“People are putting their kids in the driver’s seat. But let’s face it, kids are crappy drivers.” —–Redbook
Attention Ladies: Remember when you were 10 years old and Ken and Barbie went on dates, boys no longer had cooties, and conversations with your friends changed from, “I’m going to marry my daddy” to “Do you like him or like like him?” Your mirror got a lot of face time as you practiced hair flips and eye rolls and experimented with strawberry Bonne Bell.
Do you also remember sitting in front of your mirror, doing a weird version of the chicken dance, chanting, “I must, I must, I must increase my bust?” We were convinced we’d look like Blair, Malorie, or Joanie if we dedicated ourselves to the task and put our heart and soul into it. Judy Blume was our icon and if Margaret could do it, so could we.
Today, we are the mothers of 10-year old girls (or girls who one day soon will be that age—the years go by fast, ladies!) and guess what? Thanks to manufacturers like Maidenform, Joe Boxer, and Danskin and big box stores like Walmart, Kmart, and Target, girls no longer have to subject themselves to these rites of passage. Instead, with one little purchase, they can attract everyone from high school boys to men without their best interests at heart. These stores and others carry padded and push-up training bras. And I’m not talking lined bras or even bras with underwires; I’m talking about training bras that will actually give your girls the look of developed breasts. And for some girls they may be wearing these at age 7 or 8…
And, don’t even get me started on little girl’s high heels, make-up and belly shirts….
We need to help our daughters navigate the grown-up world in which they are thrust at a very young age. The more they push us away, the closer we have to hold on for they are being sexualized way too early (Bratz or Liv dolls, anyone??) and even though they won’t admit it, they feel alone in making adult decisions.
Fortunately, girls and their parents don’t have to traverse this oftentimes scary world by themselves.
G.I.R.L.S. (Girls Interested in Relationships, Leadership, and Spirituality) provides a safe space for girls to ask questions, learn success strategies, and get feedback on anything from gossip to social media to body image.
‘The girls’ group was very important to my friends and I who did it. It was a good place to be able to come together and talk about anything, and we always new we could trust each other.” — Amani
We use Judaism as the foundation for these groups, which not only provides a solid core, but also shows girls that religion is part of the solution. Through ritual, text and study, we explore Jewish roots, Jewish foremothers and Jewish traditions.
Girls are given real-life skills for success that work now and throughout their lives.
“The group was important to me because it was a way of connecting with my Jewish community that I could really relate to. It made Jewish life relevant.” – Margalit
Groups are held at day schools, people’s homes, and synagogues and are sponsored by families, Jewish organizations, individuals, and schools. Are you angered by this merchandise and want to make a difference in the lives of girls? Volunteer, train to be a G.I.R.L.S. Group leader or sponsor a group for your daughter or granddaughter. It’s a gift she will carry with her for the rest of her life.
For more information on G.I.R.L.S., please click here.