Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Teacher, Author

Teaching Kids about Women’s Stories

Check out this post by Margot Magowan on Reel Girl. She asks the question, why does there have to be gender imbalance in made up worlds? What’s the deal with that?

The curse of the token feisty female in kids movies « Reel Girl.

I recently watched the movie Miss Representation with my 12-year-old daughter. She was saddened and frustrated by the way women’s stories are often not told in media, by the way that women and girls are often depicted as either a sexual object for males or as a token interesting female alone in a sea of dominant males. Maybe it’s because the majority of film makers, writers, directors, and producers are men, and they write from their own experience. I see some solutions to this problem.

  1. Encourage more girls and women to get involved in making media. From writing scripts to directing films, to learning how to use technology for editing, we need to provide girls and young women with opportunities to develop key skills involved in making media.
  2. Encourage boys and men to expand their vision of the world. As Joss Whedon who has written many strong female characters, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has shown, men can write strong female characters. Boys and young men need to bring the amazing women in their real lives into the stories that they hear, see, and write.
  3. Encourage adults to share women’s stories. The adults in a child’s life need to be sharing the stories of women with their own children. Stories of women who’ve worked hard to raise a family, fought for their dreams, achieved beyond anyone’s expectations, took care of those in need, all of these can be found in most of our families and close relations, and our kids need to be learning that women and girls have stories that are interesting, brave, and exciting.

From our own families to historical characters from sports to politics to academics, there are so many amazing stories of women out there waiting to be told! Let’s get busy sharing those stories with girls and boys, and teaching them to cherish women’s stories and character as well. We can change the way that women are depicted in media! A whole new generation of media makers are waiting right now to learn how to do that. Let’s be a part of making that change!

3 comments on “Teaching Kids about Women’s Stories

  1. lynneej
    February 20, 2012

    Really good reminder. I’m jappy that you share how we can help both boys and girls tell the stories.

  2. naomi
    February 19, 2012

    Yes we really should be telling our children stories of strong women and what they have achieved so that they can see that many women have been big influencers in the world.

  3. Pingback: Gender Balance in Children’s Literature | Lynley Stace

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This entry was posted on February 18, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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