Transcript: Girl Power: Beyond the Stereotype | Jul 19, 2017

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a spotted blue blazer over a black shirt.

A caption on screen reads "Girl power: Beyond the stereotype. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says A GENERATION AGO, THE IDEA
OF GIRL POWER ANIMATED MANY
YOUNG WOMEN AND THEIR MENTORS
WHO WERE EAGER TO KEEP AND
EXPAND GAINS MADE TOWARDS GENDER EQUITY.
IT BROUGHT SUCCESSES AND SOME
UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES TOO.
A NEW BOOK, SMART GIRLS: SUCCESS, SCHOOL,
AND THE MYTH OF POST-FEMINISM
TAKES A CLOSE LOOK AT
HOW THAT'S ALL PLAYING OUT
IN THE LIVES OF A NEW GENERATION.

A picture of the book appears briefly on screen. The cover is white, with pictures of sneakers, glasses, lipstick and a laptop computer.

Nam continues IT'S WRITTEN BY SHAUNA POMERANTZ
AND REBECCA RABY AND WE'RE
PLEASED THAT IT BRINGS THEM TO
OUR STUDIO TONIGHT.

The guests are both in their forties. Shauna has shoulder-length black hair and side-swept bangs. She's wearing glasses, a bright pink blouse, and a silver necklace.
Rebecca has short curly blond hair, and wears glasses and a sleeveless gray blouse.

Nam says WELCOME TO YOU BOTH.

Shauna says THANK YOU.

Nam says WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO TALK TO
ELEMENTARY AND HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS
AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME?

The caption changes to "Shauna Pomerantz. Co-Author, 'Smart girls.'"
Then, it changes again to "Why study girls?"

Shauna says WELL, FOR THE LAST 20 YEARS,
WE'VE BEEN BOMBARDED WITH
HEADLINES ABOUT HOW SUCCESSFUL
GIRLS ARE AND HOW WELL THEY'RE
DOING TODAY AND WE'VE SEEN
POPULAR BOOKS.
WE'VE SEEN MAGAZINE COVERS ALL
TOUTING GIRLS AS THE NEW
DOMINANT GENDER IN EDUCATION.
GIRLS ARE TAKING OVER THE WORLD.
AND SO, REBECCA AND I WERE
REALLY INTERESTED TO FIND OUT
THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY AND
IT SEEMS LIKELY THAT THERE'S A
LOT MORE GOING ON THAN MEETS THE
EYE TO THOSE HEADLINES AND WHAT
WE'VE FIND IS THAT REALLY, GIRLS
ARE STRUGGLING IN WAYS THAT
THOSE HEADLINES AND THE MAGAZINE
COVERS AND ALL THE VARIOUS HYPE
ABOUT SMART GIRLS AND FAILING
BOYS ERASED.

Nam says I WANT TO TALK MORE ABOUT WHAT'S
IN THE BOOK BUT I WANTED TO TALK
ABOUT THE STUDY FIRST.
SO EXPLAIN TO ME, HOW DID YOU
CONDUCT THE STUDY, REBECCA?

The caption changes to "Rebecca Raby. Co-Author, 'Smart girls.'"

Rebecca says WE FIRST PUT UP SOME ADS AND
WE... IN THE NEWSPAPER FOR
EXAMPLE, SAYING WE WANTED TO
TALK TO SMART BOYS AND SMART
GIRLS ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES IN
HIGH SCHOOL AND THEN WE STARTED
INTERVIEWING.
WE ALSO HAD A RESEARCH ASSISTANT
DOING SOME INTERVIEWING FOR US
AND WE TRIED TO INTERVIEW
EVERYBODY TWICE.
AND WE INTERVIEWED SOME BOYS AS
WELL AS 52 GIRLS.

NAM SAYS WHY DID YOU WANT TO TALK TO
BOYS IF THIS IS ABOUT GIRLS?

Rebecca says WELL, WE FELT LIKE BOYS ARE PART
OF THE STORY, RIGHT?
YOU KNOW, IF IT'S ABOUT GENDER
PARTLY, RIGHT?
WE KNOW THAT FEMININITY AND
MASCULINITY ARE INTERRELATED AND
WE THOUGHT THAT BOYS PLAY A ROLE
IN SHAPING GIRLS' EXPERIENCES
AND WE ALSO WANTED TO FIND OUT
HOW THINGS ARE DIFFERENT FOR
BOYS THAN GIRLS.

Nam says AND SHAUNA, WHAT EXACTLY IS A
SMART GIRL?

Shauna says HMM, A SMART GIRL IS A GIRL WHO
THINKS OF HERSELF AS SMART.
WE WENT INTO THIS STUDY AWARE
THAT WE HAD A PARTICULAR BIAS
TOWARDS GRADES.
THAT WE WERE DEFINITELY LOOKING
FOR AND ADVERTISED FOR GIRLS AND
BOYS WHO DID VERY WELL OR COULD
IF THEY TRIED.
AND SO WE ADDED "OR COULD IF
THEY TRIED" BECAUSE WE RECOGNIZE
THAT THERE'S A WHOLE BUNCH OF
WAYS TO BE SMART OUT THERE THAT
WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO SEE JUST
BY GRADES ALONE.
AND SO THE GIRLS AND BOYS TOLD
US THAT THEY WERE SMART AND WHEN
THEY VOLUNTEERED FOR OUR STUDY,
WE JUST ASSUMED THAT THEY WERE
SMART KIDS WHO THOUGHT OF
THEMSELVES IN THIS PARTICULAR WAY.

Nam says AND REBECCA, THIS WAS DONE IN A
SMALL TOWN AND YOU CHANGED THE
NAME OF THE TOWN.
SO FIRST, WHY IN A SMALL TOWN?
AND WHY CHANGE THE NAME?

Rebecca says WELL, IT WAS A SMALL TOWN AND
THE SURROUNDING AREA SO WE HAD
YOU KNOW, SOME RURAL YOUTH FOR
INSTANCE, AND WE THOUGHT IT WAS
REALLY IMPORTANT TO MAINTAIN THE
CONFIDENTIALITY OF THE
PARTICIPANTS AND SO WE CHANGED
THE NAMES OF THE SCHOOLS AND THE
PARTICIPANTS THEMSELVES AND
SOMETIMES THEIR EXTRACURRICULAR
ACTIVITIES JUST SO YOU KNOW,
THEY COULD SPEAK TO US FRANKLY.
WE FOLLOW, AT THE UNIVERSITY, A
CERTAIN ETHICS PROTOCOL AND
THAT'S PART OF IT.

Nam says THE ONE THING ABOUT THE BOOK
THAT KIND OF STOOD OUT FOR ME
WAS THAT THERE WAS A LACK OF DIVERSITY.
YOU SPOKE TO ONE BLACK GIRL, RIGHT?
WHAT HAPPENED?
IF YOU'RE TRYING TO GET A SENSE
OF WHAT IT IS TO BE A SMART GIRL?

Rebecca says THIS WAS A TOUGH PART.
WE TRIED REALLY HARD TO SEEK
DIVERSITY AND WE PUT UP POSTERS
IN VARIOUS DIFFERENT PLACES.
YOU KNOW, CULTURAL CENTRES, FOR
EXAMPLE, AND... BUT YOU CAN ONLY
GET WHO COMES TO TALK TO YOU.
AND OUR AREA THAT WE DID THE
STUDY IN IS FAIRLY HOMOGENEOUS.

NAM SAYS AND IT'S IN ONTARIO?

Rebecca says IN ONTARIO, SOUTHERN ONTARIO AND
WE DID TRY AND WE ALSO KNOW THAT
THERE'S SOME PEOPLE WHO MIGHT
NOT COME TO THE STUDY FOR
VARIOUS REASONS, RIGHT?
SO FOR INSTANCE, WE KNOW FROM
OTHER RESEARCH THAT BLACK GIRLS
HAVE NOT ALWAYS HAD A GREAT
EXPERIENCE IN SCHOOL AND SO THEY
MIGHT FEEL... SOME OF THEM MIGHT
NOT HAVE FELT THAT THEY SHOULD
RESPOND TO OUR AD, RIGHT?
WE DON'T KNOW.

Nam says RIGHT.
YOU'RE SAYING THAT THEY'RE NOT
EMPOWERED TO FEEL LIKE THEY'RE SMART?

Rebecca says OR, NO, MAYBE, WE DON'T KNOW.
WE CAN ONLY GUESS BUT THEY MAY
HAVE THE NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES AT
SCHOOL, FOR EXAMPLE.
THEY MAY BE LESS LIKELY TO TRUST
RESEARCHERS.
WE CAN ONLY GUESS.
WE DID HAVE OTHER KINDS OF
DIVERSITY IN TERMS OF THE NUMBER
OF ASIAN AND SOUTH ASIAN GIRLS
PARTICIPATE BUT CERTAINLY, ONLY
THE ONE BLACK GIRL.

NAM SAYS AND ALSO CLASS TOO, RIGHT?

REBECCA SAYS YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.
DIVERSITY AROUND CLASS.

Nam says NOW, FOR OUR GENERATION, I WOULD
SAY THE SPICE GIRLS PROBABLY
INTRODUCED US TO GIRL POWER.
SO LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT ONE OF
THEIR VIDEOS.

A music clip by the Spice Girls plays on screen.

In the clip, the five female members of the girl band sing and dance on a stage in a nightclub.

The song goes
TRUST IT, USE IT, PROVE IT,
GROOVE IT
SHOW HOW GOOD YOU ARE
YOU HAVE GOT TO REACH ON UP
NEVER LOSE YOUR SOUL
YOU HAVE GOT TO REACH ON UP
NEVER LOSE CONTROL...

The clip ends.

Nam says HOW HAS THAT IDEA OF GIRL POWER
INFLUENCED GIRLS TODAY, SHAUNA?

The caption changes to "Above and beyond."

Shauna says GIRL POWER IS PRETTY POWERFUL,
EVEN THIS FAR AWAY FROM THE BIG
FAME OF THE SPICE GIRLS.
GIRLS ARE SOAKING IN A CULTURE
OF GIRL POWER RIGHT NOW AND SO
OUR STUDY REALLY USED GIRL POWER
ALONG WITH THE IDEA OF
POST-FEMINISM AS ITS BACKDROP
WHERE GIRL POWER WAS REALLY THIS
POPULAR UNDERSTANDING THAT GIRLS
TODAY CAN DO, BE, AND HAVE
ANYTHING THAT THEY WANT.
THAT THEY DON'T NEED TO WORRY
ABOUT THEIR GENDER OR EVEN
RACIAL DIVERSITY BECAUSE ALL OF
THESE THINGS WERE THINGS OF THE
PAST.
AND SO WHAT WE DID IS, WE LOOKED
AT THE WAYS THAT GIRLS TALKED
ABOUT THEIR OWN UNDERSTANDINGS
OF POWER AS INDIVIDUALS,
ESPECIALLY IN THE SCHOOL AS
SMART GIRLS, AS OPPOSED TO
SEEING THEMSELVES AS PART OF A
COLLECTION OR A COLLECTIVE
POLITICAL GROUP.
AND SO IN THIS WAY, GIRLS SEEMED
VERY MUCH A PART OF THE GIRL
POWER GENERATION EVEN THOUGH IT
WAS 20 YEARS AGO.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram."

Nam says AND IN THE BOOK, YOU EXPLAIN
THAT THIS IDEA OF THE INDIVIDUAL
STEMS BACK TO A POLICY CALLED
NEOLIBERALISM AND IT'S GIVEN
RISE TO... HOW HAS THAT GIVEN RISE
TO THIS SUPER GIRL?
WHAT YOU CALL THE SUPER GIRL?
REBECCA?

The caption changes to "Rebecca Raby, @RebeccaRabyCHYS."

Rebecca says SO NEOLIBERALISM COULD BE SEEN
AS LIKE A POLITICAL ECONOMIC
APPROACH THAT REALLY GOT GOING
UNDER THE THATCHER AND REAGAN
AND MULRONEY AND IT'S THE IDEA
THAT WE REALLY SHOULD TREAT
SOCIETY AS INDIVIDUALS AND THAT
INEQUALITIES ARE REALLY EITHER
IRRELEVANT OR A THING OF THE
PAST AND THAT THE STATE SHOULD
WITHDRAW FROM SORT OF PROVIDING
SERVICES THAT MIGHT EQUALIZE THE
PLAYING FIELD.
AND SO IT SORT OF SUGGESTS THAT
IF YOU WORK REALLY HARD, YOU'LL
BE SUCCESSFUL AND IF YOU... LIKE
PEOPLE WHO ARE SUCCESSFUL
SOMEHOW HAVE EARNED IT THROUGH
ENTIRELY THEIR OWN INITIATIVE
AND PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT, IT'S
THROUGH ENTIRELY THEIR OWN FAILURE.

NAM SAYS FAULT.
LAZY OR WHATEVER, RIGHT?

REBECCA SAYS EXACTLY.
NO RECOGNITION OF HOW PRIVILEGE
OR INEQUALITY MIGHT HAVE A PLACE
IN THAT AND SO IN THAT CONTEXT,
YOU KNOW, SOMETHING LIKE THE
SPICE GIRLS VIDEO'S REALLY
EXCITING, YES.
YOU CAN DO ANYTHING.
YOU CAN BE ANYTHING AND IT FAILS
TO SORT OF LOOK AT HOW ACTUALLY,
NOT EVERYBODY HAS THE SAME
CHANCE THERE.

Nam says AND YOU EXPLAIN TOO IN THE BOOK
THAT THIS IDEA OF NEOLIBERALISM
STEMS INTO WHAT YOU CALL
POST-FEMINISM.
HOW DOES THAT IMPACT YOUNG
GIRLS, SHAUNA?

Shauna says WELL, IF NEOLIBERALISM IS THE
IDEA THAT EVERYBODY IS AN
INDIVIDUAL AND THAT THEY DON'T
NEED TO CONCERN THEMSELVES WITH
ANY BROADER STRUCTURE OR ANY
POWER IMBALANCE, GENDER
INEQUALITY, RACISM, ANYTHING
LIKE THAT, THEN POST-FEMINISM IS
REALLY JUST A MORE REFINED,
NARROW UNDERSTANDING OF THAT
ATTITUDE WHERE GIRLS AND YOUNG
WOMEN TYPICALLY SEE THEMSELVES
AS INDIVIDUALS WHO CAN RISE UP
WHO CAN TAKE CONTROL.
THAT SPICE GIRLS CLIP IS
FANTASTIC AT EXEMPLIFYING THE
KIND OF POWER THAT YOUNG WOMEN
MIGHT FEEL THAT THEY HAVE TODAY
AS INDIVIDUALS.
SEXUAL POWER, CONSUMER POWER,
THE POWER OF CHOICE, FREE
CHOICE.
AND SO WHEN WE LOOKED AT HOW
GIRLS SPOKE ABOUT THEMSELVES IN
RELATION TO THEIR ACADEMIC
SUCCESS, WHAT WE FOUND IS THAT
THEY EMBODIED THIS... TO THE MOST
PART, THIS IDEA OF GIRL POWER
AND POST-FEMINISM WHERE THEY SAW
THEMSELVES AS RISING UP ON THEIR
OWN ACCORD, TAKING CHARGE OF
THEIR LIVES, NOT RELYING ON
ANYBODY.
NOT BEING SEEN AS WEAK.
ALWAYS BEING STRONG.
STAND UP AND NEVER ALLOWING
THEMSELVES TO FEEL THAT THEY
WERE SOMEHOW VICTIMIZED OR BEING
MADE TO NOT SUCCEED BASED ON
SOMETHING THAT WAS OUTSIDE OF
THEMSELVES.

Nam says I WAS JUST READING SOME OF THE
STORIES OF THESE GIRLS.
I WAS STRESSED OUT FOR THEM.

[LAUGHTER]

Nam says I WAS LIKE, HOW DO
YOU MANAGE TO DO ALL OF THIS STUFF?
YOU KNOW, YOU'RE AWESOME AT
SCHOOL IN ACADEMICS.
YOU'RE AWESOME AFTER ALL THE
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES.
YOU HAVE A PART-TIME JOB.
WHAT IS THE DOWNSIDE TO BEING A
SUPER GIRL, REBECCA?

Rebecca says SO, ONLY SOME OF THE PEOPLE WE
TALKED TO WERE SUPER GIRLS.
IT REALLY TAKES A CERTAIN
PACKAGE OF ATTRIBUTES AND
PARENTAL SUPPORT AND FINANCES TO
BE A SUPER GIRL AND THOSE... OR
EVEN TO SEEM TO COME CLOSE TO IT
BUT THOSE ONES WHO DID SEEM TO
BE ABLE TO PULL IT ALL OFF AS
YOU READ, SOME OF THEM ARE
PRETTY STRESSED AND THEY HAVE TO
HIDE THIS STRESS AS WELL.
IT TOOK A WHILE.
LIKE, WE WERE SO GLAD WE
INTERVIEWED PEOPLE TWICE BECAUSE
IT WAS OFTEN IN THE SECOND
INTERVIEW THAT SOME OF THIS
MORE... THE HARDER STUFF CAME OUT.
YOU KNOW, AND PART OF IT WAS A
PERFECTIONISM AND A FEELING THAT
THEY ALWAYS HAD TO SORT OF REACH
HIGH AND THE OTHER PART OF THAT
THAT WE FOUND CHALLENGING IS
THAT IT HAS AN EFFECT FOR OTHER
GIRLS AS WELL WHO CAN'T ATTAIN THAT.
IT MAKES THE BAR REALLY HIGH, RIGHT?
AND WE KNOW FROM SOME OTHER
RESEARCH THAT PEOPLE HAVE DONE
THAT YOU KNOW, THAT THERE'S THIS
SORT OF FEELING THAT YOU JUST
GOTTA BE BETTER AND BETTER AND
BETTER.
THERE WAS ACTUALLY ONE OF THE
GIRLS WHO ACTUALLY SAID THAT.
YOU KNOW, I JUST NEED TO
CONSTANTLY DO BETTER.

NAM SAYS STUDY MORE.

Rebecca says YOU CAN ONLY... YEAH.
SLEEP LESS, STUDY MORE; BE
INVOLVED MORE.
POSITION YOURSELF IN A BETTER,
BETTER, BETTER PLACE AND
IT'S... IT WAS REALLY DESTRUCTIVE
TO SOME OF THEM.

Nam says ONE OF THEM SAID THAT YOU CAN
SLEEP WHEN YOU'RE DEAD.

[LAUGHTER]

Nam says BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A SUPER
GIRL FAILS OR EVEN WHEN SHE
THINKS SHE'S FAILING?
SHAUNA?

Shauna says I DON'T KNOW THAT THEY WERE
FAILING.
I THINK THEY WERE SUCCEEDING ON
MANY FRONTS.
AS YOU MENTIONED, THEY WERE
DOING SPORTS.
THEY WERE, SOME OF THEM,
INVOLVED IN GOVERNMENT.
THEY WERE GETTING STRAIGHT A'S.
THEY WERE DOING VERY WELL
SOCIALLY, SOME OF THEM.
THEY HAD PARTNERS AND BOYFRIENDS
AND FRIENDS BUT WE DID TALK TO
SOME GIRLS WHO, AFTER TWO
CONVERSATIONS, LET DOWN THEIR
GUARD JUST A LITTLE BIT AND
DURING THAT CONVERSATION, WE DID
START TO HEAR SOME STORIES OF
STRESS, MENTAL HEALTH STRUGGLE,
PEOPLE WHO WERE ABSOLUTELY
CONCERNED THAT THEY WERE
OVERWORKED AND THAT THEY WERE
REALLY NOT ABLE TO PARTICIPATE
AS FULLY AS THEY WANTED TO IN
THEIR LIVES.

Nam says AND I ALSO GOT THIS SENSE THAT
IN ORDER TO BE A SUPER GIRL... YOU
CAN CORRECT ME IF I'M
WRONG... THAT IN ORDER TO BE A
SUPER GIRL, CLASS PLAYED A
REALLY CRUCIAL FACTOR.
AND I WANT TO ASK, DO SUPER
GIRLS HAVE TO BE WHITE AND RICH?

REBECCA SAYS WELL, IN OUR STUDY,
THEY WERE.
WELL, NO.
THEY WEREN'T ALL RICH; THEY WERE
WHITE.
WE DID HAVE SOME WHO WERE, YOU
KNOW, SORT OF MAYBE WORKING TO
MIDDLE-CLASS BUT THEY HAD
REALLY, REALLY SUPPORTIVE
PARENTS AND THEY WERE, I THINK,
MORE THE EXCEPTIONS.
CERTAINLY TO HAVE THOSE
RESOURCES MADE A HUGE
DIFFERENCE.

Nam says WERE THEY AWARE OF THAT PRIVILEGE?

Rebecca says LARGELY, NO.
OCCASIONALLY SOMEBODY MIGHT SAY
SOMETHING THAT SUGGESTED SOME
AWARENESS BUT GENERALLY, YOU
KNOW, IT WAS REALLY... THEY
REFLECT THIS INDIVIDUALISM
APPROACH, RIGHT?
WHERE THEY KIND OF FEEL LIKE
THEY DID IT ON THEIR OWN.

Nam says 'CAUSE IT KIND OF SURPRISED ME
THAT THEY EQUATED PEOPLE WHO
WERE POOR AS BEING NOT NICE OR
NOT SMART ENOUGH, WHICH KIND OF
SURPRISED ME.
SO THEY MIGHT BE ACADEMICALLY
SMART BUT HOW DO YOU THINK THEY
SEE THE WORLD AT LARGE?

Rebecca says SO, THESE KINDS OF INSIGHTS LIKE
ABOUT HOW THEY TALKED ABOUT
POORER KIDS FOR EXAMPLE, THEY
COME OUT, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE
THESE LONG CONVERSATIONS AND
THEN YOU GET THESE STRANDS THAT
TAKE THESE FUNNY LITTLE
DIRECTIONS THAT I THINK REVEAL
THESE SORT OF UNDERCURRENTS THAT
ARE TROUBLING.
ONE OF THEM CERTAINLY WAS AROUND
CLASS WHERE... AND CERTAINLY NOT
ALL THE GIRLS BUT SOME OF THE
GIRLS WOULD SAY THINGS ABOUT
CERTAIN SCHOOLS THAT HAD A SORT OF...

NAM SAYS LIKE THE GHETTO KIDS OR THE
GHETTO SCHOOLS.

Rebecca says EXACTLY, EXACTLY.
OR YOU KNOW, THE RICH KIDS
SCHOOL WHERE YOU KNOW, WHERE THE
PARENTS REALLY CARE ABOUT THEM
AND THAT THEY'RE ALL SMART,
RIGHT?
YOU'RE THINKING, "SO WHAT KINDS
OF ASSUMPTIONS ARE BEING MADE
HERE?"
REALLY PROBLEMATIC ASSUMPTIONS.

Nam says SOME GIRLS IN YOUR STUDY WERE
ALSO HAVING A HARD TIME
BALANCING BEING POPULAR WITH
BEING SMART.

SHAUNA SAYS ABSOLUTELY.
I THINK WE PROBABLY EXPERIENCED
THAT WHEN WE WERE GROWING UP.
WHY IS THAT AN ISSUE FOR THEM
AND WHY IS THAT AN ISSUE STILL?

The caption changes to "Popular femininity."

Shauna says GOOD QUESTION.
THERE WAS DEFINITELY A TENSION
BETWEEN WHAT WE CALLED POPULAR
FEMININITY AND ACADEMIC SUCCESS
AND SO IN THE BOOK, THERE WERE A
RANGE OF GIRLS.
SOME OF WHOM WERE ABSOLUTELY
CONCERNED ABOUT THIS TENSION AND
THEY WERE WORKING REALLY HARD
NOT TO BE SEEN AS SMART SO SOME
OF THEM WERE DUMBING DOWN.
SOME OF THEM WERE NOT PUTTING
THEIR HANDS UP WHEN THEY KNEW
THE ANSWER.
THEY CERTAINLY WEREN'T SHARING
THEIR GRADES AND THEY WERE
REALLY CONCERNED TO CONTAIN AND
MAINTAIN A PARTICULAR PERSONA IN
THE SCHOOL.
BUT THEN THERE WERE OTHER GIRLS
WHO ACTUALLY WERE JUST SAYING,
"I DON'T CARE.
I'M GOING TO BE SMART AND IT'S
WHO I AM AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO
MY FUTURE.
AND WHEN I'M A GROWN UP, I'LL
MAKE A GREAT LIVING AND YOU GUYS
CAN COME WORK FOR ME," AND SO I
LOVE THOSE COMMENTS WHERE
VIRGINIA, FOR EXAMPLE, SHE SAID,
"YOU KNOW, YOU CAN ALWAYS GO TO
ANOTHER PARTY.
YOU CAN ALWAYS FLATIRON YOUR
HAIR ANOTHER DAY BUT HERE WE ARE
AND WE NEED TO LEARN THESE
LESSONS IN SCHOOL."
AND SO THERE WAS A RANGE OF
GIRLS IN THE STUDY WHO WERE
INTENTIONED WITH THAT IDEA OF
POPULAR FEMININITY.

Nam says THAT'S GREAT INSIGHT AT SUCH A
YOUNG AGE.

SHAUNA SAYS I KNOW.

Nam says YOU MENTIONED POPULAR
FEMININITY.
THERE'S ALSO POPULAR
MASCULINITY.
REBECCA, WHAT IS THAT?

Rebecca says WELL, POPULAR FEMININITY, FIRST
OF ALL, IS SORT OF YOU KNOW, THE
IDEA THAT YOU NEED TO BE PRETTY
AND YOU NEED TO BE SKINNY.
YOU NEED TO BE REALLY NICE
WHEREAS FOR BOYS LIKE A SORT OF
POPULAR MASCULINITY IS OFTEN
ASSOCIATED WITH ATHLETICS AND
ALSO HUMOUR WE FOUND WAS REALLY
IMPORTANT.
POTENTIAL KEY FOR BOYS TO...

NAM SAYS BUT NOT FOR GIRLS.

Rebecca says NOT FOR GIRLS.
THAT'S DANGER TERRITORY, RIGHT?
SO FOR BOTH BOYS AND GIRLS, WE
ARGUE IN OUR BOOK THAT FOR BOTH
OF THEM, THERE'S TENSION RIGHT
BETWEEN POPULAR MASCULINITY OR
FEMININITY AND BEING SMART AND
THERE'S DIFFICULT KIND OF LITTLE
KNOTS THERE.
AND... BUT YOU CAN MEDIATE THOSE
CHALLENGES IF YOU CAN KIND OF DO
LIKE FOR A GIRL, IF SHE CAN LOOK
REALLY PRETTY AND SHE CAN WEAR
THE RIGHT FASHIONS THEN SHE
MIGHT BE ABLE TO SORT OF GET
AWAY WITH BEING SMART A LITTLE
BIT MORE THAN ANOTHER GIRL.
AND SIMILARLY, YOU KNOW, FOR A
BOY, FOR THE BOYS IT WASN'T SO
MUCH THAT YOU COULDN'T BE SMART.
BOYS COULD BE SMART BUT THE BOYS
TALKED ABOUT HOW YOU DON'T WANT
TO BE SEEN TO BE TRYING TOO HARD.
YOU DIDN'T WANT TO BE SEEN TO BE
STUDYING REALLY HARD.
SO NATURAL SMARTNESS IS GOOD BUT
WORK SMARTNESS ISN'T SO GOOD.

Nam says BECAUSE THAT UNDERMINES
THEIR MASCULINITY?

Rebecca says WELL, THIS SORT OF... THERE SEEMED
TO BE THIS NEED TO OR LIKE THAT
THEY KIND OF NEED TO COME ACROSS
AS SORT OF LAISSEZ-FAIRE.

Nam says THAT THESE THINGS COME NATURALLY
TO THEM.

Rebecca says EXACTLY, RIGHT.
SO A BOY WHO IS REALLY GOOD AT
SPORTS, FOR EXAMPLE, OR A BOY
WHO IS REALLY FUNNY, COULD MAYBE
GET AWAY WITH BEING MORE
STUDIOUS AT THE SAME TIME
BECAUSE HE WAS SORT OF CASHING
IN ON THIS MORE POPULAR
MASCULINITY.

Nam says BUT WHAT HAPPENS TO THE STUDENTS
WHO DON'T FIT IN TO THOSE, LIKE
HOW ARE THEY TREATED?

Shauna says THOSE ARE THE STUDENTS WHO HAD A
LOT MORE CONCERNS IN THE SCHOOL
AND THOSE ARE THE STUDENTS WHO
MIGHT HAVE BEEN DUMBING DOWN.
SOME OF THE GIRLS MIGHT HAVE
BEEN VERY CONCERNED TO MAINTAIN
THEIR SORT OF QUIETNESS AROUND
THEIR GRADES AND NOT AT ALL TO
BE PERCEIVED AS A SHOW OFF.
WE HAVE A DISCUSSION IN THE BOOK
ABOUT TEACHER'S PET VERSUS
CLASS CLOWN FOR EXAMPLE, WHERE
THE CLASS CLOWN WAS SEEN AS THIS
VERY JOCULAR, EASY GOING KIND OF
LAISSEZ-FAIRE CHARACTER AS
REBECCA DESCRIBED BUT IF A GIRL
DARED TO TRY THAT AS YOU SAID,
SHE WAS SEEN AS MEAN.
SOMETIMES SHE WAS SEEN AS A
TEACHER'S PET WHERE SHE WAS
TRYING TO SUCK UP TO THE TEACHER
OR GARNER GRADES BY BEING A
CERTAIN KIND OF PERSONALITY.
AND SO FOR SOME OF THE YOUNGER
GIRLS IN OUR STUDY, THIS WAS A
REAL CONCERN AND THEY SPOKE
ABOUT HOW TEACHER'S PETS ARE
ALMOST ALWAYS GIRLS AND THEY'RE
ALMOST ALWAYS DISLIKED.

Nam says FOR BEING A TEACHER'S PET.

SHAUNA SAYS FOR BEING A TEACHER'S PET.

Nam says AND WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU ASK
GIRLS IF THEY EXPERIENCE SEXISM?
REBECCA?

Rebecca says WELL, IF WE ASK DIRECTLY, IS
THERE SEXISM, THEY WOULD SAY,
"NO, THERE IS NOT SEXISM.
SEXISM HAPPENS ELSEWHERE.
SEXISM HAPPENS IN AFGHANISTAN."

NAM SAYS THAT'S REALLY INTERESTING.

Rebecca says YES.

NAM SAYS THEY THINK IT'S SOMEWHERE
ELSE BUT NOT HERE.

Rebecca says YES.
NOW ONE GIRL CHALLENGED THAT,
ABSOLUTELY, BUT VARIOUS OTHER
ONES REALLY REPRODUCED THIS IDEA
THAT HERE WELL, IT'S A VERY
POST-FEMINIST IDEA, RIGHT?
WE'RE DONE.
WE'RE DONE WITH FEMINISM.
WE'VE GAINED GENDER EQUALITY
HERE AND IT'S NOT THE CASE
ELSEWHERE.

Nam says BUT THEN THEY ALSO JOKE THAT
SOME OF THE BOYS WOULD SAY,
"GO MAKE ME A SANDWICH."

Rebecca says WELL, THERE ARE ALL SORTS OF THREADS.
LIKE IT WAS WHEN WE ASKED THEM
OTHER QUESTIONS, RIGHT?
HOW DID THINGS GO WITH SPORTS AT
YOUR SCHOOL?
IS THAT EQUAL?
DO GIRLS AND BOYS HAVE TO LOOK
DIFFERENTLY?
WHO ASKS WHO OUT ON A DATE?
ARE THERE JOKES LIKE THIS?
THESE ARE THE MOMENTS WHEN THESE
THINGS CAME OUT AND YES, THIS
JOKE ABOUT, "GO TO THE KITCHEN
AND MAKE ME A SANDWICH."
THIS CAME UP SO MANY TIMES, IT
WAS BIZARRE.
RIGHT?
THAT CLEARLY THIS WAS A WAY OF
TALKING THAT A LOT OF THEM HAD
BUMPED INTO IN SCHOOL AND THEY
TENDED TO TRY TO DISMISS IT IN A
JOKEY WAY BUT THERE ARE OTHER
MOMENTS IN THE INTERVIEWS WHERE
THESE MORE SERIOUS OCCASIONS
CAME UP...

Nam says AND YOU ALSO MENTIONED THAT THEY
DIDN'T... MAYBE THEY DIDN'T HAVE
THE LANGUAGE TO EXPLAIN WHAT
THAT WAS.

Rebecca says YEAH, OR YES.
WE FEEL THAT THEY DIDN'T... A LOT
OF THEM DIDN'T HAVE THE LANGUAGE
AND THERE WERE ALSO OTHERS WHO,
YOU KNOW, MAYBE KNOW SOME OF THE
LANGUAGE BUT THEY WERE REALLY
RESISTANT TO IT, RIGHT?
BECAUSE THIS IDEA THAT...

NAM SAYS POST-FEMINISM?

Rebecca says YEAH, FEMINISM... WITHIN THE
POST-FEMINIST CLIMATE, FEMINISM
ITSELF COULD BE CONSIDERED A
NEGATIVE THING, RIGHT?
BEING ASSOCIATED WITH FEMINISM
WITH SOMETHING A LOT OF GIRLS
DIDN'T WANT, RIGHT?
THEY DIDN'T WANT TO BE SEEN AS
VICTIMS AND THEY DIDN'T WANT TO
BE SEEN AS WHINERS MAYBE OR
ANGRY.
IF YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE A NICE
GIRL ALL THE TIME, THERE'S NOT A
LOT OF ROOM THERE TO TALK ABOUT
THINGS LIKE SEXISM.

Nam says WELL I'M GLAD YOU BROUGHT THAT
UP BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY SOME GIRLS
IN THE BOOK ESPECIALLY, WE CAN
SEE THAT THEY'RE NOT EMBRACING
FEMINISM BECAUSE THEY THINK
THEY'RE EQUAL.
WE HAVE A COUPLE OF PHOTOS FROM
OUR WEBSITE YOU TALK ABOUT IN
YOUR BOOK AND IT'S CALLED,
WOMEN AGAINST FEMINISM.

A picture pops up of a woman around twenty holding up a hand-written sign.

Nam says AND I'M SHOWING YOU A PICTURE
RIGHT NOW AND THE FIRST PHOTO
SAYS "I DON'T NEED FEMINISM
BECAUSE I AM NOT A VICTIM.
THERE IS NO WAR AGAINST ME.
I HAVE AND WILL SUCCEED IN LIFE
BECAUSE I WORK FOR IT.
NOT USE MY GENDER AS A GET OUT
OF JAIL FREE CARD.
AND I LOVE TO BE SEXY FOR MY MAN
AND COOK FOR HIM IN THE KITCHEN."

A similar picture with a different woman pops up.

Nam says THE SECOND PHOTO AND THIS SAYS:
"I DON'T NEED FEMINISM BECAUSE I
AM NOT A VICTIM.
I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY
ACTIONS.
I DON'T BELIEVE IN LYING TO GET
WHAT I WANT."
WHY DO YOUNG WOMEN THINK THAT IF
THEY'RE FEMINISTS, THEY ARE VICTIMS?
SHAUNA?

[LAUGHTER]

Shauna says I PAUSED BECAUSE IT'S SUCH A
COMPLEX QUESTION AND IT'S SUCH
AN IMPORTANT QUESTION.
TO BE FAIR, NOT ALL GIRLS THOUGHT THAT.
CERTAINLY SOME OF THE GIRLS IN
OUR STUDY WERE EMBRACING
FEMINIST POLITICS EITHER IN A
PERIPHERAL WAY OR IN A MORE
OVERT FASHION WHERE THEY WOULD
SAY, "I AM A FEMINIST AND HERE'S
WHY I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT."
BUT FOR THE MOST PART, WHAT YOU
READ IN THE BOOK WOULD HAVE BEEN
STORY AFTER STORY OF GIRLS
SAYING, "I DON'T THINK WE NEED
FEMINISM ANYMORE AND I DON'T
THINK THAT I NEED TO CALL MYSELF
A FEMINIST."
SO THERE IS THIS LACK OF
LANGUAGE, AS WE SUGGESTED
EARLIER.
BUT THIS IDEA OF NEOLIBERALISM
AND LEADING INTO POST-FEMINISM
REALLY VALORIZES THE INDIVIDUAL
TO SUCH AN EXTENT WHERE THE IDEA
OF LEANING ON ANYTHING OR ANYONE
MIGHT BE PERCEIVED AS NOT JUST
WEAKNESS BUT A FAILURE IN YOUR
PERSONALITY.
AND SO FOR SOME REASON, THIS
BECAME REALLY EXTRAPOLATED BY
THE GIRLS IN THE STUDY WHERE
THEY SAID, YOU KNOW,
"I DON'T NEED IT.
I'M FINE, I CAN HANDLE IT."
MAYBE THIS IS ABOUT BEING
STRONG.
BEING GIRL POWER.
BEING ABLE TO HANDLE THINGS ON
YOUR OWN.
BUT FOR THE MOST PART, WE DID
HEAR GIRLS ASSOCIATE FEMINISM
WITH THAT KIND OF WEAKNESS AND
NEEDING TO LEAN ON SOMEBODY IN A
WAY THAT IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT.
THIS IS A MISUNDERSTANDING OF
FEMINISM WHERE FEMINISM IS SEEN
TO BE A FORM OF COMPLAINING AS
THESE IMAGES CLEARLY SHOW
INSTEAD OF A FORM OF EMPOWERMENT
WHERE PEOPLE GET TOGETHER AND
WORK TOGETHER TO CREATE
COLLECTIVE CHANGE IN THEIR
SOCIETY.

Nam says MANY HEADLINES INDICATE THE
GIRLS ARE ALL RIGHT BUT THE BOYS
NEED HELP.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM BOYS
ABOUT THEIR SCHOOL EXPERIENCE?

The caption changes to "What about the boys?"

Rebecca says SO AS WE WERE SAYING EARLIER,
BOYS HAD SOME CHALLENGES TOO.
BUT, NO.
WE FEEL THAT THE BOYS HAD
CHALLENGES AND THAT'S HAD
ATTENTION AND THAT'S IMPORTANT
BUT THE GIRLS STILL ALSO HAVE
CHALLENGES AND THAT'S ALSO
IMPORTANT AND WE WORRY THAT THIS
STORY OF FAILING BOYS AND
SUCCESSFUL GIRLS HAS LED US TO
START TO ACTUALLY NOT RECOGNIZE
THAT GIRLS ALSO FACE CHALLENGES.
NOW IN TERMS OF BOYS, YOU KNOW,
THE CHALLENGES THEY FACE, AT
LEAST THE ONES THAT WE TALKED
TO, YOU KNOW, IF YOU HAVE TO
HIDE STUDYING, WELL, THAT'S A
PROBLEM, RIGHT?
YOU KNOW, WE'VE GOT GIRLS WHO
WON'T PUT THEIR HAND UP IN CLASS
AND WE'VE GOT BOYS WHO FEEL THAT
THEY CAN'T STUDY IN ORDER TO BE COOL.
AND WE KNOW THAT EDUCATION IS
REALLY VALUABLE SO WE HAVE BOYS
ALSO UNDERMINING THEIR OWN
FUTURES AND THEN THERE'S THIS
OTHER INTERESTING THREAD WHERE
YOU KNOW, THESE GIRLS ARE
WORKING SO HARD AND ONE OF THE
PLACES WHERE THEY TALKED ABOUT
INEQUALITY A LOT WAS INTO THEIR
FUTURE, RIGHT?
THAT IN THE FUTURE, THERE WILL
BE INEQUALITY.
WE FACE, YOU KNOW, A LACK OF
WAGE PARITY FOR INSTANCE, AND
THEY FELT THAT THE DICE WOULD BE
STACKED AGAINST THEM AND SO THEY
FELT THAT THEY HAD TO WORK
REALLY HARD IN THE PRESENT TO BE
SUCCESSFUL LATER ON.
THEY HAVE TO GO TO UNIVERSITY.
WHEREAS THE BOYS, THEY WERE A
LOT MORE LAID BACK.
YOU KNOW, LIKE THEY DIDN'T... FOR
THE MOST PART.
THERE WERE A FEW EXCEPTIONS BUT
GENERALLY, THE BOYS CERTAINLY
GAVE THE IMPRESSION OF BEING
JUST A BIT MORE CHILL ABOUT IT
ALL AND THINKING IT'S ALL GOING
TO WORK OUT AND I'M GOING TO
HAVE EMPLOYMENT LATER AND THE
PRESSURES TO GO TO UNIVERSITY
JUST AREN'T THE SAME FOR THEM
AND THAT COULD BE MISPLACED, RIGHT?
I MEAN, WE KNOW THAT
MANUFACTURING JOBS AREN'T
AVAILABLE IN A WAY THAT THEY
WERE BEFORE AND OTHER PEOPLE
HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THE
CONCERNS ABOUT THE FUTURES OF
YOUNG MEN AND WORK AND SO THEIR
LAISSEZ-FAIRE ATTITUDE MAY ALSO
BE UNDERMINING THEM IN THE LONG
RUN.

Nam says DO YOU WORRY THAT CONSIDERING
WHAT YOU SAW FROM BOYS AND GIRLS
FROM THIS STUDY THAT ONCE THEY
DO GET INTO THE REAL WORLD,
NEITHER WILL BE ABLE TO FUNCTION?

Shauna says FUNCTION HOW?

Nam says IN THE SENSE OF, YOU KNOW, THE
GIRLS BELIEVE THAT
FEMINISM... THERE'S NO
DISCRIMINATION.
IT'S ALL ABOUT WHAT I DO.
AND WHEN THEY GET INTO THE REAL
WORLD, THEY MIGHT BE CONFRONTED
WITH SOME VERY REAL REALITIES
THAT THEY'VE NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT
OR LED TO BELIEVE THAT THEY
DON'T EXIST ANYMORE.

Shauna says I THINK THAT THERE IS AN
AWAKENING PROBABLY WAITING FOR
SOME OF THE GIRLS IN THE FUTURE.
CERTAINLY NOT ALL.
AND I DO THINK THAT THEY'RE
GOING TO END COUNTER SEXISM IN
THEIR WORK LIVES AND AS THEY
PROGRESS THROUGH THEIR
EDUCATIONS.
ONE OF THE THINGS WE KNOW, THE
STATISTICS TELL THE STORY ABOUT
THE LACK OF GENDER DIVERSITY IN
GOVERNMENT POSITIONS, IN LAW
PARTNERSHIPS, CEOS IN MAJOR
CORPORATIONS.
THESE STATISTICS TELL US THAT
GENDER IS STILL A SALIENT FACTOR
IN OPPRESSION OUT THERE IN THE
WORLD AND SO WE AREN'T IN A
POST-FEMINIST ERA.
NOT BY A LONG SHOT AND WE CAN
SEE THIS CLEARLY IN CURRENT
EVENTS, IN OUR CURRENT ELECTED
LEADERS.
WE CAN SEE ALL SORTS OF EXAMPLES
OF SEXISM AND THE NEED FOR
FEMINISM OUT THERE IN THE WORLD
SO I DO THINK THEY'LL BE
CONFRONTED WITH SOME OF THAT AND
THAT THE BOYS MIGHT ALSO HAVE TO
FACE WHAT REBECCA WAS TALKING
ABOUT EARLIER.
JUST THE IDEA THAT THE WORLD IS
NOT MAYBE AS SIMPLE AS THEY
MIGHT PERCEIVE IT TO BE ALTHOUGH
CERTAINLY NOT ALL BOYS THOUGHT
THAT EITHER.

Nam says YOU DID FIND SOME GOOD THINGS.

SHAUNA SAYS WE DID.

[LAUGHTER]

Nam says WHAT DID YOU FIND ENCOURAGING
ABOUT YOUR STUDY?

The caption changes to "Future of girls."

Rebecca says YOU KNOW, THERE WAS A LOT AND
ONE OF THE PARTS THAT I LOVED
WAS JUST TALKING TO THESE
WONDERFUL PEOPLE.
THEY WERE SMART.
SOME OF THEM WERE EXTREMELY
INSIGHTFUL.
THEY HAD POWERFUL FRIENDSHIPS,
SUPPORTIVE FAMILIES.
IT WAS REALLY EXCITING SO THAT
WAS ONE PART THAT WAS REALLY
HOPEFUL.
ANOTHER PART WAS THAT SOME GIRLS
WERE REALLY SMART IN HOW THEY
SORT OF NAVIGATED YOU KNOW, THIS
TENSION BETWEEN BEING SMART
GIRLS AND POPULAR FEMININITY AND
COULD KIND OF SEE THE CHALLENGES
AND WE FELT NAVIGATED THEM
REALLY WELL.
WE ALSO FELT THAT WHAT SCHOOL
YOU WENT TO DID MAKE A
DIFFERENCE AND SO THERE WAS SOME
GIRLS WHO WERE AT CERTAIN KINDS
OF SCHOOLS THAT REALLY HELPED
THEM THRIVE AND THAT MADE US
FEEL REALLY POSITIVE AND THERE
WERE ALSO GIRLS WHO DID HAVE
INSIGHT INTO INEQUALITIES THAT
EXIST AND AN INTEREST IN
CHANGING THEM.
YOU KNOW, WE TALKED ABOUT... WE
TALKED TO SOME WHO OVERTLY CALL
THEMSELVES FEMINISTS, RIGHT?

Nam says AND YOU ALSO TALKED ABOUT MICRO
RESISTANCES?
WE ONLY HAVE A MINUTE LEFT.
CAN YOU...

Shauna says MICRO RESISTANCE IS A RESISTANCE
THAT HAPPENS AT THE EVERYDAY
LEVEL THAT MAY NOT BE NOTICEABLE
TO ANY SOCIOLOGIST OR
RESEARCHER.
IT'S JUST GIRLS PLUGGING AWAY,
DAY IN AND DAY OUT, LIVING THEIR
LIVES IN WAYS THAT MIGHT BE
DIFFERENT FROM WHAT IS
CONSIDERED POPULAR FEMININITY OR
IN WAYS THAT MIGHT CONTRADICT
HOW A GIRL IS SUPPOSED TO ACT.
SO GENDER RESISTANCES, RACIAL
RESISTANCES, RESISTANCE TO A
DOMINANT CULTURE THAT SUGGESTS
THAT GIRLS ARE NATURALLY SMART
AND THEREFORE WE DON'T NEED TO
WORRY ABOUT THEM ANYMORE SO I
THINK GIRLS ARE PLUGGING AWAY.
WE DID SAY THAT BEING A SMART
GIRL AT THE VERY END OF THE BOOK
WAS A FORM OF RESISTANCE IN AND
OF ITSELF BECAUSE IT'S A TOUGH
SUBJECT POSITION OR A TOUGH
IDENTITY TO OCCUPY AND YOU HAVE
TO NEGOTIATE IT QUITE CAREFULLY.

NAM SAYS ESPECIALLY IN THE STEM
FIELD, RIGHT?

SHAUNA SAYS ESPECIALLY IN THE STEM FIELDS.

The caption changes to "Producer: Carla Lucchetta, @carrletta."

Nam says IT WOULD BE FASCINATING IF YOU
COULD FOLLOW SOME OF THESE
STUDENTS IN UNIVERSITY YEARS OR
JUST TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

SHAUNA SAYS ABSOLUTELY.

NAM SAYS SHAUNA, REBECCA, THANK YOU
SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE.

Rebecca says THANKS SO MUCH.

Shauna says THANK YOU.

Watch: Girl Power: Beyond the Stereotype