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Top Ten Empowering Reads For Girls

Updated on May 24, 2014

Sexism is Everywhere Quote

One big contributor to sexism is how forms of popular entertainment constantly put women down. Some examples are cheerleaders during sport events, backup dancers in music videos, rap lyrics and other music lyrics promoting violence toward women, and some movies. The other big contributors are adults telling future generations a bunch of sexist things and trying to pass it off as comical.


Sexism is Everywhere

When I was a very small kid I felt completely happy with myself as any little kid does. You know: loved, protected, safe among my family, and pretty well grounded. I was content with who I was and it didn't seem like there was anything holding me back to do what I wanted. When I entered school though I began to pick up on how sexist the world was. That realization grew and grew until sexism was a big ugly weed that seemed to be trying to choke me.

One big contributor to sexism is how forms of popular entertainment constantly put women down. Some examples are cheerleaders during sport events, backup dancers in music videos, rap lyrics and other music lyrics promoting violence toward women, and some movies. The other big contributors are adults telling future generations a bunch of sexist things and trying to pass it off as comical.

So it started to make me wonder where does sexism come from? Are women just not as power hungry as men? Are men just discriminatory jerks? What did women do to be crucified in this way? This is pure assumption, but perhaps women are treated like less because of ingrained thoughts from religion? Admittedly I'm not well educated on religions, but I know the most about Christianity and there is some parts of it that hint at sexism that could be the answer. In the story of Adam and Eve, Eve was supposedly the weaker one who gave into temptation of the apple and the devil versus Adam. Is this why women are treated as less? What if the story of Adam and Eve is mangled though? There weren't scribes hanging out with them recording every move they made in the garden of Eden. What if Eve's indiscretion was completely fabricated by the recorders of the Bible because they were sexist even then? There's also the fact that a big percentage of the Bible was rewritten thousands of years after the first records of it were being written or told by word of mouth. There's no knowing what's true or false. So that means sexism goes way, way back. Perhaps it goes back even to the cave men days. Maybe one of the cave men grumbled one day: "I really hate women. I hate that they disagreed with my method to skin the mammoth hide. I wish they'd just be compliant and listen to me about everything. I'm going to treat them like garbage forever and ever and all my generations of sons will do the same for they'll have my genetic hatred of women, my desire to objectify them, and my penchant for beating them up!" As far fetched as that sounds, who knows? It could be.

After I heard I was having a baby girl after an ultrasound, I began to worry about her having to deal with sexism. It seemed unbearable to me in my pregnant state of mind to know she'd be forced to face the pain of sexist remarks and be insulted for her gender. I was fearful, guilty, and angry that she'd have to go through that and it seemed so unjust that this poor little unborn baby would have to deal with this world I was bringing her into and she had no choice in the matter and no preparation for how awful a place the world can be at times to women. Not that the world is very fair to men either, but there is definitely a difference in how they're received versus girls.

While I emotionally tortured myself about how I was a terrible person for allowing my daughter to be subjected to a life of being a punchline in sexist jokes I realized I had to be stronger about it. There wasn't anything I could do to change that she was coming. All I could do was hopefully teach her that being a woman is equal in all ways to being a man and that she should never listen to those sexist jokes or feel intimidated by sexism in any form.

My own mother was not on top of instilling this in me as she didn't know how to discuss a lot of things with me while I was a maturing adolescent. Her mom wasn't good about it either or simply wasn't around at that time in my mom's life to discuss things with her about being okay as a woman with your changing body so I understand her reasons. Anyways I was completely uncomfortable and ashamed of the woman body I was developing. I deliberately tried to hide it with baggy clothes and I constantly slouched and I found myself wishing I was flat chested. My body made me feel vulnerable. After being subjected to sexism I felt ashamed of having a woman's body and I couldn't discuss this with my mom and she never commented on me slouching or wearing hideous clothes to hide myself. As I grew older I came to terms with being a woman after reading more books aimed at young women and empowering them. I focused on listening only to music that never insulted or dogged women. I turned off radios that said hurtful, hateful things toward my gender. I chose to wear clothes that celebrated my body rather than hid it in a shameful way. The only ways that my deliberate effort to surround myself with things to strengthen me about being a girl rather then tear me down were other people of course. I have been told by every single guy that I have went on a date or dates with that I was less then them or been forced to listen to their sexist jokes and made fun of once I told them they were wrong. I have come across some guys that never said this stuff to me as well, but they were solely my friend, so I don't know if men just enjoy dragging down women they're in a relationship with or dating rather than their female friends or what the problem is there. Maybe my friends that are guys are just better people though than anyone I've dated.

I find myself seeking out things to empower my daughter now rather than later. I look for books and movies with girl main characters and even have run through in my mind what kind of a conversation I want to have with her if she needs help getting through the sometimes challenging way of being a girl. In the end likely she will do exactly what I did and need to seek out her own acceptance of herself, but I hope to be able to encourage her to have strong self respect, self esteem, and to feel empowered about herself.

Here is my list of top ten empowering reads for girls! Enjoy!

"Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon"

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1.) "Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon"

This book is about a little girl who gets advice from her grandma to be confidant in herself. The story revolves around her using that advice. It's a great read for girls ages four to eight years old.

"Igraine, the Brave"

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2.) "Igraine, the Brave"

This chapter book is a knight story-only the knight is a girl rather than the prototypical boy knight story. Igraine must save her parents and some very valuable magic books. The age range for this would best be for girls: eight to twelve.

"Igraine, the Brave"

"Matilda"

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3.) "Matilda"

One of Roald Dahl's best books, Matilda is a wonderful character and is a strong, smart little girl. She proves that reading and educating yourself is very important and may even save yourself from the most dire circumstances. Ages: seven and up.

"Matilda"

"Coraline"

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4.) "Coraline"

Coraline is a creepy story. Creepy yet fantastic. The little girl, Coraline, goes through a door in her home that leads into a very similar house to her house where her "other parents" live that have buttons for eyes. Except everything is a little too good to be true in this parallel house and soon Coraline's real parents get kidnapped. Coraline has to rescue them on her own. This is best suited for children: eight to twelve, but if your kid doesn't like scary stories you might want to pass on this one.

"Coraline"

"Chrysanthemum"

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5.) "Chrysanthemum"

This picture book is a wonderful story on being bullied. Chrysanthemum is a happy little girl that loves her name. Her parents tell her that it's absolutely perfect just like she is. She agrees with them until she goes to school and begins to be bullied about her name by her classmates, who think her name is ridiculously long. The question is: will she ever be happy with her name again? Ages: four to eight.

"Chrysanthemum"

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6.) "The Sisters Grimm"

The Sisters Grimm book series is a clever, fairy tale romp. It's about two sisters who move in with their Granny Relda and uncover the new town they've moved to is filled with fairy tale characters in disguise as real people. They also learn they're descendants of the Brothers Grimm. They have many adventures fighting off fairy tale monsters. These books are great because they show two sisters who have each other's backs and they are both very uniquely written girls. One is very tough and strong. The other is very funny Ages: seven to thirteen.

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7.) "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"

While this book is old, it still has many strong female characters in it. Dorothy for one is a very strong and good character. One interesting thing to note is that the wizard of Oz is no where near as powerful as the witches of Oz, who are all female and incredibly powerful. This is good for ages: eight to thirteen.

"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"

"Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat"

"American Girl Books"

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8.) "Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat"

Truth be told Sagwa is a little bit more accident prone then brave or true to herself. Her story still shows her achieving something great with her clumsiness that helps out her city in China. This picture book is a great read for any little girl to understand their actions can have more meaning then they may have thought. The artwork is also intricate and beautiful. Recommended for children ages five to eight.

"Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat"

9.) "American Girl Books"

Technically this is a whole collection of various series of books, yet all of them are so great for girls I decided to include all of them in this list. "American Girl" is all about empowering girls. Each of their books are about a strong female lead character in either past settings or in present settings. The historical side of them is educational and fascinating and the present set ones are excellent if your daughter prefers books she can relate to personally. "American Girl" also writes about girls with a variety of races and backgrounds which is also a great thing about these books. "American Girl" is perfect for girls ages: eight and up.


"Dealing with Dragons"

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10.) "Dealing with Dragons"

This book- the first of a series titled "The Enchanted Forest Series"- is a perfect example of an alternate version of a traditional fairy tale, similar to what the movie "Shrek" did. There's a princess -named Cimorene- who decides being a princess isn't for her and leaves her kingdom to work for and live with a dragon. She befriends this dragon and tells any knights that come after her to "rescue her" from the dragon to go away as she is happy with the life she has chosen.
"Dealing with Dragons" is perfect for ages: ten and up.

Who is your favorite famous classic literary girl protagonist?

Who is your favorite famous classic literary girl protagonist?

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"Woman's World" by Cher. This is a great song to listen to and dance to with your little girl! It's very empowering!

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