Monday, March 16, 2009
I am pleased to offer up this interview with the fabulous Liz Funk, author of Supergirls Speak Out. I saw Liz on The Today Show a couple of weeks ago and was impressed with her knowledge and sensitivity. Check out this interview!
TB: Why do you think that the pressure to be a supergirl is so persuasive in our culture?
Liz: I think it's a two-pronged problem. The first issue is that there has never been so much pressure on girls, from the media, from their peer groups, and from their schools to be smart, accomplished, pretty, charming, rich-looking, and glamorous. The second issue is that today's young women don't have a sense of intrinsic worth--why they matter outside of what they look like, what they've accomplished, andhow others perceive them. It leaves them very vulnerable to wanting to please everyone and be a "good" girl.
TB: What traits do Supergirls have?
Liz: Supergirls are almost always very type-A, ambitious, goal-oriented young women. I found that frequently, Supergirls were very cognizant of their looks and put a lot of emphasis on having a boyfriend or having guys in their lives. Supergirls seem to have high hopes for themselves and although they're not overentitled, they like to see success come quickly.
TB: What can parents do to avoid having their daughter become a supergirl?
Liz: I think parents need to explicitly tell the young women in their lives that they matter! Girls are constantly bombarbed with unrealistic images of women in the media, and many girls get the message that if they want to be loved or to get attention, they need to be just as perfect as the charming, successful, nice girls they see on TV. As such, girls also need to have a strong grasp of media literacy: that is, understanding that almost everything we see on TV is scripted and airbrushed to perfection, and that girls shouldn't compare their lives to the fantasy lives they see girls leading on TV.
TB: Can you tell me some of the signs of a supergirl?
Liz: Well, that's the thing about Supergirls: it's very hard to tell from the outside if a Supergirl is struggling on the inside, because half of what makes being a Supergirl so difficult is that Supergirls make it look like they have everything under control and that their overachieving comes naturally to them. However, there are some signs and symptoms for friends and family of suspected Supergirls to spot,like excessive caffeine consumption, secret studying and exercising,being constantly exhausted, being irritable, and being obsessed with one's looks.
TB: What's next for you?
Liz: I just got really interested in screenwriting. I actually wanted to be a screenwriter far before I wanted to be an author--in middleschool and high school--and the Hollywood bug just bit me again, so I'm starting to work on some screenplays. Also, I've been slowly-but-surely working on a novel for the past year; it's a novel of social criticism geared towards twentysomething readers. We'll see what happens! My most immediate goal right now, though, is probably to graduate from college in May. I have a major case of senioritis,and I nee