Published: January 1, 2014
Containing practical, specific parenting advice; strategies for effecting change with educators, store managers, corporations, and more; and tips for challenging and changing the media, this essential guide gives parents the tools they need to fight back against the modern stereotyping and sexualization of young girls. Activist Melissa Wardy shares tangible advice for getting young girls to start thinking critically about sexed-up toys and clothes while also talking to girls about body image issues. She provides tips for creating a home full of diverse, inspiring toys and media free of gender stereotypes, using consumer power to fight companies that make such major missteps, and taking the reins to limit, challenge, and change the harmful media and products bombarding girls. Redefining Girly provides specific parenting strategies, templates, and sample conversations and includes letters from some of the leading experts in education, psychology, child development, and girls’ advocacy.
This was a very personal book for me to read. I have an almost 5 year old daughter and, since her birth, I've been fighting what I sometimes is a losing battle with the media and what I consider society's inappropriate expectations of girls. It almost seems an obligation to inflict Disney Princesses and the like on little girls and mothers, such as myself who would rather not enforce these stereotypes and messages, are considered to be out of bounds.
My one regret about this book is that I wish it had come out about 4 years ago, but what are you going to do? Wardy creates a "tool kit" for parents and her tips are very valuable, even to someone with a somewhat older child. I also felt comforted that I am not alone in my wishes that my little girl be able to be just a little girl.
Wardy also includes a number of letters from experts, which I also found very valuable. In addition to these letters and the tips she includes, there is an extensive resource list at the end of the book--that list alone is worth the purchase price of this book.
I do have one criticism of the book. I wish that it was better organized. About halfway through the book, Wardy starts to repeat herself. I think that if there was different organizational scheme to the book, she could have avoided this pitfall and her overall message would be clearer.
All in all, however, this is an excellent book for any parent of young children. I truly hope that parents harness their own power in the midst of the media onslaught for the sake of our daughters.
I received an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no other compensation for this post.