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While this one's younger than the girls who will be in our year group next year, and the article I read today from Lisa Bloom is also about younger girls, both still resonated with me. Lisa Bloom's article in the Huffington Post is called, How to Talk to Little Girls.
Here's one of her paragraphs:
Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What's missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.
Isn't that what we want for all our kids, whatever their gender?
My co-year adviser and I were talking today about what we want to establish, right from the start of next year in Year 7 (and before, in the contact we have with the kids) about who they are, what they can do and so on. We will be setting high standards and expectations, but based on them doing their best, whatever their best is. We want them to mesh and grow together and draw strength from the group ethos and principles. We want them to have the most number of doors and opportunities open to them; as many sunlit meadows as possible for them to explore. Big pictures like that come down to the small interactions such as those which tell them what we value, eg. appearance or character, and so on. So even if Bloom's article was about younger kids, it's still a useful read for year advisers.