Girl Power

I Can!

To follow up on my last post, a conservative group called for a boycott of American Girl due to the company’s support of Girls, Inc. (formerly Girls Club of America) Apparently American Girl is selling wristbands that say “I can” as a fundraiser for the youth organization, which is working to empower girls to “be strong, smart and bold.” Here’s a link to the wristband page.

Here is the “I Can” promise:

“I can be myself, follow my dreams, and always do my best. I can reach for the stars, lend a hand to others, and be a good friend. I can make a difference! I promise to try.”

And the Girls, Inc. Girls’ Bill of Rights:

*Girls have the right to be themselves and to resist gender stereotypes.

*Girls have the right to express themselves with originality and enthusiasm.

*Girls have the right to take risks, to strive freely, and to take pride in success.

*Girls have the right to accept and appreciate their bodies.

*Girls have the right to have confidence in themselves and to be safe in the world.

*Girls have the right to prepare for interesting work and economic independence.

The American Family Association and the Pro-Life Action League have called this a pro-abortion, pro-lesbian agenda. Are they suggesting that women who accept and appreciate themselves will have no need for men? Are they suggesting that women who do meaningful work will not have children or will not care for their families? Whatever they are suggesting is frankly silly.

Buy a wristband. If you don’t know a young girl, give it to an old one! We need this kind of promise to ourselves, too.


29 thoughts on “I Can!”

  1. I don’t get it Songbird. WHat could anyone find abjectionable in that Bill of Rights. It seems to be pretty much what we all want for our children (of either gender). NO?
    Mind you these are the same people who are offended when non-church people put up holiday trees and say happy holidays instead of throwing the word Christ around at the drop of a hat…

  2. Gee, girls having rights?? Girls feeling good about themselves??
    Next thing you know, we’ll want the vote!!
    (Okay, SarcasticPants Cheesehead feels better now.)
    I heard about this situation locally because a Catholic grade school was chosen to participate in some sort of cooperative program with American Girl (it’s a Snow Belt State company). But once they found out about Girls Inc., they dropped out of the program, and have banned the American Girl Products from the school building.
    Some people are only happy when they’re unhappy…

  3. O. my.god. I am appalled that people coudl be AGAINST the Girls’ Bill of Rights. How could that be objectionable?!?! I just want to scream!
    I didn’t get the references about American Girl before; now I wish I had someone to buy one for!

  4. Where is there anything having to do with lesbianism and abortion in that Bill of Rights?
    Why don’t these people have anything better to do than work themselves into a frenzy about such marginal issues? People are still dying as a result of the 2004 earthquake in Iran, the tsunami, Katrina and Rita, and the earthquake in Pakistan. I wish they could turn their energy toward issues that matter.

  5. The boycott is not about the Girls’ Bill of Rights. The boycott is about the advocacy statement of Girls Inc. that says, in part:

    “Girls Incorporated supports a woman’s freedom of choice, a constitutional right established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 in Roe vs. Wade.”
    “To make responsible decisions about sexuality, pregnancy and parenthood, girls need and have a right to sensitive, truthful sexuality education; convenient access to safe, effective methods of contraception and protection from disease; and referral to comprehensive information, counseling, clinical and other services that support their responsible decisions.”
    “Girls have a right to positive, supportive environments and linkages to community resources for dealing with issues of sexual orientation.”

    Make no mistake, I’m ready to buy stock in the company as a result of this. I give their advocacy statement a hearty AMEN! I just think we do ourselves a favor to represent the situation as accurately as possible.
    (Not that there’s anything wrong with venting either…)

  6. reverendmother, thanks for the further information about Girls, Inc.
    I guess my point it that being pro-choice is not the same thing as being pro-abortion and anti-family, and that there is nothing in their materials to suggest that they are recruiting young women who would otherwise be straight to become lesbians.
    And I do believe that there are people who would take the language of that Bill of Rights as promoting a progressive view of what it means to be a young woman, a view that is uncomfortable for some groups of people who prefer girls to be groomed for womanhood in a more traditional fashion.

  7. My church has supported our local Girls Inc chapter for several years now, and in fact my daughter attended when Girls Inc. hosted “Girl-a-palooza”, a Spring Break camp, at our church. She had a blast. They spent most of a day on the Bill of Rights, and then interspersed it throughout the rest of the camp as well. It brought girls into our building from our neighborhood who had never been here before. We connected. It was good. Hopefully starting in January, they’ll be holding an after-school program here every day. So I’m a big fan of the organization– indeed any organization that teaches girls to be Smart, Strong and Bold (isn’t this what Jesus taught the Samaritan woman, and others?). As for the controversy, so far it hasn’t had an impact on our local chapter. And this is in truly one of the most conservative parts of the country. We’ll see . . .

  8. This is off the subject, but I wanted you to know that this morning one of the members of my congregation who has our devotional book told me how much she enjoyed “Songbird’s devotion” yesterday.

  9. I love this Bill of Rights. Every young girl should have it pasted on her mirror to remind her everyday of her inherent beauty and to maintain that “I can” attitude.
    Girls rock.

  10. At Thanksgiving dinner, my sister-in-law told me about watching Grease with The Princess and her three cousins (12,11 and 10) a couple of weekends ago. The Princess was the one shocked and outraged that Sandy dumbed herself down and tarted herself up to get the boy.
    Go Princess!!

  11. I received an Americal Girl catalog today. I’ll be ordering something, just to make a point. What a great Bill of Rights!

  12. The Right in this country is just utterly wrong about absolutely everything. If you want to know whether an organization is worth supporting, just find out what conservatives want you to do and do the opposite.

  13. The same group targeted the Girl Scouts for the same reasons a few years ago–official pro-choice stance, and official non-discrimination policy. You know you’re losing the battle when all you can find to do is pick on little girls’ groups.

  14. Scriv, you are sadly right about the wristband. I was expecting to see something a little more like a LIVESTRONG, but whatever. I’m buying them.
    ppb, this rings a bell somewhere in the back of my mind.
    Becky, I filled out a form on the Girls, Inc., website yesterday asking for information about starting a group. They don’t have a presence in this state. We do have Boys and Girls Club in City By the Sea, but they are downtown. The outer edges, which also have public housing as well as densely populated lower-middle and middle-class neighborhoods, are not the target for its programs, naturally, being too far away. I have been looking for an afterschool outreach for Small Church, either something we do ourselves or something we house. Maybe this is it.

  15. rm, I appreciate that. I don’t want to become captive to the so-called reasoning that anyone or any organization that strives to keep an open point of view is automatically pro or con anything in particular.

  16. It grieves my heart when when one part of the Body beats down another. Jesus was an Equal Opportunity Employer and He certainly advocated empowering EVERYONE, not just women!
    For their high school National Honor Society community project, our Daughter #2 and best friend, Aimee, did a 6 week program entitled, “Girl Power!” in our local elementary school. It was warmly received and welcomed! (Both daughters are American Girls readers!)
    You go girls!

  17. “Why don’t these people have anything better to do than work themselves into a frenzy about such marginal issues?”
    What are the two big fundamentalist isssues? Homosexuality and abortion rights right?
    Well I have a theory about this. It begins with Pure Luck’s Law of Groups which states explicitly:
    The first priority of a group is to grow or at the very least not shrink. Everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING else is secondary to that goal.
    So if you see Fundamentalist Christianity as a living meme then everything begins to make sense. They don’t want people to have the right to an abortion because they see the loss of that person as the loss of a potential Christian. They don’t want homosexuals to have the right to marry because they implicitly want marriage to be associated with raising children which homosexual pairs genarally cannot produce (without medical intervention). Christian children. So, the fundamentalist Christian meme sees these two things as threats to its survival and so it lashes out because it believes it is in a fight for its existence. And as to good works like feeding the starving. That is not a priority.

  18. Younger Daughter goes to Girls, Inc. every day for after school. I know I’m late and I’m not sure anyone will read this, but I’m here to tell you that these girls are coached CONSTANTLY on self-respect and self-preservation, the perils of sex too young, the right to have a say over ones own body, etc. We are thrilled with the program and I was horrified when I read about this in our local rag a few weeks ago. Thanks for this post.

  19. And girls have the right to spend an exhorbitant amount of money on a doll. Excuse my cynicism. I’ve been looking enviously at the American Girls dolls. And the accessories, and the furniture, and the matching clothes for children. Instead of selling the wristband, they should just give some proceeds from the sale of all this pricey merchandise. Maybe they do. Sigh.
    Given how popular these dolls have been with conservatives, I would have expected to find a wristband supporting Focus on the Family.

  20. In defense of the dolls, Bad Alice, they are certainly 8 times nicer than the Barbies played with by The Princess, although I understand their quality is somewhat diminished since Mattel bought Pleasant Company.
    YT, thanks for adding your voice to this conversation. I can’t wait to hear more from the organization.

  21. I want all the American Girls for MYSELF. Particularly Molly, the WWII one, who has those cute little wire glasses. I didn’t mean to sound like I don’t like them–I love them. But golly they sure are a major investment. I think I’ll have to settle for an Only Hearts Club doll, which at least comes in at under $20 a doll. They’re pretty cute, too, for any moms out their looking for fashion-sized dolls that actually look like real girls.

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