Ban-Bossy-Quote-Graphic_Jennifer-Garner1We might not be able to remember how many winters Erin has lived in New York, but that won’t stop us from tackling the “big issues” of the day including letting teenagers run wild on the internet; putting the sex back in sex ed; banning bossy (and blonde); raising girls and boys, and why mom shouldn’t buy her son a cup.

Links mentioned: Apple’s Holiday Ad Starring Loner Teen Will Make You Cry (Ad Age) | Let Kids Run Wild Online (Time) | danah boyd It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens | Put the Sex Back in Sex Ed (Time) | Ban Bossy. Encourage Girls to Lead | The Problem With Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Ban Bossy’ Campaign (NY Magazine) | Disney Princesses Don’t Need A Man! (Video) | Pantene Breaks Down Every Sexist Workplace Stereotype in One Ad

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2 Responses to Podcast: Words Matter

  1. Erica Ziebarth says:

    I am loving this weeks podcast. We are dealing with the online stuff and lacrosse for the first time this year. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lisa says:

    Loved many things. On texting: a huge YES! to talking about netiquette and not writing something that will get you in trouble later. That may need to be a regular reminder. I happen to know two adults who were direct-messaging each other on Twitter and wrote something that, unfortunately, was also shared with all of us who follow them and shouldn’t have been. It was also a good reminder that when people get in groups, even small ones, that energy and group-think sometimes leads people to decisions they later regret. I suspect texting in groups of friends tends to act the same way.

    On words, with the “blond” vs “bossy” discussion: I completely hear what Kristen was saying, because most of the time when we describe a girl’s behavior as bossy, it means she’s being verbally aggressive rather than assertive. And we (hopefully) use the same word to describe the same behavior from boys, i.e., “stop bossing your sibling around.” Banning the word is unlikely to help; either we need to make sure that we’re not only applying it to girls, or better yet, we need to tell children what we’d like to see rather than telling them what we don’t want to see (“Please ask her which dress she’d like to wear rather than tell her,” or “please listen to what your friend wants to do too, and then see if you can work in those ideas too.”). But in the story Kristen told about the dad and his boys in the pool and his little girl, the problem wasn’t even the words so much as it was the attitude behind it. He’s interacting with them in a game that’s so out of hand that balls are landing on people stuff and on people (ok, maybe not out of hand, but I don’t have boys), and then he tells his little girl to get it and is MEAN when she’s not fast enough. Why didn’t he get one of the boys to jump out and get it? It’s not like he was including her in the game, so I’m not particularly clear why he thought it was ok to make her run their errands and then insult her! The fact that it the sentiment was echoed by the brothers really made me suspect this is a common theme in the house–“boys will be boys” and “boys will insult girls who don’t jump to clean up their messes fast enough.” Blond there was clearly an insult, and not only to the little girl, but to her mom and frankly, to pretty much any women in the area. It’s too bad the time the ball landed on Kristen wasn’t after that, so she could have stood up, and either beaned the guy in the head and said “oh sorry! I’m blond and must have thrown that oh so badly” or alternately, told him to get control of his balls and walked that one to the nearest trash can (provided you were ready to make your dramatic exit). At any rate, I can totally see where she’s coming from.

    One last thought, this on needing a man: this is a need vs want issue. Perhaps our society would be better off if the dialogue was about men and women wanting a partner to go through life, rather than about women needing a man to get through life. In Frozen, what happens between Anna and Kristoff is left open. Maybe they get married later, maybe they don’t, but their relationship is based on having equal power. That’s a good thing. I think it’s in the nature of relationships that we do come to depend on each other–in good ways. But that’s different from the teenager or young woman who thinks she is in love with a young man who’s clearly a bad match–but who’s willing to put up with all sorts of crap (or abuse) because she doesn’t thinks she’ll ever find anyone else, you know? Sure, your parents tell you there are other fish in the sea, but I didn’t believe it at that age. So “Frozen” is a lovely example of this, as Anna falls for a guy who literally leaves her to die, and while she does depend on Kristoff during the course of the movie, their relationship begins as a business partnership. The sisters can depend on each other, and Anna is free to decide that she wants to be with Kristoff rather than she has to–as the thought was the case when she was thinking he needed to kiss her. So there is a role for boys–and I don’t think anyone was arguing that we didn’t–but it’s not as someone who necessarily swoops in to save us.