Category Archives: 21st Century Girlhood

21st Century Girlhood – Week 7

What we did

This week, we brainstormed for our upcoming focus groups. The first one will hopefully include some middle schoolers. Getting their perspective, as they are in the midst of girlhood, will be interesting. The next focus group will be with a group of young women traveling from NYC to visit Harvard and the MIT MediaLab. We have different activities planned for each group and we hope they will be as informative and interesting as our first focus group.

What went well

It feels as if we are finally getting into the swing of things. We have moved past the purely abstract phase. The ball is rolling and we are on our way.

What was challenging

Getting traction on our blog will be our next step once our blog is more fleshed out with more content. Right now, it is looking pretty bare. We will need to figure out a way to get people to make submissions.

What’s up next

We have some blog posts in the works (stay tuned for baby photos) and we want to start getting more content on our website. The two upcoming focus groups will ideally help us generate some new ideas.

21st Century Girlhood Week 6

What we did

This week we created an email and tumblr page, setting the foundations for our final project. The name we chose is “girlhoodbyus.” In the process of creating our page we wrote our mission statement and designed the layout. Additionally this week we met with an oral historian, Charlotte Krontiris, to discuss the ways in which we could incorporate this medium into our final project. We discussed the proper ways to conduct an oral history interview and powerful ways to incorporate clips of interviews into a larger project.

What went well

We are pleased with the format for the blog we created and feel it conveys the tone of our project well. Additionally we found the discussion with Charlotte very helpful and interesting. Because of her insight we are now rethinking about how to conduct our upcoming focus group.

What was challenging

Deciding upon a name and layout for the blog was challenging. There were a lot of options, but neither of us has a wealth of knowledge regarding tumblr format. Also we wanted to make sure that the blog conveyed our mission statement and description clearly, so that it would not get lost amongst all of our future posts.

What’s up next

Next we want to add more posts to our blog page. We are planning on using some of our own personal quotes along with ones we pulled from our previous focus group. Additionally we have two more focus groups coming up in April and hope to use them to create more diverse postings for our blog.

21st Century Girlhood – Week 5 + 6

With a week off from school for Spring Break, we too took a break from all things 21st Century Girlhood. Now that we are back, we are ready to get back in the swing of things and start tackling our project again.

First up, we are going to have a tutorial on how to construct oral histories. Oral histories are a way of documenting history through planned interview and they are a possible format for our project. We are really looking forward to learning more about oral histories and how to go about constructing them.

Up next, we hope to have more focus groups soon.  Our last one was very informative and talking to a greater range of age groups will be even better.

21st Girlhood Week 4

What we did

This week we held our first, of hopefully many, focus groups. We sat down with about eight girls ranging from seniors in high school to freshmen in college and posed to them our broad question, “What does girlhood mean to you?” This sparked a lively discussion of many facets of girlhood including the idea of girls in leadership, third wave feminism and social media. We then moved on to discussing the various forms and effectiveness of campaigns focused toward younger girls. Ultimately, we reached the conclusion that campaigns that focused more on things girls could control, rather than telling people how to treat or not treat girls, were more impactful. Finally we talked about potential platforms for our final project and the discussion reinforced our original idea of a mixed media and submission based website.

What went well

The focus group was extremely helpful and productive. We feel as if we have more tangible ideas for our project and clearer ultimate direction.

What was challenging

It was challenging to focus the group and separate the genuine reactions of people from the general attitude of the group or even the cultural dialogue surrounding some of these issues.

What’s up next

Next we need to more firmly commit to a final project direction and hopefully set up some more focus groups with a wider age range of girls.

21st Century Girlhood – Week 3

What we did

During our meeting this week, we continued to flesh out our ideas of what we want our project to be. We decided that we will pursue a multimedia platform — possibly a “tumblr-esque” blog. We also worked out the details of our focus group that we will be having this Friday.

What went well

Every new detail that we nail down is a huge step towards turning our unformed ideas into something real. We’ve even started thinking of domain/blog names for our project.

What was challenging

Our biggest challenge now is preparing for our focus group. This will be my first time facilitating one so it will interesting. We need to focus on about what we want to gain from it and what questions we want to ask the group.

What’s up next

We are really excited about our upcoming focus group. Having the chance to talk to high-schoolers will give us some direction on what type of project would be most meaningful to them.

21st Century Girlhood Week 2

What we did

We met for the second time to focus on refining our ideas. After recapping what we had discussed in our first meeting we decided to focus on a singular idea to begin. We believe that by narrowing our focus and flushing out the details of one project will allow us to see what direction we want our final project to take. Additionally we began discussing the categories and kinds of questions we want to ask the focus groups.

What went well

This meeting was especially helpful in brainstorming potential directions for our project. We were able to discuss a lot of ideas, both new and ones we brought up previously. Through our conversation we discovered that we were both leaning away from a static project that would end with our final presentation, but rather liked the idea of a more dynamic final product that allowed people to continue to add to it, whether in the form of a blog, oral history or hashtag.

What was challenging

Our discussion about the various forms of media campaigns and other projects revealed that we are still very unsure about the direction of our final presentation. We are also unclear about how exactly to approach such a broad topic, such as 21st century girlhood. The angles we could take in addressing this issue are extremely varied, which is both exciting and overwhelming.

What’s up next

The next step we hope to take is to begin actually talking to girls. We think that these preliminary focus groups will allow us to begin to focus and refine our ideas and the ultimate form we want for our final project. Also we plan on choosing a single possible format and planning it out from beginning to end to see if it seems feasible for our final project.

21st Century Girlhood – Week 1

Meet the Team!

My name is Elizabeth Yemane and I am a sophomore living in the Dudley Co-op. I am from the San Francisco Bay Area and am currently studying Applied Math with an application in Global Health. I am interested in the role of technology in our daily lives and how that can be leveraged to maximize well-being.

My name is Maddy Stern and I am a  freshman from Northampton MA living in Wigglesworth. I am thinking of concentrating in government although as of now still undeclared. I am very excited to be a part of this program and am looking forward to working with the institute and the young girls who will be part of the program.

What we did

We meet for the first time as a team last week. We got to discuss our thoughts on what it means to be a girl in the 21st century and its intersection with technology and media. The leadership of our project had a last minute change so now we have a lot of freedom to define and shape exactly what we want this project to be. There are a million different directions we can take this, so seeing how it turns out will be exciting!

What went well

Both of us were on the same page with what we want our project to include. For example, we know we want to directly engage with girls in middle or high school. They know better than anyone what girlhood entails and interacting with them will be integral to our project. We also want our project to culminate with a finished product, as opposed to something that is only theoretical. This could possibly be something the girls can take back to their own schools and communities.

What was challenging

At this point, all our ideas are pretty nebulous and we don’t have a specific plan of action. If we want to create a physical end-product to our project, what do we want it to be? We could make a website, an app, another blog, a video, etc. The platforms to choose from are endless.  We have been looking at past campaigns the address girlhood and its challenges (Ban Bossy, TedTalks) to see which ones have been the most effective.

What’s up next

The next step will be pinning down exactly what we want to do, on what platform, and then to carry it out.