Elevate Difference

Girls Speak Out: Finding Your True Self

Founded in 1994, The Girls Speak Out Foundation for girls ages 9-15 is the brain-child of Andrea Johnson and Gloria Steinem. The second edition of Girls Speak Out: Finding Your True Self incorporates the interactive exercises, vignettes, poems, short stories, etc. brought to you by budding feminists who have participated in the program. The scheme of this program and of this book is two fold. One objective is to amass stories of soul searching of a group of girls, while the other is to inspire more girls to magnify their struggles and triumphs in a heteronormative world. In this book, girls "speak out" about topics that are traditionally "reserved" for adulthood. These young women exercise their girl power as they challenge male supremacy and the latent subjugation of women instituted by marriage, motherhood, religion, and education. The strength of this text is the juxtaposition of its language and subject material—accessible to the targeted age group but sophisticated and readable enough for women of all ages. This book may not stand out on the shelves without purposeful exhibition, but hopefully, Girls Speak Out will make its way into the hands of young girls around the globe with the help of veteran feminists. The content of the book is piecemeal and Johnson and Steinem could stand to use a work like Our Bodies Our Selves as a paradigmatic design for subsequent editions. In the forward and introduction, Steinem and Johnson allude to their hopes that mothers, "other mothers," aunts, and older sisters will pick up this book, review it and pass it along. Girls Speak Out covers a broad range of topics from women’s global history to maintenance of self-esteem within sexist social systems. Johnson provides a useful annotated bibliography at the back of the book. This list incorporates a culturally diverse set of authors that some young women may never encounter in public school. Look out Girl Scout leaders of America! The young women of The Girls Speak Out Foundation have seized the torch of feminism from Johnson and Steinem. Peddling cookies is not on the agenda.

Written by: Aaron Nugua, December 20th 2006

Ha, peddling cookies is not on the agenda! Good one :)