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Female Adolescent Experience: Suggestions for a Course

The following discussion of suggested texts and strategies for a course
on "The Female Adolescent Experience" took place on WMST-L in July 1999.
For additional WMST-L files now available on the Web, see the
WMST-L File List.
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999 17:21:40 -0400
From: Betsy Keller <elkeller @ EROLS.COM>
Subject: Female Adolescence course materials?
I'll soon be teaching a course on "The Female Adolescent
Experience" and am seeking recommendations for favorite works on
that topic to include in my syllabus. I would like to use
articles, portions of books, short stories, a novel or two, and
films, both fiction and documentary. I would appreciate any
suggestions WMST-L-ers would care to offer.


Betsy Keller
elkeller  @  erols.com
Rutgers University, Comparative Literature and Women's Studies
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999 19:27:48 -0500
From: "Hovendick, Kelly B." <HovendickK @ UMKC.EDU>
Subject: Re: Female Adolescence course materials?
I'd highly recommend "Daughters of the Moon, Sisters of the Sun; Young Women and
Mentors on the Transition to Womanhood." By K. Wind Hughes. New Society
Publishers, Limited, Nov. 1997

Kelly Barrick Hovendick
hovendickk  @  umkc.edu

Kelly Barrick Hovendick
Reference Librarian
University of Missouri-Kansas City
108 Miller Nichols Library
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO  64110
816.235.1540     fax:  816.333.5584
hovendickk  @  umkc.edu
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 06:52:54 -0700
From: Glynis Carr <gcarr @ BUCKNELL.EDU>
Subject: Re: Female Adolescence course materials?
I had fun teaching Naomi Wolf's _Promiscuities_ last semester.  It concerns the
shaping of sexuality from heterosexual perspective
_Listen Up_ is also great book.
Finally, there is much fiction on the topic.
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 09:41:54 -0700
From: Sandra D Shattuck <shattuck @ U.ARIZONA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Female Adolescence course materials?
Anything by Rosa Guy (she writes young adult fiction, short novels, mostly
set in NYC, Caribbean immigrant experience incorporated -- _Ruby_ is
about two eighteen year old girls who fall in love), and _Rainbow
Jordan_ by Alice Childress (who wrote _A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a
Sandwich_ about Benjie, a 13 yr old drug user -- book was banned when it
came out in the 70s because of topic and street language). _Rainbow
Jordan_ has an adolescent girl as the central character.She's caught in
the foster care system and dealing with whether or not to become sexually

These are all excellent short novels usually catalogued under young adult
or juvenile fiction. I think everybody should read them!

Sandra D. Shattuck
shattuck  @  u.arizona.edu
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 13:11:38 -0500
From: Emily Toth <etoth @ UNIX1.SNCC.LSU.EDU>
Subject: Female Adolescence: Sports & Size
For the female adolescents course, I recommend looking at Joli Sandoz's
book A WHOLE OTHER BALL GAME, which I learned about from her postings on
this list a few months ago. It's exciting and empowering.

I'm going to be using it this fall in my Strong Women in Literature course
(unofficial title: "Tough Cookies").

I'd also recommend a pro-women of size book, such as Marilyn Wann's
hilarious FAT!SO? or Camryn Manheim's WAKE UP--I'M FAT!

Students enmeshed in eating disorders will find it liberating to read that
not only is it good to be strong, but it's also good to be big, to be a
Woman of Substance. (I think it's an Alice Walker character who says: "When
I come into a room, you know there's somebody there.")

P. S. Thanks to those who contributed thoughts on Brandi Chastain's
gesture. I should have said in my original post that I am interested in
ways to talk about it for my "Tough Cookies" course. Joan was right to pull
the plug because I didn't.

P. P. S. I wonder why it is that only men can be "stuffed shirts." Hmmm.

Emily Toth
Professor of English and Women's Studies
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
English Dept. fax: 225-388-4129
etoth  @  unix1.sncc.lsu.edu

                  RECENT BOOKS BY EMILY TOTH:
    Ms. Mentor's Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia--University of
Pennsylvania Press, 1997
    Kate Chopin's Private Papers (with Per Seyersted and Cheyenne
Bonnell)--Indiana University Press, 1998
    Unveiling Kate Chopin--University Press of Mississippi, 1999
    View Ms. Mentor's column: http://www.chronicle.com/jobs
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 14:17:29 EDT
From: Huddis @ AOL.COM
Subject: Re: Female Adolescence course materials?
With much enthusiasm, I recommend Barbara White's superb book _GROWING UP
Studies #59 from Greenwood Press, 1985.
Some quotations: "Significantly, the image of the cage, or the trap, is the
most common image in novels of female adolescence." (p. 160)

Oh well, no more quotations or else I'll just type the whole book in.  It's
really good.  White's list of novels and her thoughts about them are really

And I also want to ditto Sandra Shattuck's recommendations of Alice
Childress' _RAINBOW JORDAN_ and the Rose Guy novels, and add to them Kristin
Hunter's collection     of short stories _GUESTS IN THE PROMISED LAND_.

Susan Koppelman <<huddis  @  aol.com>>
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 14:45:26 -0700
From: J Poxon <poxon @ SACLINK.CSUS.EDU>
Subject: Re: Female Adolescence course materials?
I'd recommend taking a look at _Sweet Secrets: Telling Stories of
Menstruation_, ed. Kathleen O'Grady and Paula Wansbrough. It's
sensitively written and very accessible.


Judith Poxon
poxon  @  saclink.csus.edu
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 16:17:08 +0000
From: Robin Murray <rmurray @ WORTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Re: Female Adolescence course materials?
You might look at an anthology entitled *Growing Up Female*. I don't
have it in front of me to give you the bib info, but it's inexpenxive
and in paperback.

rmurray  @  worthlink.net
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 1999 15:14:59 -0400
From: Arlene Scala <scalaa @ NEBULA.WILPATERSON.EDU>
Subject: Female Adolescence course materials? -Reply
Regarding recommendations on books dealing with female adolescence, I
recommend "The Last TIme I Wore a Dress," by Scholinski, a book about
a transgendered female and her family's and society's response to her.
I also love Cisneros' "The House on Mango Street."

Arlene Holpp Scala
William Paterson University
Wayne, NJ 07470
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 10:36:47 -0400
From: mary krueger <mkruege @ BGNET.BGSU.EDU>
Subject: Re: Female Adolescence course materials?
I definitely would include "Meeting at the Crossroads," "Reviving Ophelia"
and "Ophelia Speaks" (all of or excerpts from).

Also highly recommend "Girls Like Us," which is a compilation of essays,
short stories, and poetry by well-known and/or accomplished women (ex:
Isabel Allende, Margaret Atwood, M.W. Edelman, Wilma Mankiller, Faye
Wattleton), on the topic of girlhood.

Mary Krueger, Ph.D.            Suite 108 Hanna Hall
Director, Women's Center        Bowling Green State University
Adjunct Faculty, Women's Studies/    Bowling Green, OH  43403
     Family & Consumer Sciences        419-372-7227; 419-372-6020 (fax)

    "Life is meant to be a dedication, not simply a pastime."
            --Georgie Anne Geyer
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 07:32:10 -0500
From: Mev Miller <wplp @ WINTERNET.COM>
Subject: Re: Female Adolescence course materials?
From the Women's Presses Library Project:

Present Tense: Writing and Art by Young Women,
Micki Reaman, editor and Calyx Young Women=B9s Editorial Collective,
1996    0-934971-53-6    P    $14.95    176pp.
This anthology showcases the original art and literature of women 
linked by their youth, women of different sexual orientations, 
ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds. At different moments, this 
literature is multicultural, post-industrial, chick 
lit, and experimental. Always, it is striking and utterly 
contemporary. Poetry, short stories, photography and other works of 
art included.

Talking Up: Young Women=B9s Take on Feminism,
Rosamund Else-Mitchell and Naomi Flutter, editors,
Spinifex Press
1998    1-875559-66-3    P    $14.95    239pp.
Twentysomething women talk about living their feminism=8Bwhat they 
do, how they do it and why they choose to do it as feminists.   
Though these women are writing in their twenties, several of the 
contributors reflect on their teen years.

These titles are available at your local feminist or independent 
bookseller. If you have difficulty locating them, please let me know.
Mev Miller

Women's Presses Library Project
..keeping women's words in circulation
Mev Miller, Project Coordinator
1483 Laurel Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104-6737

651-646-1153 /fax

wplp  @  winternet.com
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 14:21:53 -0400
From: Betsy Keller <elkeller @ EROLS.COM>
Subject: use of debates in wmst class on adolescence?
For my upcoming class on "the female adolescent experience" I'm
trying to plan a series of in-class debates on certain issues
relevant to the course. I'm doing this partly to get the students
more actively engaged in the course material and to give them
something besides written work to be graded on. (less eyestrain
for me too, I hope) However I have never tried debates in class
and would love to have some advice about how to effectively guide
the students through the process. This will probably be a class of
10 to 15 or so students, likely to be mostly female and
middle-aged. The topics I have come up with so far are teen
pregnancy, causes of eating disorders, lack of fairness for girls
in schools, and Carol Gilligan's theories of girls' moral

Does anyone have thoughts about useful debate topics and/or debate

Thanks in advance--

Betsy Keller
elkeller  @  erols.com
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 14:27:41 -0400
From: Jeannie Ludlow <jludlow @ BGNET.BGSU.EDU>
Subject: Re: use of debates in wmst class on adolescence?
>Does anyone have thoughts about useful debate topics and/or debate

Hi Betsy, and all,

One procedure I use in class is a "constructed" debate.  All students are
expected to prepare (using mostly in-class materials--assigned readings,
etc.) to argue both "sides" of an issue.  On the day of the debate, I
assign the students to a side (usually arbitrarily), and put the resolution
to be debated on the board.

Students have 10-15 minutes to strategize, and then we begin.  When there
is about 20 minutes left in the session, I stop the debate and tell them
that they have to trade positions and decide on the most effective
arguments in favor of their new side.

This asks students to think a bit more critically, and to pay close
attention to what is said during the debate process.

This usually works very well; students get the point that the purpose of
the debate is learning (rather than "winning"), they really listen to each
other, and they often come up with fantastic ideas and arguments.

Of course, I do always speak with them about the problems of
dichotomization within the debate process.  Has anyone had any luck with a
3- or 4-sided debate process?

Best of luck!

The world begins at a kitchen table.  .  .  . / /
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laugh-
ing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.
    --Joy Harjo (Muscogee) "Perhaps the World Ends Here"

Jeannie Ludlow                         jludlow  @  bgnet.bgsu.edu
American Culture Studies                       (419)372-0176
Women's Studies
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green OH 43403
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 13:36:48 -0500
From: Emily Toth <etoth @ UNIX1.SNCC.LSU.EDU>
Subject: Re: use of debates in wmst class on adolescence?
Debates, if you mean arguing one side or another, don't work too well for
me in WS classes, mostly because women students are reluctant to take a
stand against each other. (Male students love to stake out turfs and see
who wins.)

What works better for me is to have students discuss issues in small groups
and come up with lists of important points (e. g., in what ways were you
treated differently from the boys in school?) Then the whole class comes
back together, shares their lists and their stories, and adds to the lists.
That kind of sharing-adding works better for me than the adversarial style
that a debate usually seems to mean.  And it, of course, supports
Gilligan's points.

Then again, I may not entirely understand what you mean by debate--

Emily Toth
Professor of English and Women's Studies
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
English Dept. fax: 225-388-4129
etoth  @  unix1.sncc.lsu.edu
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 15:03:05 -0400
From: Diane Elizabeth Curtice <dcurtice @ STETSON.EDU>
Subject: Re: use of debates in wmst class on adolescence?
In the past, I have noticed several difficulties in the management of
direct debates in WS classes; however, a few years back I participated in
a experiment that I hope to apply when the opportunity arises.

The work group was divided into several "lobbies" whose political and
social standards we were to represent in editing the mock first draft of
legislation regarding the definition and repercussions of divorce issues
(including social security benefits, child care, and retraining).

In the process, we were assigned readings from several figures within
these lobbies and were required to discuss among ourselves how these
figures represented the mainstream of their lobby before the complete
group finally met to edit the legislation.

While I cannot speak for members of other lobbies, when the lobby I was
assigned to met for a final review, several of the others seemed to be
quite impressed with the exercise.
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 17:32:35 -0400
From: nbenokraitis @ UBMAIL.UBALT.EDU
Subject: Re: use of debates in wmst class on adolescence?
On Wed, 21 Jul 1999, Betsy Keller wrote:

> The topics I have come up with so far are teen
> pregnancy, causes of eating disorders, lack of fairness for girls
> in schools, and Carol Gilligan's theories of girls' moral
> development.

Fine, but don't forget that Gilligan's *In a Different Voice* was based on
an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, self-selected (with few males in the "study")
group (not sample, much less "random" sample, as Gilligan describes her
"methodology") of upper-middle class white women at a privileged
institution. In fact, I sometimes use Gilligan's roughly one-page
description of her "methodology" for my Research Methods classes to
illustrate one of the most flawed examples of a research design that I've
ever seen. (I'm sure the WMST-L archives house at least several previous
discussions on this thread that suggest numerous references which have
addressed Gilligan's "methodology.")

And, as someone else noted, how does one define "debate"? If the debates
are based on "theories" (used loosely), Gilligan's stuff is terrific and
thought-provoking. If the debates are based on data, however, and
especially national data and analyses, that's a whole other matter. There
are also interdisciplinary issues to consider. I've team-taught some
courses with faculty from Literature, Philosophy, History, and Psychology
over the years, enjoyed every minute, and probably learned more than our
students did (alas). The "data" that we (faculty) agreed was "strong" or
"weak" varied considerably by discipline, however (e.g., micro versus
macro perspectives).


Nijole (Niki) Benokraitis, Professor of Sociology
University of Baltimore, 1420 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21201
Fax: 410-837-6051; Voicemail: 410-837-5294; nbenokraitis  @  ubmail.ubalt.edu
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 14:37:33 -0400
From: Martha Charlene Ball <wsimcb @ PANTHER.GSU.EDU>
Subject: Subject: Re: use of debates in wmst class on adolescence? (fwd)
One of our graduate students asked me to forward this message to the list:

I have years of debate experience and as a feminist i feel that debate,
especially if done in teams, is a very effective way to stimulate students
to explore an issue, while insuring a "voice" to those who may not be so
willing to debate in open an open class discussion.

Normally in team-style debate, you have two teams composed of 2-5 people.
I think 4 people works best. Although as feminists we hate to work in
binaries, usually it is best to assign one team as "for" and another team
as "against." And actually what often results at the end of the debate is
a much muddier issue, and any chance of a simple binary explanation is
broken down. You can assign the topic a couple weeks in advance and have
students work on it in class (or outside class), but in order for the
exercise to be successful the will need to work as a team putting outside
research and thought into their position.


The first person on the "for" team makes an opening statement, which
should include definitions of key terms (usually 3-5 minutes prepared in
advance) Then the first person on the second team makes an opening

The second person on each team does a cross examination, in which they get
to ask the other team questions about their position, relevant info, the
definitions they are using, etc. (again this should last 3-5 minutes)

The third speaker on each team does rebuttal for 3-5 minutes (addressing
other teams statements and anything raised in cross examination - this is
harder to prepare in advance but if they have spent time research, it
can be one of the most empowering aspects of the exercise).

The final person on each team gives a summary/closing. (3-5 minutes)

A couple of key things to remember -
        1)it is very important to keep time (this is designed for a 75
minute class)
        2) keep debate topics simple - one sentence
        eg: Our education system treats all children equally

        3) the "against" side  doesn't necessarily have to present a
negative agrument
 eg: (for the above example) the against side could talk about
        economic resources or public vs. private schooling, hidden
        around gender
        4) do not declare a winner but have students talk about who made
a more convincing argument and why

This may seem complex, but i have seen high school students do this quite
successfully.  Students can grasp a lot more than we often give them
credit for.

I hope this helps

Peggy Finster
Masters Student in Women's Studies
Georgia State University

M. Charlene Ball, Administrative Coordinator
Women's Studies Institute
Georgia State University
Atlanta, Georgia  30303-3083
404/651-1398 fax
wsimcb  @  panther.gsu.edu

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