Lesson Resources – Real American Girls and Response

If you’re bothered by the way American Girls dolls or other dolls sell a particular idea of girlhood, you might look for the book Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers’ Schemes. We also like this parody of boys’ toy ads which makes action figures out of the literary Brontë sisters.

The boarding school experiences of Native Americans is an oft-forgotten chapter in American history. A few universities have excellent resources on the topic, including a site on forced Native American enculturation by a master’s student in the American Studies department at the University of Virginia, and the English department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s lesson resource to accompany the poems and fiction of Louise Erdrich. NPR has also produced a story on the experiences of graduates of these boarding schools, as has Amnesty International.

For more information on transgender issues, we highly recommend one of our fellow finalists from the 2010 Media That Matters Film Festival: I’m Just Anneke. From the festival’s website: “With the support of family and friends, a 12-year-old experiences the onset of puberty in the fluid space between genders.” There is also the book we mention in the episode, She’s Not There. If you are more interested in discussing issues of representation rather than personal experiences, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) has also analyzed how transgender people are portrayed in the media.

(Bonus: you may notice a shot with a frame that looks like a motivational poster at the beginning of this episode. Did you know “demotivational” posters are also a meme?)