Wednesday, August 23, 2006


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.

Sincerely outraged,
Jennifer J. Thweatt-Bates


hermit greg said...

Ugh. They really used the mountain-climbing metaphor? First they infantilize feminists, then beat them with a mountain of a phallus: that's putting women in their place!

I think there was a big newsweekly article of this sort not long ago that had a similar argument about women at work, which might have been a genesis for the Today piece; Linda Hirshman had a lot to say about it...

D.J. said...

I too watch the Today show while nursing, but I missed this segment today and opted to take a shower instead. Sounds like I made the right choice. The teaser sounded ridiculous enough.

pat said...

You are correct. We never consulted Seventeen magazine in any way for anything. In fact, we never consulted much of anything...just flew by the seat of our pants and our good God-given sense.

Worked pretty well.

hermit greg said...

Apparently, Forbes has the same writer on staff.

G&G Girl said...

I don't get it. Do men drink, do drugs, sleep around because they're too empowered? What's their excuse? I can't believe that girls do anything more stupid than boys in the general realm of immaturity, the boys have just been doing it for longer and getting away with it more. How about we just empower our children, boys or girls, and simultaneously raise them to be people of integrity who value themselves and others. Your thoughts, Matt & Campbell?

Little Light said...

They talked about the article from Forbes on Good Day New York this morning. Men and women alike were fairly appalled.

Little Light said...

Oh, and, why must femininity and empowerment be mutually exclusive?