Tuesday, November 29, 2005

How Shall We Raise Our Daughters?

When you imagine our collective daughter, does she look like this?

Gymnastics

Or this?

game on 2

Or maybe this?

Game on

Is one image better than the others?
What are the differences between these photos that make a difference?
What does each say about how we promote health and identity in our girls in our culture?

Please forgive my request for feedback, but I had a pretty powerful response to these photos and am wondering if I’m just being goofy and reactionary.

9 Comments:

Blogger Duf said...

Okay, so I've been waiting for hours to respond because I didn't want to be the first to comment. Patriarchy always tries to talk first and listen later (or not at all), and I so don't want to do that when the question is about women and daughters.

Of the three, the one that bugs me is the first one. Eating disorders are a huge problem for women (especially young women), and sport has a role in that.

The other two, I rather liked. And perhaps that's the blindness of bias and priviledge. I want to see women pursuing their bliss regardless of what it is, but to do so in ways that are healthy. The second picture depicts a woman in a male dominated sport establish great position for a rebound. The third picture depicts strong women playing a female dominated sport aggressively, vigorously and passionately. I like both.

To answer your questions:

No, but (to me) one is worse.

The presence of faces in the last two, the appearance of healthy bodies in the last two.

The first says that sometimes we promote neither health nor identity. The last two say that sometimes we do.

But all the while I'm typing and reacting, I can't shake this sinking feeling that I'm really, really missing something.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude! That first picture is sooo bizarre. It looks like her fingers are tucked into the skin on her legs. And her head is missing! But for the most part I agree with Duf (your Mom?). I know when Steph was in the color guard she was always trying to look thinner and I told her that doing the moves right was more important than how her body looked. As long as it's fun for them, it's great, when it turns life consuming I'm not for it.
kds

1:56 PM  
Blogger Duf said...

Aerenchyma is so cool that her mother is actually a 37 year old black man who lives in Minnesota. Talk about open minded!

Had to tease you "anonymous."

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they all sorta bug me - The first one because there is no face ... there is also the fact that female gymnasts work hard to keep their bodies like little girls so they can perform the acrobatics and get the high scores. Can't say why I don't care for the other images either, but the first one is just weird photo.

If I had a daughter and she wanted to get involved in sports, I would allow her to choose what she wanted ... I really wouldn't want to steer her to hard to one sport or the other ( I would fret if she chose gymnastics though). I can't imagine saying to a 7 year old - Go for soccer or basketball because they treat women better ... or women can really be themselves in that sport. Would my daughter want to kick a ball across a field or do a backflip on a balance beam? I would hope kicking the ball ...

Arasin

12:02 PM  
Blogger Aerenchyma said...

Sorry to have posted this and then abandon the discussion. First things first, I truly am cool enough to have a black 37 year old dad who lives in Minnesota, without a doubt.

Now to the photos.

The first one really tripped me up and made me mad as hell.

The second one I liked very much. I liked her intensity and focus.

The third one I also liked because of the action.

I guess I had more on my mind when I posted this...and I should have written it then because now I've got nothing. Talk about a short attention span!

Okay, sorry again.

kds, email me immediately. I have misplaced your email address and have been getting returned email b/c I keep trying to send it to the wrong one.

12:36 PM  
Blogger mister williams said...

I was really impressed by them all, even the first, contortion. I am concerned by the girl's weight, but not to the extent of the comments here. I mean she looks like a trim, healthy pre-adolescent and odds are she probably is just that, a very young girl who works out daily to be a gymnist, not a field hockey player.

I agree the burden is on Coaches and parents to make sure the child grows up knowing what real priorities, like kds mentioned. Coaching the sport or encouraging your daughter to participate in sports should not just end with winning.

Above all this photo shows the trimuph of the mental and physical discipline which this young woman has committed. Her flight is practically, perfect and symetrical. That's very cool to me and I'm sure her accomplishments here are something extremely rare to our human nature.These are the things this photo depicts that are something more valuable than our conjecture and inserting this photo into a all or nothing political context.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Aerenchyma said...

mister williams, the brown sock finds you annoying.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous sjdude said...

Ok so all three are of women in sports. My reaction to each one was hmm a soccer player, basket ball player and a gymnast...that's nice....I had no reaction. To have an adverse reaction to any of those pictures is simply caused by someone who over analyzes things. I find no reason to be concerned for the health of any of them or to wonder if they are portraying a good role model. I simply look and see 3 women involved in sports.

11:11 AM  
Blogger mister williams said...

I can't believe you censored your own husband....

9:43 AM  

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