readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Monday, November 2, 2009

November: Marlene's Post of Awesome


Marlene kicked the month off with this great comment. It's too good to miss, so I'm adding it here as well. Thanks, Marlene!

Hi, everyone.
Thank you, readergirlz, for asking me to be part of this adventure. Encouraging a discussion of the role of young women in life and literature, both historically and in today’s world, is just my cup of tea. With 33 years of teaching experience, some of them at an all girls’ college (yes, I’m that old), I’ve had much opportunity to observe, interact with, and counsel young women. And the changes! Wow! Can you imagine that when I was about twenty-five years old and living in Texas, I was known to my doctor only as Mrs. Gerald Carvell. And five years before that when I became a married woman, I went to a local department store (in New York) to change my name on a charge account and watched as my card was destroyed and then told my husband had to reapply for me.

While conflicts in Sweetgrass Basket are primarily a result of heritage and not necessarily gender-based, Mattie and Sarah’s problems were certainly magnified by being female; they were expected to be submissive, not just because they were those “inferior” Indian children but also because they were young girls . . . and girls in the early 1900s, of any race, were subjected to pressures and expectations that limited their opportunities for personal growth.

So, hopefully we will have an interesting exchange of thoughts and observations. I am traveling this month but I promise I will check in regularly. Let the discussion begin! ~Marlene

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ali cross said...

This is very cool. I'm looking forward to the upcoming posts!

Melissa Walker said...

Very, very cool!

Little Willow said...

Thank you, Marlene, for sharing so much with us right from the start!

I can't believe what happened to you at the shop when you attempted to have your name changed. Oh, I would have been livid if that were me, and I would have protested that injustice loudly until it was righted!

I don't think anyone could ever call me submissive. I'm headstrong.

Vivian Mahoney said...

Welcome, Marlene! I'm looking forward to these discussions.

And go! LW!

Unknown said...

Well, LW, I tried. But it was 1969 in upstate New York and, while some of us were pushing to make changes, the changes were slow. I just remember being taken off guard. While, today, I think I'm more like Mattie, at that time, there probably was still some Sarah in me.

Little Willow said...

Thanks, Vivian. :)

Did anyone here watch the TV series The Torkelsons? In the first episode, the mother proved that the squeaky wheel gets the grease - something my own mother taught me, and I firmly believe in - and I think of that scene whenever someone has difficulty making returns or changes in a shop. I, like that character, stay squeaky until we arrive at a resolution I like!

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Safe travels, Marlene!

In a small way, I felt like Marlene when she was known to her doctor by her husband's name. I know it's expedient, but in the Army I always was identified by my husband's social security number. That can have a subtle impact, I think.

Shelf Elf said...

Marlene, what a great comment. Thank you for sharing your personal experience. Hard to believe that that kind of mindset towards wives and women was still so prevalent not very long ago.

Looking forward to good discussions with everyone this month.

zaramarshmallow said...

Looking forward to this topic! It will be really interesting to hear about everyone's experiences.
I feel quite privileged to live in a society where women's rights are so much better than even the previous generations. But I think that, post- feminism, women's rights really aren't as prevalent an issue as they used to be. I think in the developed world the problems are a lot subtler, as Lorie Ann Grover said, but there is certainly a lot of work to be done on an international level.

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