Monday, May 31, 2010

Teenagers and Feminism

I'm just barely not a teenager, but I know it's super important for girls to be strong through their teenage years. As someone who has identified as a feminist for about as long as I can remember, I know that having the self confidence gained from my feminist identity helped me navigate my teenage years relatively unscathed. However, it is kind of hard to find specifically feminist publications and resources for teenagers. When I was in middle school, one of my favorite websites was gURL.com, which unfortunately in the years since, I think has become a little more similar to its parent site (seventeen.com, of Seventeen magazine), and less like a site devoted to straight up female empowerment. However, one of my favorite aspects, their section on body image/sex/mental health, appears to still be intact.

Here are some more notable resources for teenage feminists:

The F-Bomb: A blog by teenage feminists (moderated by a teenage feminist) about and for girls who want to be a little more assertive in getting their voices heard. Keep it up, girls!

Style Rookie: Style Rookie is written by a 13 year old fashion enthusiast. She is precocious as all hell, with a super quirky fashion sense and encyclopedic knowledge of all things pop culture and fashion... lots about things that happened before she was born. She is also a huge Sassy fan (amazing feminist magazine for teens that unfortunately, went out of business after it was bought by another company and made less... sassy...) and proud teenaged feminist.

The Education of Shelby Knox: This is a great documentary that goes highly recommended by both me (a hardcore feminst), and my public health major roommate (who, I am sure, after living with me for almost a year, knows a lot more about feminism than she'd ever thought she'd know) about a girl from Lubbock, Texas, who made it her personal goal to get comprehensive sex education in the classroom. Although Shelby personally believes in waiting until marriage, she still saw the importance of comprehensive sex ed when faced with the facts about high STD rates in her hometown. Her story is great and sad, but a true testiment to how one person stirring up some opposition can really start to make a difference.

Girls Inc.: I think this organization is great. Since 1864, it has been an organization devoted to helping girls, especially girls in urban and high-risk areas, become strong, independent women. They conquer everything from media-awareness to teen pregnancy to getting girls in math in science through great programming. There are chapters all over the country, so it's definitely possible to either participate in one of their programs or get involved in helping other girls.

New Moon Girls: In my head this is a throwback, but it is actually still currently published! When researching for my feminist magazine project, I read a bunch of magazines aimed at young girls and teenagers and asked my friends their thoughts about them. New Moon was a magazine printed on recycle paper that a few of us read and remembered as being specifically different from other magazines aimed at girls our age. In print and online, New Moon is a 100% ad-free zone made by girls for girls.

Teen Voices: is the "only alternative print magazine created by and for girls in the country." Teenage girls, through workshops and mentorship programs, learn how to express themselves on social justice issues and work towards creating social change through media. In print and online, the magazine offers opportunities to both girls all over the United States and in 13 countries, but also to college graduates to mentor these girls and help them create a brighter future through postive media.

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