Category: Honorary Go Girls!

Activity: Honorary Go Girls!

What do all of these folks have in common?  They all showed the world just how amazing they were by the time they 18 years old!  Both historical and contemporary, these bold and brave women and girls inspire us to #BeAmazing ourselves.

This Women’s History Month, we have identified 12 “Honorary Go Girls!” who have changed/are changing history by being true to themselves and following their dreams.

We invite you to:

  1. Download the Honorary Go Girls! 2016 PDF.
  2. Learn about these 12 inspirational girls/women.
  3. Answer the reflection questions associated with each story.
  4. Share your reflections with us here on the blog, on our Facebook page, or on Instagram using the hashtag #BeAmazing.

Anyone can participate.   It doesn’t matter your age, these Go Girls! can motivate all of us to move a little closer to our best selves!

 

 

 

The Radical ______’s Aim to Empower Oakland Girls, One Badge at a Time

imgres-1My sister was a Brownie in the mid 1970s, a Girl Scout Brownie that is. She loved it. She loved her uniform and her troop leader and the activities they did. I don’t think they focused on nature, and I know they never went camping. Still, she wore her brown uniform all the time, even on days when her troop didn’t meet. Brownies wasn’t school and it didn’t involve her little sister at home. It was her own thing: it was social, the people were kind, and she got to do lots of arts and crafts.

While I confess my favorite kind of brownie is “a small square or rectangle of rich, usually chocolate, cake, often containing nuts,” I did covet my sister’s experience. I was a Campfire Girl Bluebird for a brief time. While I loved the red and blue dress, and the wind chime I painted, I only attended for a few months, never really felt a part of something, a movement.

In folklore, brownies are helpful elves, whether indoors or outdoors, who don’t generally interact with humans, but aid them in various tasks.

Adopting the Brownie name for a Girl Scouts age group seems fitting, in terms of the Girl Scout dedication to, “build[ing] girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” It’s commitment to diversity is in marked contrast to that of the Boy Scouts of America.

Another group of Brownies has sprung up in Oakland, California, the Radical Brownies. Not affiliated with the Girls Scouts, and soon to change their name to The Radical _____, this sisterhood also fosters unity. Started in December 2014 by Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest, a community organizer and an educator, respectively, the two leaders aim to foster social change in their group of 12 girl-identifying troupe members. The girls can earn merit badges in such areas as Black Lives Matter, Radical Beauty, Food Justice, Social Justice, and Environmental Justice.

Ms. Martinez explains the group’s beginnings on its Facebook page: “Last year, my 4th grade daughter desperately wanted to join a young girl’s troop. …I saw the need for a group that would empower and encourage her to form bonds of sisterhood with other girls in her community. I began to imagine what a radical young girl’s social justice troop looked like; a group that centered and affirmed her experiences as a beautiful and brilliant brown girl against so many societal pressures to conform to mainstream ideals of girlhood.”

The troupe has its detractors—some decrying single-gender clubs, some suggesting the leaders are indoctrinating the girls, and some accusing them of child abuse and racism through politicization, and allowing only girls-of-color. Martinez and Hollinquest insist the girls have minds of their own, and don’t all agree on every issue. Martinez also says the members of the small group right now simply reflect their own community and that, as they expand, any girl who loves The Radical ______’s mission will be able to join, “These girls are active and want to be out there, having their voices heard. We are just getting started.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding a Space of One’s Own

036-virginia-woolf-theredlistLate, that’s the kind of writer I am today. Even blogs have deadlines, and the kind colleague who gets my entries posted doesn’t complain that this will arrive in her inbox well past her bedtime. And still I sit here, taking my time, trying to turn thoughts and words over in my mind…

When I type I sit at a slim, navy blue desk with two shelves attached. A cream-colored bulletin board covered in fabric and crisscrossed with grosgrain ribbon claims a collection of artifacts. A small crowd of dishes waits for my attention just through the door to the kitchen. A plump Siamese purrs and dozes in my lap.

And as I sit at my computer, typing this, I think again and again of Virginia Woolf.

Okay, my BA in English might give me away, but I love Virginia Woolf. Not only because of her writing, which has pinned me down and laid me bare with it’s devastating, passionate precision on many a night. But also for how, in A Room of One’s Own, she gave me permission to work toward something that belongs to me.

Her slim volume addressed the specifics of writing fiction, but I believe that her creed, “a woman must have money and a room of her own,” is true. In order to work and create something, anything, that is important to you, there must be some space, actual and psychic, in which to do it, and an income to keep your tummy filled and your PG&E bill paid.What astonishes me is that women continue to create and achieve, even without such a personal environment, however humble. And continue to suffer from the lack of that space and those means, too.

And I have this now, space to call my own, this apartment. It’s tiny by some standards, just two rooms. The kitchen is spacious though, and contains my very first breakfast nook, filled with sunshine most days. It could be argued that, being an introvert, my temperament demands this retreat, and that more social creatures don’t need it. What I would say is that being able to acknowledge what one needs to move in the world, and then assuming the freedom to attain and use those prescriptions, is what is important.

I trust Ms. Woolf would agree. Solitude, community, a room of one’s own, a garden, a kitchen table. That we as women can say it, and own it, and achieve it without apology or fear or undue hardship. “So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.” What matters is that you can do the things that you desire, and that you do. “Anything can happen when womanhood ceases to be a protected occupation”…

Understanding the Importance of HeForShe

319730_1280x720On Sunday March 8, the world celebrated International Women’s Day, which called attention to the progress women and their allies have made towards gender equality while illuminating how much work is still left to be done.

Emma Watson, an actor and the current United Nations Goodwill Ambassador held a Q&A session to celebrate #IWD2015 and discuss her work with HeForShe, a campaign aimed at creating a space for men to support and align themselves with the feminist movement and and to promote gender equality. Watson discussed her personal passion for the campaign and stressed the importance of rescuing the word feminism from its hallowed halls of negativity and false understanding.

Screenshot 2015-03-08 15.44.26Because you all know the definition of feminism, right? That it’s not about overthrowing men (but definitely the patriarchy), or burning bras, or anything else trolls on the Internet use to ignite an anti-feminism movement. It really is just about equality. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary says that feminism is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” That’s pretty chill, don’t you think? I don’t see any evil or negativity in believing in feminism, and neither does Emma Watson, which is why she’s trying to ignite the fire in men and boys to stand up for the equality everyone deserves.

“HeForShe is about men coming in to support women and femininity and feminine qualities, because [feminine qualities] are currently valued less by our society…And I think femininity needs to be embraced wherever its found, whether it be found in a man, whether it be found in a woman, whether it be found in a gender non-conforming person, wherever it’s found we need to be embracing it.”

To watch the entire conversation head over to Emma Watson’s Facebook page. And remember: “Just don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do, or can or cannot achieve. Just don’t allow it, do not allow it. It’s wrong, it’s so wrong.”

Let’s Talk About Crazy-Awesome Women!

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Women shipbuilders during WWII.

Happy Women’s History Month and welcome to the one month of the year where we get to specifically celebrate ladies being awesome. Every day! For 31 days!

I, like most students of the public education system, was given an abridged version of women’s history in school: Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed a super awesome girl-gang that fought for country-wide gender equality and suffrage (But really, can you believe that was a thing they had to fight for?), and Sacagawea was an incredible tracker and translator who is responsible for the settling of California and most of the western United States.

And don’t get me wrong, those women are important. But I know that I personally left high school feeling like I’d missed something and had to go looking for my own historic heroes. It’s just that there are a lot of important women. So many that I’d never be able to list them all if I sat here typing until the end of Women’s History Month.

Think about all of the amazing ladies throughout history we don’t talk about in school. The punk girlbands. The rebels and revolutionaries. The teachers, nurses, CEO’s, missionaries, fashion moguls, moms, ballerinas, neuroscientists, and every other important thing women are and can be!

Whatever you’re passionate about, take a lesson from any of history’s amazing and awesome women and get excited, make demands, and stand up for what you believe in.

You don’t have to be a Joan of Arc, a Serena Williams, or an Indira Ghandi if you don’t want to. But use this month to celebrate being you: an amazing, awesome Go Girl!

 

 

Meet Alexis Willey: Go Girls! Camp Social Media Intern

She may not have won an Oscar yesterday but she did win the coveted spot to be the Go Girls! Camp Social Media Intern!  Everyone, please join us in welcoming Alexis Willey to our team.

Alexis Intern

Alexis is a publishing and journalism student in her senior year at Hofstra University. While growing up near Albany, NY she fell in love with hiking, camping, and enjoying the beauty of the outdoors. She also loves concerts, exploring new places, and breakfast. She is a passionate advocate for celebrating and accepting the uniqueness in all of the world’s people, and is excited to join the Go Girls! team!

We Celebrate Mayim Bialik!

Mayim Honorary Go Girl

If she had just stopped at Blossom, that would have been enough to make her an Honorary Go Girl!  Remember Blossom?  She was fun and bold.  She spoke her mind and wore those amazing hats.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIpzjGl3D6I]

But, no.  She didn’t stop there.  She grew up to get her PhD in neuroscience, become a mom and leading advocate for attachment parenting, and created the beloved character of Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory.  At Go Girls! Camp, we used to sing, “I can be more than one way.  ‘Girl’ can mean a lot of things.”  So often, girls are encouraged to be smart OR pretty.  To like science OR art.  We are all complex human beings with many interests and talents.  We must encourage our girls to explore all their interests and teach them that being a Go Girl! means saying yes to all parts of yourself.  Mayim is an incredible role model for this message.

Please take a moment to watch this video with your daughter.  You’ll be glad you did.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZt-JTdfXjw]

Let the haters hate and make your change

I was talking with a friend yesterday about a big change she wants to make.  She was noticing and navigating that inevitable fear that creeps up in the face of making a bold and brave new choice.

“I’m worried about all of the criticism that I’m going to get.”

I, of course, tried to encourage her.  “You can’t be worried about that.  The criticism may happen.  But it might not.  Either way, when you make a choice that is truer to who you are, you will make even deeper connections with those folks who DO support you.  And that’s the more important thing.”

She heard me.  Still recognizing, though, that the fear is there and the fear is real.  And, I can’t blame her.  Who can?  Making a bold and brave change is a process.  And this process takes time to align your internal capacities to your external realities.  All I can do as a friend is to keep listening and encouraging.

AND, I can introduce her to McKenna Pope whose TED Talk I watched just after I spoke with my friend.  This 14 year old tells us the story about her choice to become an activist in the face of harsh criticism.  In her talk, McKenna tells the story of how she very publicly stood up to Hasbro, encouraging them to produce their Easy Bake Oven in more gender neutral colors.  She talks about all of the internet trolls she encountered along the way and teaches us “There are always gonna be haters.  So let your haters hate and make your change.”  She then goes on to say at the end of her speech,”you can take that spark within you and turn it into a fire.”

Sure, we all have that inevitable fear, but McKenna has the antidote -let the haters hate- wow…it really is that simple.  When we know we have no control over what the haters are going to say and do, we can do our best to forget about them and move on to the work of making change.

This is why McKenna Pope is today’s honorary Go Girl!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTK_cJVryIc]

We celebrate Rosa Parks

We teach Go Girls! the concept of Say Yes!

I am ready for anything.  I welcome new challenges and I try my best.  Saying yes keeps the fun going.  Saying yes sometimes means I have to say “no, thank you.” I have the power to keep myself safe.

Rosa Parks celebration

Today, we celebrate Rosa Parks.  This week in 1955, Rosa Parks choose to Say Yes! by saying “no, thank you” to the Montgomery, AL police department to make the world a safer place for herself and all citizens.