

Also waiting generally for MN to step up on this. The tide is turning ....Helping girls become women would be a fantastic MN campaign. Its not going to happen but it should happen.

theskyispink Tue 01-Dec-20 14:36:06

Excellent thread. I do think ultimately this all comes down to the proliferation of porn. It's the massive elephant in the room, the antithesis of women's rights, that needs to be tackled. Regulation badly needs to happen if not outright eradication.

ArabellaScott

Great idea, Keira.

I think highlighting strong role models, non-conforming women, lesbians, women of all creeds, sizes, colours, seems a good way to help.

I suppose amplifying these women who are already out there doing their thing.

I do think that moves to question sexism and stereotypes need to be gently but repeatedly made.

Supportive spaces for girls and young women online - websites, sources of good information, evidence based information, perhaps?

"I think highlighting strong role models, non-conforming women, lesbians, women of all creeds, sizes, colours, seems a good way to help."

This is no different than the quote that came from Teresa May when she was an MP in the 80s, saying that in order to stop girls becoming Lesbians they needed to be given good male role models.

Same shit different decade.

Why should you care what the people do when they're older!? Yes puberty is awful and one of the reasons I hated talking about my struggles was the patronizing attitude of most people. Like 'Oh yeah periods suck but its your body getting ready for having babies when you're older.' I'm childfree, periods serve no purpose to me what so ever.

"...a welcome for young girls to the sisterhood?" Ugh sounds like a cult and I feel physically sick right now.

I have never felt like most other girls, I have never been interested in their music, their shows, their celebrity crushes, their books, their fashion. How about instead of inducting people into the status quo and conformity, we support those who fall into the cracks and are ostracised?

melisande99 Tue 01-Dec-20 15:49:47

This is such a moving OP. I wish I had an answer. I wonder if a lot of it is an outcome of the atomised, commercialised, individualistic post-truth slacktivist world we live in. Girls need meaningful relationships and links to actual, resilient, joyful women doing real things in the real world (whether that's professional, voluntary or domestic), to ground them in solid reality and give them a strong foundation. And that, in turn, depends on a fair, healthy and family-friendly economy, among other things.

I must say I'm always a bit sceptical of the idea of offering up an array of "role models", as it's not always the best role models who push themselves forward and get public recognition, and it's only a shallow glimpse of them we get anyway, often fluffed up for public consumption with an "emotional journey" soap opera. But I do think girls need to see women at work in the world, kicking ass. Without it being made a big thing of like "look! A WOMAN, doing science, like a man, I bet you didn't know that was possible"."look! The first WOMAN to do X - aren't you grateful?". Just "here is Sarah, the CEO of X", kind of thing.

So... I realise that's not the most helpful post! Interested to read the thread.

melisande99 Tue 01-Dec-20 15:57:16

On a personal level, I will model body positivity for my daughter, as I really am delighted with my female body and all its functions, and so she may as well see that as a counterbalance to the negativity that exists (and understandably exists in many cases, e.g. those who have hellish periods)

Siameasy Tue 01-Dec-20 16:14:31

I don’t have the answer but I have a daughter
The problems are-the internet, keep kids off social media.
Porn
Sexualisation of girls through marketing, TV, clothes and toys
Gender woo obviously

midgebabe Tue 01-Dec-20 16:15:41

I think pidgeon you ate missing the point

The point is that many of us did fall through the cracks , didn't fit ( don't fit ) but have nevertheless managed to find a way of living that is both true to ourselves yet without any of the potentially harmful aspects that transitioning can involve

It's almost like normal is a lot more diverse than you realise

It's yesterday's trans teenagers that we are suggesting need to have their stories more widely acknowledged. Because trans identification is nothing new, people have felt that way through all of history. What has changed is that it now has a name and how we think it should be managed has changed. Historically it has really been treated as a mental health issue not a physical one.

Thelnebriati Tue 01-Dec-20 16:17:05

Changes have to happen at society levels to have any effect. I thought the new RSE would be a good start as it was supposed to tackle porn, male entitlement and male violence, but it seems to have been co-opted.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in