Posted in personal
February 7, 2011

Raising Strong Girls.

I know, I have two boys. Writing about girls might seem silly, but well, I was a girl.

Raina Telgemeier, artist/author of “Smile”, tweeted that she’d gotten her first mom-rage review of her book. An autobiographical look back at her own experiences, it’s received plenty of accolades and has gotten lots of girls into reading comics. (It’s a great read)

The review, on Amazon, raged that their 10 year old daughter had gotten a copy and *gasp* it was completely inappropriate for their little girl. Why it mentioned girls sort of having boyfriends! A girl was teased and never got the guy (she didn’t even warn for spoilers)! Someone was pantsed!

Looking at this particular reviewer, they also raged against “A Smart Girl’s Guide to Boys” for not being age appropriate for their 10 year old as well.

When I was 9, I had my first major crush on Joey McIntire of New Kid’s On the Block. I wanted him to be my boyfriend and hug me. Seriously. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a 10 year old reading “Smile.” Nor is there anything wrong with “A Smart Girl’s Guide to Boys”, which is supposed to promote girl’s self-confidence in keeping their own identity while crushing on boys.

I grew up with friends whose parents took the Rapunzel approach. If you keep them away from boys, nothing can happen, right? Those were the girls that talked about nothing but boys at sleepovers, and the ones who secretly started dating earlier than all of us.

I had a boyfriend when I was 12. He lived down the street and already was about a foot taller than me. Our “relationship” consisted of hanging out and him walking me home from the bus. We danced at a school dance- the awkward slow dance with what not seemed like 10 feet of space between us.

Out of all the girls I knew, I had the most realistic idea of what dating was like. Not because I’d watched endless episodes of 90210, but because I hadn’t. My mom talked to me about dating and what relationships were like, and what was and wasn’t appropriate for kids my age. And I listened. Because I knew she was right.

The answer isn’t to say that something is inappropriate and complain about it. It’s to sit down with your children and talk to them about it. What might not be right for your child, might be right for another- but the only way to deal with anything is to talk to your kids about things. Not go on the internet and wonder why anyone isn’t thinking of the children.

Plug: Raina Telgemeier also did the Baby Sitter’s Club graphic novels that are out there on the internet- also excellent reads for girls. Or even those of us who remember reading BSC when we were kids.

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