Using Creativity to Encourage Grrl Power

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All of the stories I’m working on have one thing in common: they feature strong female protagonists. My aim is to empower girls, and the guys around them (Think #HeForShe ) of all ages through my writing.

My first finished project is my fictional, science-based graphic novel story for tweens, Hidden Heroes. Think the movie Inside Out starring Estrogen as a superhero, and Samantha, the girl Estrogen has to turn into a woman. Think a story, not a textbook, on the beginning stages of female puberty.

Facts I had to learn about graphic novels before I could attempt to write one:

–GNs are comics, but usually much longer, and don’t have tons of issues. They can be a series though—think Zita Spacrgirl, a trilogy, or Hereville, trilogy.

–Graphic novel text is written for the illustrator, NOT the reader.

–The text is written in script form. From Hidden Heroes:

PAGE 1
SPLASH PAGE: (This means only one panel for the whole page.)
Estrogen and Antibody come around the bend in a vein, cruising on the blood stream. Estrogen is in an inner tube. Antibody is swimming. Estrogen is wearing a one-piece bathing suit. Antibody resembles a friendly Mammalian sea creature. (This is the panel description that the illustrator needs, but won’t end up in the published book. BTW: Things like captions and dialogue do end up in book.)

Caption: Inside Samanthaland, Estrogen and Antibody are riding the blood slide around Ovarian Island.
Estrogen: Wheeeeee!
Antibody: Owamp!

–A typical graphic novel as 4-7 panels per page.
This is an example page from Zita Spacegirl (6 panels):

zita-page

–Because a picture tells a 1000 words, your words can’t repeat what’s going on in the panel illustration, but rather, need to show what’s not going on…think dialogue, sound effects etc.

–GNs ask readers to engage with its story on two levels: Language and pictures. This means kids are using two parts of their brains to comprehend what they are reading. Schools are noticing a significant increase in test scores when kids can study complex topics, like the Constitution, using a graphic novel instead of a regular textbook. (Check out my buds at: The Comics Education Offensive to learn more about it!)

This is the advantage of doing a science-based story as a graphic novel…accessibility and deeper comprehension.

If you haven’t read a graphic novel yet, try one out. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it.

Some suggestions of fictional graphic novels with strong female characters for tweens:
Zita Spacegirl
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword
Princeless
Lumberjanes
Find these and other suggestions at the A Mighty Girl site.

A list of posts on  graphic novels for older girls, aka women, can be found in this Huff Post page.

Which graphic novels have you enjoyed and why? Send me your answer by replying to this letter, or post it on my Facebook page, or tweet me. 

FYI: Please share this letter with others you think would enjoy it.

Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
Batgirl costume

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Posted in Creativity, EmpowerGirlsOfAllAges, Empowerment, Girls, Inspired Creativity, Uncategorized by with no comments yet.

YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY BABY, BUT NOT FAR ENOUGH!

A Slice of AnnyWorld:

“You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby.” Virgina Slims ad 1968 praising the success of the Feminist Movement.

But we haven’t come far enough!

Yesterday was #EqualPayDay.  It stuns me that in the 21st century women still aren’t paid the same as men for the same work!  What’s going on?
Is it because girls/women are just as likely to turn on each other as they are to support each other, and as long as we are divided, we can’t conquer?

If we look at our girls, we can see that being mean to each other starts at a pretty young age. Girls hassle each other about all sorts of things like their changing bodies, how they wear their hair, their clothes. 

I wish I could blame puberty for all of the friction between us, but as we get older, many of us still don’t stick together, even when it’s in our best interest. (For ex. Phyllis Schlafly led the successful charge against the Equal Rights Amendment.)

I’ve wondered why we seem to be our own worst enemy.  Here’s my theory: we are steeped in a male-dominated society that consciously or unconsciously devalues us.  You get hit over the head enough times with the message that you aren’t worthy because you’re a female, and self-loathing is born. And if you’re not valuable because you’re a girl, then all the other girls around you aren’t valuable either. So Mothers devalue their own daughters, and the legacy passes from generation to generation like a virus.

I’m not interested in debating how we got here, what matters is how we change this situation asap!

I suggest we focus on passing down new messages to our girls  that not only empower them, but drive them to empower each other. How do we do this? 

In my roles as stepmother, aunt, and daughter here’s some of what I’m doing…embrace my body, faults and all so my girls will embrace theirs, (Hubby and I continue to rave about Madu’s curly hair for ex, which she’s finally loving herself), encourage my girls to pursue their dreams be it as a social worker, E.R. doc, or NASA scientist, tell them marriage and family is a choice not a foregone conclusion, remind them that if a boy isn’t nice to them they should move onto the next, (as opposed to my upbringing where I was told if a boy likes you he hits you, which may be true, but sets you up for bad choices later).

In my quest to empower myself and other women, I vote for female politicians who represent my interests, i.e. women’s issues that men tend to ignore, I support groups that empower girls like Girls, Inc and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, and I attempt to view all women with acceptance and compassion, not judgement.

I’m sure I could be doing even more.  What are you doing to empower yourself and your girls?

PURPLE PASSION OF THE FORTNIGHT

PURPLE PASSION OF THE FORTNIGHT

ReykjavikEnlightened

Reykjavik, Iceland Enlightened, (get it?) country that boasts the world’s first democratically elected female President!

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Posted in Empowerment, Gal Empowerment, Girls by with no comments yet.