So, I've been watching the Today Show in the mornings while breastfeeding Clare. This morning, an exceptionally fine morning as Clare slept through the night!!!, was soured for me as I happened to see a segment entitled, "Power Girls: has empowerment gone too far?" I am, in fact, incensed. Enough so that I decided it was worth a bit of time to express my outrage in an email that will never be read. Which is why I post it below, so that at least YOU, my small band of loyal readers, can be equally pissed off and admire my nice turn of wicked phrase here and there.
Dear Today Show,
I am writing to express my disappointment with a segment of this morning's show, entitled "Power Girls: has empowerment gone too far?" The premise of this segment, that empowering girls with the message that "they can do anything," has backfired and produced heightened reckless and irresponsible behaviors in girls (such as drinking, smoking, and drug use) is flawed and indeed damaging. The assumption that empowerment equals immature adolescent hedonism is never questioned in this segment, but quite the opposite: it is assumed to be true, and then lamented. The suggested solution is a return to "feminity," with the statement that in this way women will once again take their proper place as the moralizing force in general society. What an incredibly backward suggestion.
I find it hard to believe that anyone would present this as serious "reporting," or that any professional woman would be able to state such things on national TV with a straight face. Those two women could take on Steven Colbert anytime.
As a side note, I also found it odd that Seventeen magazine is now considered a legitimate source for parental advice. I'm certain my parents never consulted it while dealing with my difficult teen years, and as a parent myself I have not had occasion to seek advice about raising my daughter from a magazine whose major audience is the apparently over-empowered teen girl it purports to lament.
Now that the feminist "mountain has been climbed," as was claimed in the segment, are we to believe that achieving a semblance of equality and respect has actually damaged girls? Is the solution really to silently slink back down that mountain into our kitchens, don the aprons and kick off the shoes? And let's not forget that even here at "the top" of this mountain, women are still earning only about 60% of the income that men do for the same work. Have we really achieved what is being claimed here? I think not.
Please, do not air any more segments which undermine the true empowerment of girls and women. There are too many mountains that remain to be climbed.
Jennifer J. Thweatt-Bates