Sunday, April 21, 2013

Please Read (if at all possible) The Girl Project by Kate Engelbrecht

Please read, if at all possible, if you are or have been a teenage girl in the United States.  We have all gone through or are going through similar issues.  One of the biggest seems to be fitting in.  This book is just right for young girls who are feeling the need to fit in.  This book was composed of many photographs and questionnaires done by teenage girls in the United States.  The author's goal was to use these to help teenage girls get their opinions and views out to the public.  Using photographs and questionnaires made it simple for these girls to explain how they are feeling about themselves and the world.  I think this book was a great and different way to capture what is going on in the mind of teenage girls.  Being a teenager is difficult as it is, and talking about certain issues can only increase that.  Allowing these girls to express themselves using photographs I believe made it easier for them to share what they were feeling.  It can be difficult to discuss things in person or face-to-face some times.  Taking photographs can be much more direct and straight to the point with the issues these girls wanted to get across.  The questionnaires also made it easier for them to talk about certain issues. 

Some of the topics the girls were asked involved school, boys, and themselves.  Some examples of the questions used are "What adjectives best describe you?", "What is the best part about being a teenager?", and "What are you proud of?".  Aside from the questionnaires, there are also pages with one question and many responses from different girls.  An example of this is the question, "Tell me one thing about you that nobody else seems to get" and "What do you think about the ways girls are portrayed?".  Some responses are similar and show that these girls are feeling very alike, while other responses differ and show the differences in opinions and views among teenage girls. 

Being a teenager can bring on some tough times.  It's a time where you begin to find out who you are, your likes, your dislikes, and you begin to form your own opinions.  It can be a very exciting and fun time, but can also present some tough and challanging times as well.  Fitting in is something every teenager goes through.  It never feels good to not be liked.  We all want friends and for people to like us.  Sometimes during this time, we can get carried away and be someone we are not just to fit in or to please others.  I think this is normal and we have all gone through it at some point or another.  This quote on one of the pages I think is so empowering.  It is true that fitting in isn't everything, but being true to yourself is what really matters.  I was somewhat shocked when I first read this, because it is coming from a teenager.  She knows what is truely important and is trying to stay true to herself. 

The next imagine I found interesting and really sort of made me sad.  It is a picture a girl took of her bathroom counter.  There are so many beauty supplies on this counter it is sickening.  I know I have been there with every makeup and beauty supply imaginable, but it makes me sad that these teenage girls feel such pressure to look a certain way.  I'm really big on this whole issue media is sending people in general.  There is a certain image we are all supposed to fit, or else we are not beautiful.  I think teenagers have a much higher change to give in to these messages because of the stage they are in.  They want to fit in so bad, that they go to extremes to do so.  I love seeing campaigns that embrace who each and every one of us are and supports being different.  I think it's so important to teach people that we are all different, and that it is ok to be ourselves. 

I saw this video the other day and it fits perfectly into what this book is about.  We are our own worse enemies.  We are so critical and judgemental of ourselves.  We all need to learn to love and accept who we are. 


Zak Q said...

Great concept for a social-issues book and seemingly well-executed. You're completely right about the challenges teens face and about their feelings of "wanting to fit in." But stuff like this can show them that they're not the only ones feeling those ways. Everyone's trying to fit in; they're just too embarrassed to say anything about it either.

The real merit seems to be that it contains real responses from real girls. It's no longer just a self-help author or an activist telling you how it is and the way you should feel.

Good concept and a good choice.

Renee Thornton said...

I love this! It's similar in format to a book called post-secret that collected anonymous post cards from people who shared their deepest secrets in a public way, by publishing them in the book. The effect is the same, those who read it will find at least one secret/issue that they can relate to and then all of the sudden this thing that they obsessed about and thought only they had to deal with becomes a normal thing that everyone knows about and everyone shares in. It relieves stigma which can destroy a young girls self esteem. This book sounds amazing.

Tess said...

I love the message this book holds. Girls really are their own worst enemies. Anyone with self-esteem problems, problems with being picked on, people with body dismorphic disorder, bullemia, anorexia, or any other self harming condition can benefit from reading this novel. Knowing you're not alone can make a huge differece in a person's life.