Sunday, April 01, 2007

Perfect Girls

Will Richardson linked to Girls, It’s Be Yourself, and Be Perfect, Too from the New York Times. The multimedia feature adds the photos and voices of these hard-driving teenagers. Like Will, I've got daughters too, and these stories are both encouraging (girls can do anything now!) and discouraging (girls feel they have to do everything now!) to middle-class dads like us who wish our girls could self-actualize without feeling the intense stress and pressure to conquer the world.

The focus of the article is actually more upper-class than middle, and economic concerns underpin the whole thing. This incredible drive to get into the best colleges seems to be all about landing plum jobs later and subsequent incomes to sustain a lifestyle they're used to.
"There is something about the lives these girls lead — their jam-packed schedules, the amped-up multitasking, the focus on a narrow group of the nation’s most selective colleges — that speaks of a profound anxiety in the young people, but perhaps even more so in their parents, about the ability of the next generation to afford to raise their families in a place like Newton."

1 comment:

Garth said...

Excellent article and observations Jer. Definitely an article that will go into my files for my youth ministry students working with girls. There are two great texts that I'm utilizing for my intro course - Teenage Guys & Teenage Girls - they both are fascinating reads for my 18/19 year old freshmen who are in the latter stages of adolescence. The good, the bad, & the ugly of puberty, individuation, & autonomy.

Their reflection papers (in response to their own adolescent journeys) echo a lot of the same struggles the girls in the article you linked to face. Eg. - the importance placed on self-actualization, self-image, etc.