Last week we welcomed 70 smart, strong, and wonderful women to share their stories and advice with the Class of 2016 at this year's Creative Connections luncheon. Eighth grade students facilitated roundtable discussions about the journeys our guests had been on to get to where they are today and how they encountered and rejected stereotypes and inequities along the way. The conversations were deep, lively, and very informative. The eighth grade students will be sharing some of what they learned with the rest of the student body next week, including...
- Take risks and never stop.
- Think outside the box! The uncomfortable can be very informative.
- Find ways to overcome obstacles – they aren't walls.
- Look for mentors who are challenging and nurturing.
- Challenges can be formative.
- Always remember: your voice and your ideas are important.
- Marry your passion to STEM.
- Speak out against injustice and challenge the status quo.
- Women are stronger together!
We were so thrilled by the energy, enthusiasm, and kindness our guests showed the eighth grade, and we want you to know that we are taking your advice to heart.
Highlights from the event...
"This piece...was a collaboration among three girls who were inspired by a young poet named Nate Marshall. He was featured in a documentary their class watched about a spoken word competition, or poetry slam, called Louder Than a Bomb. We call that style of poem an ego-trippin’ poem, and we used Nate’s piece as a mentor text, one that taught us how to employ hyperbole and allusion and wordplay. More important, however, was what it taught the girls about honoring and celebrating their authentic selves. They loved the rhyme and the wordplay and the collaboration, but they also loved the swagger of it. It was a license to brag and permission to boast. And in doing so, they also sent out a call to others to embrace what’s real about who they are.
We wanted these girls to perform for you today because it’s not often that you see young women, or any women for that matter, celebrated for being brash and outspoken. We’re not used to it, and girls aren’t typically encouraged to try that on. You should know that every student in their class had the option of writing an ego-trippin poem, but few did. Many resisted. They worried they would sound conceited, stuck-up. It was risky – that kind of self-promotion. And they’re right. It is risky. And here at L-Dub, we want girls to take risks. And in our society, we NEED girls to take risks. We need Beyonce to raise a fist during the Super Bowl’s halftime show and we need Hillary Clinton to demand a seat in the oval office. We need girls to recognize that “self-assured is NOT cocky, that standing tall is NOT shadowing others, that confidence IS marvelous,” and we need all of you to help us celebrate when girls find the will and the courage to speak up."
—Eva McGough, Humanities Chair
"What can schools do to battle the myth of effortless perfectionism? Girls get all these messages from media and society – and maybe from their schools and maybe from their parents – that they should be able to do everything well: do well in school, do well in sports, have a lot of friends…all with pressure to post all this success and happiness on social media. And there’s this other insidious expectation that they should be able to do so much so well without much struggle, without really trying that hard. In other words, “I woke up like this.” If you think back to the words of Corina, Celia, and Zoe who started us off today, you can see that they are aware of – and they are critically analyzing – this element of our culture where people sometimes measure their self-worth via the validation of social media. “You might think I need to get a life,” they said, “but at least if I don’t get a like, it’s alright.”"
—Patti Hearn, Head of School
"Teaching girls how to make film is also a social justice issue for women. You all know the statistics: women make up only 18% of all the directors, writers, and producers in the film industry, and that includes independent films. If we only look at the top 250 domestic grossing films, women directed only 9% of those popular films. And those are the films that saturate the media and damage girls’ self esteem around body image and leave us with so few visible role models for women. When I think about the topics our eighth grader chose this year, I wonder how different the world will be when women get behind the camera. We already know that when men direct films, only 9% of the protagonists are women but in films directed by women, female characters make up 40% of the protagonists. Women making films tell stories about women, and I know that girls have some great stories and a lot to say about privilege, equality, and justice."
—Jenny Zavatsky, Assistant Head of School
You can see all of these photos and more on our Smugmug site!