Category Archives: Kids and Teens

Female Adolescents in Need of Strong Role Models in Literature

Female Adolescents in Need of Strong Role Models in Literature

Hillary Clinton almost wrested the Democratic nomination for president last year. In endorsing Barack Obama she spoke of being unable “to shatter that highest hardest glass ceiling this time [but] thanks to you it’s got about 18 million cracks.” Clinton did for women what Barack Obama did for blacks. Women were no longer content to remain second class citizens; playing second fiddle to males and acting submissive to them.

Just as significantly as Clinton being a woman was the fact she had flaws . . . more than a few. It was her complexity that made her so compelling. She was someone women could identify with, not the perfect female heroine with the sizzling body and glowing personality. Women saw a lot of themselves in Hillary Clinton and supported her despite her failings.

Adolescent girls now more than ever need literary protagonists they can identify with – warts and all. Too often females are secondary characters (significant, yet subordinate). The Harry Potter series revolves around, well, Harry Potter (ironically proving a woman can create compelling male characters).

Adolescent girls, so confident in elementary school, face an identity crisis and a battering to their self-esteem beginning in middle school. As an educator for 28 years I’m the first to admit teachers are often to blame (girls aren’t as capable in math and the sciences far too many teachers believe. It’s rubbish, but that’s what pre-teen and teenage girls are taught to believe). Parents aren’t as involved as they should be so adolescent girls don’t get encouragement from the home.

Girls at this age need to read about others like themselves. They need to read about other girls who lack self-confidence, are full of contradictions, are childish, headstrong, selfish, jealous and bitchy. They need to see, too, that these same literary characters can be confident, inspiring, compassionate yet strong. They need role models who are able to make almost impossible choices and live with the consequences; female protagonists who can lead and accomplish as much or more than their male counterparts.

Teens have to read about girls who get knocked down, bloodied and battered, yet get up to fight another day. They need literary protagonists they can say, “That could be me. I’m not a freak. Others have the same self-doubts and insecurities as I have. I’m not alone . . . and I can prevail.”

Girls need strong-willed and flawed literary role models to shatter stereotypes that hold them back. Boys protect girls. They strut their stuff when their girl is challenged or endangered. Women couldn’t fight in wars until recently and even now can’t fight in combat units. Girls are nurses (not even doctors, for the most part) in relative safety behind the lines helping to patch up the wounded.

And we can’t ignore the double standard when it comes to sexuality. A girl who is sexually active is a slut or “easy.” Yet, sexually active boys are studs. On the other hand a girl who doesn’t let her boyfriend get to second or third base (much less home) is a tease. Is it any wonder girls are confused? Sexually, regardless how an adolescent girl responds she faces negative connotations, yet for boys to be aggressive is “manly.”

Where are literary role models to counteract these stereotypes? Far too few exist. And with the vast number of heroic males literature only reinforces stereotypes males have of females and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Boys lead and protect. Girls follow.

Authors need to follow the example of Hillary Clinton and provide flawed, complex yet heroic female protagonists. We need female characters who refuse to submit to their male counterparts. Female characters adolescents can identify with.

Youth – Measured Not by Skin But by Emotion

Youth - Measured Not by Skin But by Emotion

Youth is always denoted and identified by age and physically by the type of skin. Seriously, we distinguish the age of a person by merely looking at his or her skin; this human perception has brought different medical and technological innovations on how to attain a young looking skin even at the age of 50. Some medical laboratories call the process as skin rejuvenation, some call it as skin reborn, but however they call it, it would only mean one thing; and that is to spend a lot of money in exchange of a promise of youthful skin, but does anybody think that whatever treatment we do to our skin, time will still come that it needs to corrugate, rumple, and wrinkle. The action is not a practical practice considering the present situation of the world in terms of monetary aspects.

There are other mediums that will not just make you look young but also make you trendy. Dress young, this is the bottom line, all you need is to reinvent you and rediscover fashion.

Women are the victims of this wrong thinking. They were blinded by what the world has impart on them, that the skin is a reflection of youth and beauty. They have not taken their wardrobe to the highest level of consideration.

Fashion more than surgical operations and medical processes is more effective and definitely the most practical way to be youthful and beautiful. Indeed fashion means a lot, every woman can obtain what they want if they would impact on themselves and believe that they are youthful. The right wardrobe is just a store away; from wholesale ladies apparel [] to retail ladies accessories, these options are cheaper and at the same time can give you an overflowing confidence.

Who said that a 50-year old women cannot wear what a 20-year old lady can wear, as what we always imply, youth is not measured by age neither by her wrinkles, youth is measured by emotions. As long as you feel that you are young even the mark of times shows on your face, then you are young, that’s the most important. Who cares what other people will say about you, it’s not their life anyway. Which do you prefer burn money in surgery to attain younger looking skin, or be trendy with fashion as your medium and believe that you are young at heart?