A New Chapter in Empowering Girls

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Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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22 Responses

  1. Avatar j r says:

    One wonders how far this message can go in overcoming that reality.

    Not very far. The ability of the rich and entitled to signal their wealth and entitlement will always evolve faster than any social norms that we might adopt to try and prevent it. In fact, that evolution is usually the very mechanism that allows the rich to signal in the first place.

    It’s like that MTV show Exiled, where they took all the spoiled rich kids from My Super Sweet 16 and sent them to Africa to learn how not to be spoiled. Of course, the fact that you have a family who can afford to send you to Africa just to learn what it means not to be entitled is a pretty good sign that you are, in fact, entitled.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to j r says:

      Yup or can get you on either show in the first place.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

      I sincerely hope folks realize that not every rich dude is “old rich”
      and obsessed about letting everyone know how much money they have.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kim says:

        Kim, its actually the new rich that are obsessed with letting everybody know home much money they have. The old rich tend to think thats all terribly boorish.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Kim says:

        Kim, its actually the new rich that are obsessed with letting everybody know home much money they have. The old rich tend to think thats all terribly boorish.

        Or to put it another way, the new rich are signaling about how rich they are.

        The old rich are signaling that everyone already knows how rich they are. They’re literally signaling they don’t need to signal.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim says:

        David,
        Maiming yourself to signal how rich you are is still signaling
        how rich you are, no matter who’s doing it.

        the rich send signals that the poor or middle class can’t afford to send.
        They’re generally only meant to be seen by other rich folks, of course.Report

  2. Avatar NewDealer says:

    1. Garnishing your teeth over the younger generation is a tradition as old as humanity itself. I’ve seen 19 years old talk about how elementary school students don’t know how to respect their elders and weren’t disciplined enough. I wanted to smack said 19 year olds. I think this is one of the most tiresome aspects of humanity. We despair over progress and seem to think of hardship and suffering as goods. Yesterday, the Atlantic ran an op-ed about how we have grown soft for cancelling school during the Polar Vortex and as a counter-example Laura Ingells Wilder was brought in about how they went to school during a blizzard or after. The comment sections brought up the less attractive aspects of the Little House series and also stories about children freezing to death in blizzards at school. Going soft is something that very serious people (TM) think about. Most of these very serious people are also very soft.

    2. This ad is aimed at parents more than it is at students. I would say it is especially aimed at progressively-minded upper-middle class professional parents who are being caught blind-sided by the Disney Pricess thing. Same as this book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Cinderella-Ate-Daughter-Dispatches-Girlie-Girl/dp/0061711535Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

      We might have actual less need to cancel school because of extreme cold and heat these days. As long as the heating system and AC are running fine than a constant temperature can be maintained at all times.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Yes. a constant temperature of 50 degrees, but still, a constant temperature!

        Efficiency of furnaces is tuned for maximal efficiency at a particular temperature.
        it is quite possible to have your furnace running all out, and still not be hitting 60 degrees.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Schools in my area had delayed openings, primarily because it was too cold for children to wait at bus stops before the sun came up.

        Starting school two hours late so children can stand in 10-degree temperatures instead of 0-degree temperatures does not seem to be going “soft”.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Kazzy,
        We have hills around here.
        I’m certain the latest school bus crash will
        encourage the local school district to
        call off more snow days in the future.
        (no one was hurt, luckily).Report

    • Avatar Murali in reply to NewDealer says:

      Garnishing your teeth over the younger generation is a tradition as old as humanity itself.

      I know defoe asked us to eat our young but I did not think that he recommended our teeth for garnishingReport

    • I’ve seen 19 years old talk about how elementary school students don’t know how to respect their elders and weren’t disciplined enough.

      I’ve seen a 30-something write about how 19 year olds criticize their youngers 🙂

      (I hope it’s clear I’m joking. I agree with you and share your aversion to “kids these days” laments.)Report

  3. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I talk with parents a lot about the importance of demonstrating to their children the needs of others. Parents, naturally, want to be there for their children. They don’t want to see harm come to them. They don’t want to see them struggle. But harm and struggle can be beneficial. Without struggle, there is no growth. So I tell them to, sometimes, insist on putting their own needs before their child’s — even if only in small ways. “Yes, honey, I will come look at your drawing. But I’m going to finish this page in my book first.” “Yes, honey, I will get you more milk. But I’m going to finish my sandwich first.” This communicates to the children that sometimes they will have to put their needs on hold so that another’s can be met — especially if they are making requests or demands of another. Small things, but I think they’re important.

    My head always shares the following quote with us: Our job is not to prepare the road for the child, but the child for the road. I think those are really good words to live by. Our children are going to encounter struggle one day; it is inevitable. The longer we put this off for them, the less prepared they are for it.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Kazzy says:

      Kazzy,

      Love that quote. We are struggling with this on a larger level right now as Oldest Daughter is living in her first apartment and being very independent and yet we see her make small mistakes and it is SO hard not to try to save her from them. We have established a few baselines for her that we hope she will honor and that gives us some peace. Things like coming to us if she gets into money trouble rather than getting a credit card or borrowing frm a bank. It’s not that we will necessarily bail her out but we can at least offer some advice before she makes bad situation worse.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Kazzy says:

      I’ve let all my kids fail at things big and small. It’s not that I’m a bad dad, but I was allowed to try and fail repeatedly growing up. Every kid needs that. And we let our kids see us shop for clothes at thrift stores – not because we NEED to, but because they trash and outgrow the clothes so fast there’s no good reason to buy new. What we focus on most is giving our kids experiences – spending time with relatives, walking on beaches looking at sea life, reading together on the porch, attending formal concerts for the holidays. Not sure what the outcome will be, but we’re having fun doing it.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Philip H says:

        I tell my students (4- and 5-year-olds) the following when they complain about a task being too hard: “If you only do easy things, it means you only are doing things you already know how to do. That means you’re not learning.”

        I don’t subscribe to the idea that if it isn’t hard, it isn’t worth doing: plenty of easy things are worth doing. And plenty of easy things were once hard things that have become mastered. But if people — children especially! — never do anything that’s hard, they aren’t being challenged. And they aren’t growing.Report

      • Avatar dhex in reply to Philip H says:

        @kazzy

        ““If you only do easy things, it means you only are doing things you already know how to do. That means you’re not learning.””

        i’m stealing that.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Philip H says:

        @dhex

        Steal away! Teaching is 95% stealing as it is.Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy says:

    @mike-dwyer

    Dr. Wendy Mogel has two books out you might be interested in: “The Blessings of a Skinned Knee” and “The Blessings of a B-“; the latter is geared more towards high school-aged kids, so if you can only grab one, that is probably it. I haven’t read them, but they are wildly popular right now. Dr. Mogel offers strategies to push back against entitlement (or, perhaps more accurately, the pressure to entitle). She grounds her approach in the teachings of the talmud and torah (I think the subtitle has a joke about “Jewish mothers” in it), but I understand it to be far less about religion and more generally about what we are discussing here. The titles alone I think demonstrate the connection.

    It is possible the former book is the one where my head pulled that quote from; I know she often quotes it and it’d make sense. Regardless, they might be worth looking in to.Report

  5. When I first read the OP and before I clicked on the link from which @mike-dwyer took his images, I was going to write that the campaign was trying to slam girls with the “princess” stereotype that they had to overcome while boys can sometimes be just as entitled and no one’s telling them not to be a “Prince.”

    However, clicking on the link and reading more of those advertisements, as well as rereading Mike’s point that it’s aimed as much at the parents, I realize this really is a cool message.Report

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