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Good Girls, Bad Girls, Real Girls:

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Kelly Jensen

on 5 November 2014

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Transcript of Good Girls, Bad Girls, Real Girls:

Good Girls, Bad Girls, Real Girls:
Teen Girls in YA Lit & Your Library

Reactions to Girls in YA Books . . .
Survey Says . . .
Girls in YA Books
What are girls in YA facing? The same thing real girls are.
In the Library . . .
Be fearless: Display girl-focused books

Create and include girl-focused books on booklists

Book clubs: talk about perceptions about girls and female characters

Acknowledge girls matter
-- Start asking "what about the girls" as much as asking "what about the boys?"
What Shapes Perspectives and Expectations of Girls?
Presentation by Kelly Jensen & Carrie Mesrobian
Romantic Relationships
Health/Mental Wellness
"What next?"
"Tries too hard"
"Being a bitch"
"Slut" or "Prude"
"Full of first-world problems"
The media
Friends and Peers
Social Media
More visibility
More conversation
More activism
More access to information
More access to diverse opinions
Rookie Magazine
Girls want more complicated girls
“I love complex girl characters that are closer to real life. They have complex emotions and don't conform to the boxes that literature seems to have set for girls in writing, like the sexy girl, the quirky girl, the nerdy girl, etc. I hate females that are subservient to men in any way. Devoted yes, a wet rag like Bella Swan, never. Actually, she may be the manifestation of everything I hate in female literary characters.” – Janna, age 17

“I think a ‘real girl’ is someone who isn’t afraid to be herself and would do anything for anybody even if it meant that decision would hurt her in the long run. Someone that loves everyone for who they are and accepts everyone.” – Olivia, age 16

“The Good:
Don't take people's BS.
You can cry, be afraid, while still being strong.
You too can enjoy sex.
Stop worrying about useless things.
Adventure is out there.
You want something? Go get it.
Have a sense of humor, even during the darker times.
Finding out who you really are is the ultimate work-in-progress.
Never stop telling stories.
You are not weird.
People are complicated.

The Bad:
The idea of feminism is wildly misrepresented.
The over-simplification of female sexuality. You want to insult a woman? Call her a slut. Yet, virginity is also seen as a disease that must be cured.
Girls are automatically nurturing/caring and love babies. I don't like babies.
You don't WANT a boyfriend, you NEED a boyfriend.
Makeup is only worn to attract guys.
The nearly constant undercurrent that tells me that I, as an African-American girl, can't be magical, awkward, spunky, whimsical, (insert adjective here). I am the sidekick, the servant, the abrasive, sassy best friend. I'm the villain, the witch. You don't see girls like me in fancy dresses on book covers.
Tall girls are beasts.
Be yourself, but not like that.” – Aleah, age 18
Full transcript