The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Introducing the revamped Girl Museum!


What better way to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child than by showing off our new look and new blog space? From today, the Girl Museum blog can be found at http://www.girlmuseum.org/category/blog/. We'll be posting directly on our site from now on, so be sure to update your bookmarks.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New site launches 11th October!


We're working down to the wire to make sure Girl Museum's new look is suitable for a growing four (and a half!) year old, but we're really excited to announce that our new site will launch on the 11th of October, coinciding with the UN's International Day of the Girl Child. The theme for 2013 is "Innovating for Girls' Education," so really, it's a perfect fit! 

As we said before, our address won't be changing, just our look. The blog will be at www.girlmuseum.org as well, so you can find all of Girl Museum in one place. We're excited for our new space, and we hope you are, too. And remember, Girl Museum is always open, and always free.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Memories of Girlhood: Ice Skating Sundays


Young girl ice skating.

There are many moments I can draw out of the childhood memory box, but I will choose the few, though special, times at the ice skating rink. It was not a frequent pastime, rather an occasional stroll along with my father and sister before the Sunday lunch was ready. Ice skating isn't that popular in Greece and my acquaintance with the sport per se began soon after that. The skating rink was near our district in southern Athens, so it was a close getaway to both the seafront of the city and the ice marvel place.

The feeling of sliding on ice was so unique and the atmosphere of the rink so transcendent that it ranked these visits on the top of my girlhood experiences. I will have to check with my dad, but I am sure that most of the time my sister and I carried a horrified look, like the one of the girl in the picture above. Even so, the thrill of being the dancing queen on ice was an amazing feeling. It makes me sad that we don't have any photographic testaments from all these attempts and falls, but maybe this is why they become more precious.

I remember vividly one time, just before our skating time was over, when there was an announcement on the speakers that we should leave the rink in a while because a couple of professional skaters needed the space to rehearse for an upcoming athletic event. As I was taking my skating shoes off, I got a glimpse of their majestic moves and their exceptional elegance on ice. I also realized instantly that, no matter my remarkable efforts so far, I was way down the amateur level. Since then, I've always enjoyed watching figure skating competitions at the European, International, and Olympic levels and I admire even more the girls that make ice skating look so soothing and serene despite the struggles needed to compete for a championship. Maybe it's time to put my skating shoes back on! How about your ice skating experiences?

-Magda Repouskou
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

Friday, September 27, 2013

So you want to be a Chef

Who wouldn't want to make desserts for a living?

Girls since time immemorial have learned to cook. Or, at least, tried to learn. (Admittedly, it took me over 20 years to learn how to cook more than the basics.) Yet cooking can be very rewarding, especially as a career path.

Being a chef is a highly demanding field: it requires stamina for long hours on your feet, the ability to handle high-volume orders (whether catering a wedding or handling the Saturday night rush), and a high degree of expertise in cooking skills. It can also involve 50+ hour workweeks, late nights, and working weekends and holidays in high stress–and often low pay–situations.  

Yet it is also a very creative and rewarding career: trying new recipes, making up new dishes, and watching you create works of art with one of humanity's most basic needs. So if you like what you've read so far, here's what you need to know to become a chef:

  1. Learn to cook. Try taking a cooking class at your local community college; many do non-credit night classes in basic techniques or specific recipes. Or just ask your mother or grandmother for some lessons.
  2. Practice at home, with friends and family. Learn old family recipes, new recipes, and even try modifying or creating new ones. Chefs are all about innovation.
  3. Look at the greats. Several episodes of Julia Child's show are available for free, and there's always the option of cooking through The Art of French Cooking to see if you're up for the task!
  4. If you like it so far (and hopefully your friends and family concur that you've got mad skills), consider looking into advanced culinary classes at your community college or getting an entry-level job at a restaurant. Though you might not like stuffing raviolis and peeling potatoes, it's the best way to figure out if working in a fast-paced restaurant is something you can handle and might enjoy. Plus, you're also gaining an understanding of the jobs that people under you will have to do–and the greatest leaders all respect those lowest on the totem pole, recognizing that even the smallest person can make a big difference in everyone's success.

So you've found that you like to cook and can handle a high-volume restaurant (and maybe even enjoy it!). Congrats! Now, it's time to get some more formal training. While many Chefs can rise through the ranks by working, your best option is culinary school. Research schools in your area. Talk to guidance counselors or the advisers at that school, and see if you can talk to students at the schools as well. Find a program that fits your needs, but remember that a culinary degree won't make you the Executive Chef right away. 

Rather, the degree will prepare you with the physical skills and general knowledge needed to become a chef garde manger (the appetizers and soup person) or a line cook. With years of education and experience, you might become a sous chef (the second-in-command) and, hopefully, the executive chef or even a restaurant owner. But remember that, like most goals in life, being a chef takes hard work, dedication, perseverance, and a willingness to always be learning, trying, and doing new things.

-Tiffany Piotti
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Growing Up


Girl Museum is four and a half years old now, and like many little girls, we long to be more grown up. We've finally gotten our wish, and soon we'll be living in a radically redecorated and redesigned space—one better suited to our wants and needs.

Our address isn't changing. You'll still be able to find us at www.girlmuseum.org. But we'll have a new look and feel. You can expect a more interactive space and more multi-media to explore. And everything will be in one place, so you'll be able to find the blog there as well. And don't worry, we'll post here when the new site and blog launch, so you won't have to worry about missing anything. Plus, you'll still be able to find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest, so don't hesitate to contact us. After all, Girl Museum is here for you!

We're really excited about all the new changes, and we hope you'll like them, too.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Inspirational Girls: Sam Gordon


Sam Gordon (Courtesy of Brent Gordon)

Samantha Gordon is a breakthrough for American football; her recent stats of 1,911 yards on 8.2 yards per carry and 35 touchdowns in her youth football league are pretty impressive. She brings new hope to girls playing football everywhere, not only as a representative of female football, but also because she  plays alongside all-male teams, despite weighing only 60 pounds at nine years of age. Likened to running back Walter Payton, she has achieved the status of the only girl to play in a (mostly) all-boys tackle football league in the Salt Lake City area. Sam Gordon is a great inspiration to girls everywhere who want to play a sport that is not traditionally seen as female, and to excel doing what they love. Sam has received much media attention and fame for her impressive abilities as a football player, and has appeared on Good Morning America, the NFL Network, and is also the first female football player to appear on a Wheaties cereal box, due to her strong personality.

Football is traditionally seen as a male domain. Whilst women attend football matches, they remain excluded from football communities. Girls often have to fight off the stigma that surrounds women and football, as well as the fact that they can understand football, as it is often considered to be a man's sport. Yet women have been playing football for many years, though this may remain hidden from the public eye. The film Bend it like Beckham brought the issue of whether or not girls can play soccer into the entertainment sphere. An athletic career for women, specifically in traditionally male-dominated sports such as soccer and football, is significantly more difficult to obtain than it is for men.

Sam Gordon has begun to change these attitudes about women in football. It is more difficult for women than men to try out for football, due to gender stereotypes. This stems from belief that men are genetically apt at playing football, whilst women are not. Furthermore, girls who are playing football are not gaining the recognition that they should be. These ingrained beliefs in society stop women from trying out for pro football, and only in 2011 did the NFL allow women to play. Though she's got a few years to go, perhaps Sam Gordon will play in the NFL someday.

-Ayesha Khalid
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Girl in pre-Columbian Maya


Ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and medicine in ancient Maya.

Today, when most people think about the pre-Columbian Maya people, they think about the long-count (Mayan) calendar and sites like Chichen Itza. But a lot of people don't realize that the descendants of the ancient Maya still live southern Mexico and northern Central America. There are an estimated 6 million Maya living today, and many of them have kept portions of their Maya heritage.

A Maya girl making a hammock in Yucatan, Mexico.

The Maya standard of beauty was very different than what we think of today. While their skulls were still soft, babies had a board pressed against their forehead to create a flattened surface. Crossed eyes were also desirable, and objects would be dangled in front of a baby's eyes so they would become permanently crossed. Children were also named for the day they were born; there were specific names associated with each day of the year, and parents were expected to use those names. 

Children in the Maya city-states were cherished and valued, but from about the age of five, expected to help their parents, and their duties followed traditional gender roles. Agriculture was a central part of life: boys would accompany their fathers into the fields during the day, and would help them hunt and trap as well. Girls were expected to learn and help with household duties, such as preparing food. Women were responsible for the "economics of food;" in other words, ensuring that there was enough to eat. Deer was a common meat, and sometimes deer were kept in the household, so while men were responsible for killing the deer, the women made sure that there was enough deer to hunt. Households also had religious shrines which the women were responsible for, and, as religion was important to the Maya, girls were taught how to maintain these domestic shrines.

Some, if not all girls, would have also learned the arts of spinning and weaving. Textiles were an important part of the economy, and they were produced by women. Archaeological finds suggest that textiles were created and valued as art, not just for household uses. As such, women would have been valued for their ability to create something with lasting value.

Outside of the household, there were limited opportunities for girls to aspire to, though there is evidence that some girls learned to read and write (and thus could have become scribes). Some girls had the chance to become matchmakers, while others because midwives.  Around the age of 15, children were expected to become independent, and soon after, start their own families.

-Katie Weidmann
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.