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Women's Studies for Pre-Teens

       The following discussion of Women's Studies for teens and pre-teens took 
place on WMST-L in March 1999.  Of related interest may be the 2-part file
Growing Up Female in Fiction and Film.   For additional WMST-L files now
available on the Web, see the WMST-L File List.

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 08:56:16 -0500
From: Linda Driscoll - 748-1723 <LDRISCOLL @ TRENTU.CA>
Subject: WS for pre-teens
We have been asked to prepare a one-day women's studies seminar/workshop for
 a group of 12/13-year-olds and have no idea where  to begin. We're looking
for any and all suggestions ranging from what to teach to how to teach it to
this age group (male and female together). Videos? Suitable readings? Topics
we shouldn't broach? Any advice at all is welcome.


Linda Driscoll

Women's Studies Department,
Trent University,
Peterborough, ON
K9J 7B8

ldriscoll  @  trentu.ca

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 07:57:16 -0800
From: SCN User <kirstena @ SCN.ORG>
Subject: WS for pre-teens
That is such a great idea I cannot believe I did not think of it before! I
want to do a teen women studies class...that is a great idea.

You could use Ann Simonton's videos about WOmen and the Media...she is at
www.mediawatch.com. And then go buy a few fashion magazines and then maybe
a fat positive mag like Radiance...I don't know. I am going to think about
this but I think my production company is going to offer a teen women's
studies workshop...that has such potential. Do people teach women's
studies in high school? Why not? Could be a whole new area of employment
for women studies graduates! I think talking about goddesses would be good
too. Or women centered spirituality like Budapest or B. Walker...That
would be good to slip in there...hmm...food for thought, indeed!

Please post what you come up with.

kirsten anderberg
kirstena  @  scn.org

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 09:05:57 -0700
From: Kelly Barrick Hovendick <kbhovend @ U.ARIZONA.EDU>
Subject: WS for pre-teens
I think that an excellent place to start would be with the National
Women's History Project website www.nwhp.org.  It has a wonderful list of
resources for all age groups.  Their catalog is full of terrific books,
videos, promo stuff as well.  Good luck.  This is very exciting and
something that I've thought about doing as soon as I'm finished w/ my
masters.  Let us know how it goes.

Kelly Barrick Hovendick
kbhovend  @  u.arizona.edu
Kelly Barrick Hovendick       *
Graduate Student,              *      Jobs Coordinator,
University of Arizona, SIRLS    *     Library Students Organization(LSO)

"Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men;
they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with
absolute truth."     -Simone de Beauvoir

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 11:10:55 -0500
From: Martha Charlene Ball <wsimcb @ PANTHER.GSU.EDU>
Subject: WS for pre-teens
Another magazine that would be good to use is HUES, a magazine by and
for young women that emphasizes diversity and positive body image for
young women who are more than thin.

M. Charlene Ball, Administrative Coordinator
Women's Studies Institute
Georgia State University
Atlanta, Georgia
wsimcb  @  panther.gsu.edu

I dwell in Possibility --
A fairer House than Prose --
            (Emily Dickinson)

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 08:57:30 -0800
From: jharlan @ WEST.NET
Subject: WS for pre-teens>
For 12 to 13 year olds, I bet you'll have a mix of relatively
sophisticated and jus barely developing girls. (Your class will be 7th

Here's one of the best feminist mags for girls; Hues is owned now by the
same company: New Moon Magazine is for younger, adolescent girls

I think it would be interesting to have them read bios of women
scientists, politicians, etc, and to discuss the fact that history
focuses on the male point of view as well as male exploits. Women are
sidebars. The challenge would be to put women back into history for kids
the way Anderson and Zinsser have attempted for adults. I'm not a
historian, so would appeal to those who are to discuss this aspect and
resources on it. (The Feminist Press is doing a series of bios now on
women for this age group.)

Another exercise that I saw on this list about a year ago for older
students may work well, too. Challenge the students to go out into the
community and test  gender boundaries. What happens, for example, when a
male and female enter a computer or skateboard store; who gets the sales
clerks' attention? Or, have them attend sports events of the boys teams
and girls teams, comparing parental involvement and noting if there is a
difference in attendance by cheerleaders. Or have the boys masquerade as
girls on Halloween and vice versa to note any difference in treatment by
people they meet.

Sounds like a fascinating and truly educational experience for the kids,
and I, too, will be looking forwrd to hearing others' responses to your

Judith Harlan
jharlan  @  west.net

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 20:47:05 -0600
From: Jacqueline Haessly <jacpeace @ USER3.STRITCH.EDU>
Subject: Re: WS for pre-teens
Before beginning with the pre-teens, I'd suggest asking the adults
involved to read Elizabeth Minnich's book "Transforming Knowledge", and
ask people to identify from there the relevant issues for education in
general.  Perhaps also read bell hooks, "Teaching to Transgress".  Then,
see what could be done to transform all of the curriculum in a way that
might change perceptions, understandings, and behaviors for both young
women and young men.
Jay Leno had a disturbing segment on his "Tonight" show last week, the day
after International WOmen's Day.  The segment involved "on-the-street"
interviews with about five or six young women, some who were themselves
teachers, as well as college students and women who worked at a variety of
other occupations.  Jay asked the women a series of "women's history"
questions, and all missed!  Shows that young women, including pre-teens,
could benefit from such a program you propose.
PLEASE NOTE NEW EMAIL ADDRESS -  jacpeace  @  user3.stritch.edu
Peace, Jackie
Jacqueline Haessly  (former email-jacpeace  @  acs.stritch.edu)   Image Peace!
                          Peacemaking Associates
2437 N. Grant Blvd.        Milwaukee, WI            5321O-2941
Phone:  414-445-9736                                Fax:  414-444-7319

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 22:35:57 -0500 (EST)
From: Susan Birns <SBirns3907 @ AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: WS for pre-teens
In my research with formerly battered women (American), many of them suggested
that we teach preteen girls about what constitutes healthy and unhealthy
relationships (from the perspective of power and control) - for instance, that
excessive jealousy means danger, not love.  I suggest dealing, in some way,
with violence against women, but time is likely to be a problem.
Susan Birns, Ph.D.
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
sbirns3907  @  aol.com

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 07:25:30 +0000
From: Bonnie Woods <bhwoods @ MINDSPRING.COM>
Subject: Support WS in High School!
I am teaching a WS course in a high school this semester.  Almost 2 yrs ago
I began designing a WS curriculum for 8th and 9th grade girls.  I recv'd
approval from the local Middle and High School principals to pilot it.  This
is through The Atlanta Semester Program for Women, Leadership and Social
Change at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Ga.  I have an extensive
bibliography, from Dewey on education, to Pipher's Ophelia.  But the two
major books I use that are specifically geared to adolescents are Andrea
Johnston's *Girls Speak Out*, and Gray and Phillips' *real girl real world*.
I am using *real girl* as a "text" for this class and each student has a copy.
Johnston's book addresses goddess cultures in women's history, as Martha
Ball mentioned.  Also here in Atlanta, our feminist bookstore, Charis, now
sponsors a monthly session for girls aged 9 - 15 based on the program
described in *Girls Speak Out*.  It's goal is to empower, inform and bridge
age gaps between pre-adol and teens.
I am piloting my WS course this semester with a small group, the Teen
Parenting Class students at Decatur High School.  This program supports
pregnant teens or those who already have a baby, who are trying to complete
their HS education.  Each Tues we go to an 8th grade middle school home ec
class where the 8th graders can ask the teen parents open forum questions.
This semester's course has been conformed to the "audience" somewhat (not
all are 8th and 9th grade girls, for example).  It includes much Human
Rights information.  Several strong Human Rights activists, like Loretta
Ross from The Human Rights Education Organization here in Atlanta, have
spoken to my class.  It has been important to see the absorption of personal
human rights info by the girls, in additional to their learning about
societal and media influence on women, relational issues, etc.  Obviously
since these are teen parents, both sexuality and parenting issues are often
I am interested in the video work Kirsten A is doing (I will contact you
privately).  I believe passionately that WS needs to be in both Middle
Schools and High Schools.  It is necessary for our girls, it is our adult
responsibility to inform, and it will, like Martha Ball said, open a whole
new market for WS graduate students.  Additionally, it will inform High
School students looking into college of the possibility of a field of study
that most don't know exists until they are in college.  Perhaps it will
inspire more girls on to college.  It can increase the number of "baby
feminists" if you will, which could even affect another wave of feminist
protest against media's and society's damaging and luring beauty standards,
could increase the strength and empowerment of young women in relationships
during significant developmental years, could lead more females into
political activism, and who knows, could change the world!
This WS course is entitled "Gender Justice" and it is developing into a
"Social Justice and Experiential Learning" course hopefully to be offered
next fall for ASC students as an Interdisciplinary course w/lab (2 days
w/teen parents class at the HS), taught by Dr. T. Pippin, head of Rel St
Dept.  Dr. Pippin, Dr. Isa Williams (Director of The Atlanta Semester
Program for Women, Leadership and Social Change) and I will serve on a panel
this June at the NWSA conference in New Mexico.  I eagerly anticipate
meeting some of you there.  Please email me at bhwoods  @  mindpsring.com.   I
graciously welcome your input and suggestions for this work.
Bonnie Woods
Religion and Women's Culture
Agnes Scott College
Atlanta, Georgia 30324
bhwoods  @  mindspring.com
bwoods  @  agnesscott.edu

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 23:56:01 -0500 (EST)
From: Lanette Fisher-Hertz <LanetFH @ AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: WS for pre-teens
I would recommend two books.  Both of them deal specifically with broadening
the English curriculum, but they both include lots of great general ideas for
leading group exercises that get young people to think and write about gender
Weaving in the Women: Transforming the High School English Curriculum by Liz
Whaley and Liz Dodge (Boynton/Cook Publishers, Inc., Portsmouth, NH, 1993)
Teaching English So It Matters: Creating Curriculum for and With High School
Students by Deborah Stern (Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, CA, 1995)
(for this second book, I especially recommend the unit on Sex Roles, Power,
and Identity, which begins on pg. 81).
Introductory excercises I have seen that help students open to the idea of
gender inequities include having students imagine that they woke up tomorrow
morning the opposite gender.  How would their lives be different?
How fun to get to work with such young women on these empowering issues!  Good
-- Lanette Fisher-Hertz
SUNY New Paltz
LanetFH  @  aol.com

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 08:13:05 -0500
From: Susan Gross <umwhc @ IBM.NET>
Subject: Re: WS for pre-teens
The Upper Midwest Women's History Center in St. Paul has a book called
"Gender Equity: Past, Present and Future:  A Resource Book for Working
With Adolescents" which several of our local youth organizations have
used with groups to introduce gender issues.  It's divided into sections
on history, gender, health and well-being, and work and careers.  Each
section begins by looking at gender issues in the past and working
forward to think about how things can change in the future.
If anybody is interested they can contact me for ordering information or
check out our website <www.hamline.edu/~umwhc>
Sheila Ahlbrand
Associate Director
Upper Midwest Women's History Center
phone: (651) 644-1727
fax: (651) 644-3350
e-mail:  umwhc  @  ibm.net

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 10:01:45 -0500 (EST)
From: MPalumbos @ AOL.COM
Subject: Re: WS for pre-teens
A group of feminist educators developed a curriculum for use with junior high
and high school students.  It's called Sociology of Gender Roles across Race,
Class and Culture and is available through:  the Prism Collective PO Box 1042
Webster, NY 14580.
Mary Rose McCarthy

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 09:59:01 -0400
From: jenny lloyd <jlloyd @ BROCKPORT.EDU>
Subject: Re: WS for pre-teens
One approach that I have found works quite well for this age group is to
brainstorm on "woman" and "man" and from this identify stereotypes of
femininity and masculinity.  Then, in groups, look at cartoons that
build on these stereotypes, and share (useful to have cartoons both on
handouts and on overheads).  Then have a selection of women's and men's
magazines, and Newsweek and Time and the "No comment" section on the
back/inner back page of Ms to look at stereotypes in ads.  You could
also video cartoons.
Jenny Lloyd
SUNY College at Brockport
jlloyd  @  brockport.edu
716 395-5700

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 17:23:27 -0500 (EST)
From: MPalumbos @ AOL.COM
Subject: Re: WS for pre-teens
Glad you found the idea helpful.  The price is $49.95, and the kit contains
all the handouts, etc. to go along with activities for students and permission
is granted to photocopy everything.
Mary Rose

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 19:56:04 -0500 (EST)
From: DcmNM04 @ AOL.COM
Subject: Re: WS for pre-teens
I think children's story books might be a good and safe place to start.  The
participants can describe pictures - the dress of the males and females in the
books, the work of the charactors, the use of gendered pronouns.  They might
work in pairs or small groups - and present to the group as a whole.
If you can create a safe envrionment, my favorite topic for that age is
menstruation - myths and common adjectives to describe the experience.   this
is an excellent segway into colonization of women's bodies - vital force, etc.
good luck
Carol Horwitz
carolh  @  doh.nm.state.us

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 17:07:32 -0800
From: SCN User <kirstena @ SCN.ORG>
Subject: Re: WS for pre-teens
And it is really good for BOYS especially, and in the presence of girls,
to hear menstruation myths, I think. It can instill the power of women
into their psyches in many ways. And makes women proud to be women!
Great idea!
kirsten anderberg
kirstena  @  scn.org
> If you can create a safe envrionment, my favorite topic for that age is
> menstruation - myths and common adjectives to describe the experience.   this
> is an excellent segway into colonization of women's bodies - vital force, etc.
> good luck
> Carol Horwitz
> carolh  @  doh.nm.state.us

Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 12:57:45 -0800
From: Mary Ann Duffy <maryduff @ ENOREO.ON.CA>
Subject: ws for high school girls
This message from edequity list may be of interest to those working with
women's studies for high school girls.  The list itself is invaluable to
me.  Hope this helps.
Shannon Baikie wrote:
> Message and Mentoring Forum for Girls
> The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the new Women Helping
> Women International Inc TAKE AIM website, a discussion and mentoring
> forum for teenage women on the Internet at
> www.womenhelpingwomen.com/takeaim/index.html.  TAKE AIM is dedicated and
> committed to building on existing school curricula by encouraging young
> women to fully address and explore issues such as:  career paths,
> entrepreneurship, body image, self expression, technoliteracy,
> relationships, culture and diversity and more.
> The goals of TAKE AIM are four fold:  to provide access for young women
> to expert resources both online and in their community through mentoring
> and semi-structured moderation by professionals, to promote positive,
> healthful approaches to the views young women hold of themselves and
> their communities, to provide a resource for teachers, guidance
> counsellors, and parents to help them understand adolescent perspectives
> and finally, to establish and increased sense of importance for youth
> voices.
> Currently, Women Helping Women is developing a database of women who are
> interested in getting involved in the Take Aim Mentoring Program.  Being
> an online mentor for a girl interested in your particular career area
> provides an excellent opportunity to promote your field of work as well
> as, educate, encourage and motivate a young woman to go after her career
> aspirations and provide her with the necessary information and resources
> to achieve her goals.
> Thank you for taking the time to read this information.  Should you wish
> more information or  would like to become an online mentor, please do
> not hesitate to contact me at (250) 477-9252 or email me at
> sbaikie  @  womenhelpingwomen.com.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.
> Sincerely,
> Shannon Baikie
> Take Aim Coordinator
> <sbaikie  @  womenhelpingwomen.com>
> --
> ____________________________________________________
> Making a difference in the lives of women:
> http://www.womenhelpingwomen.com
> Take Aim with young women's voices:
> http://www.womenhelpingwomen.com/takeaim/index.html
> ____________________________________________________

Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 16:01:12 -0800
From: Betsey Woody <bwoody @ SOCRATES.BERKELEY.EDU>
Subject: research on w.s. in high school
Hello - I have been interested in this thread on women's studies for teens,
because that is an area of my research.
I completed a study of a women's studies class in a California public high
school, examining the experiences of students in that class, what interests
and concerns they had, with their recommendations for future courses.  I
would like to publish the study, because I sense that there is a great need
to have more formal research on this subject.
So does anyone have suggestions for a journal which would be interested in
this article (an ethnographic study of high school women's studies)?
Any suggestions would be most appreciated.
Thanks - Betsey Woody
bwoody  @  socrates.berkeley.edu

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