Lessons for Girls

Created on May 10th 2009

A Feminist Vade Mecum:

  1. Anger, by Historiann.
  2. Opting Out, by Dr. Crazy.
  3. On Pity, by Professor Zero.
  4. Independence, by Sutton.
  5. Trust Your Instincts, by Undine.
  6. No Apologies, by Exile in Academia.
  7. It’s okay if not everyone likes you, by Geeky Mom.
  8. You don’t have to be a mom, by Squadratomagico.
  9. You can say no, by Tiffany.
  10. Don’t peak early, by Minnesota Matron.
  11. Love your body, by Knitting Clio.
  12. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, by Bavardess.
  13. You are not what you wear, by Roxie the Wire-Haired Fox Terrier.
  14. Don’t just ask, insist on help (even if it makes you feel weird), by Sisyphus.
  15. Girl School, by the Bittersweet Girl.
  16. Romance is for your pleasure and enjoyment, by Professor Zero.


35 Responses to “Lessons for Girls”

  1. Lessons for Girls, numbers two and three: Opting Out, and On Pity : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 10 May 2009 at 9:23 am #

    [...] earlier in life?  (By the way, check out the new page in the top left corner of the homepage, “Lessons for Girls,” where I’ll keep a list of all of the [...]

  2. squadratomagico » Blog Archive » lessons for girls: you don’t have to be a mom on 12 May 2009 at 11:13 am #

    [...] finally overcame my reluctance to post about this because of Historiann’s new series, Lessons for Girls. I believe that reproduction is yet another area in which girls are [...]

  3. Anonymous on 17 May 2009 at 11:56 pm #

    [...] 18, 2009 · No Comments Historiann’s series, Lessons for Girls, has reminded me of the biggest lesson from the rad (rape aggression defense) course I took in [...]

  4. The night before the last exam « Modus dopens on 21 May 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    [...] had my bath, and I’m settling down for the evening.  And I’ve read the “Lessons for Girls:  A feminist vade mecum” compiled by Historiann (hat tip:  Zuska).  Like Zuska, I was particularly struck by lesson [...]

  5. Professor Zero on 22 May 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    BTW this post has driven my hit count through the roof. I can only imagine what yours must be.

    Re anger post. Note to self. I have notes on this I must unearth. But it was based on asking myself with whom I was angry and why that I discovered the result: I am most angry with people I have inappropriately pitied.

    Also (warning–esoteric): Nietzche, in the geneaology of morals, explains why anger, which in my region’s current popular culture is supposed to be bad because it is a poison, is actually NOT a poison except in weak people (people Adorno/Reich would have said have the “authoritarian personality” – cf. http://www.psychologistworld.com/influence_personality/authoritarian_personality.php). For Nietzche’s words see section 10 here, on ressentiment: http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/MODERN/GENEAL.HTM

  6. Femmostroppo Reader - May 23, 2009 — Hoyden About Town on 22 May 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    [...] Lessons for Girls : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present [...]

  7. Professor Zero on 23 May 2009 at 6:46 am #

    I nominate this post for addition to the list:

  8. Samia on 23 May 2009 at 7:37 pm #

    Profacero, you are too kind. That post is just another of my meandering mindturds…

  9. Lessons For Girls | Orbakat ● 黑眼圈 on 24 May 2009 at 11:35 am #

    [...] Via the Glass Castle blog: lessons for girls [...]

  10. Wenderina on 27 May 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    Love these posts…where were all of these great pieces of advice when i was growing up? I mean, I can still use them, and it is actually a great relief to see them put into words by such amazing writers/women, but damn…timing you know? I’ve been absent from my blog for a few weeks and this might spark a new topic for me. I look forward to the next one someone suggested about how It’s OK to say No! How do you feel about me writing a post entitled, “When to Talk and When to Shut Up”?

  11. Tiffany on 28 May 2009 at 8:07 am #


    The post about saying no is done, and can be added to the list if you like.

  12. Minnesota Matron on 28 May 2009 at 11:05 am #

    The Matron added a tenth lesson at her site: http://minnesotamatron.blogspot.com/

    Love this meme!

  13. idle musings » Blog Archive » Lessons for Girls on 30 May 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    [...] started an awesome meme entitled Lessons for Girls. There are 10 lessons posted by various authors, and I highly recommend going to take a look. [...]

  14. Two more lessons for girls: you can say no, and don’t peak early : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 31 May 2009 at 9:36 am #

    [...] had a few more additions to Lessons for Girls in the past week, which I would like to highlight here.  First, Tiffany at Disclosures of a Dirty [...]

  15. Vade Mecum feminista « Diario de un padre on 31 May 2009 at 1:53 pm #

    [...] Mecum feminista By unpadre Lessons for girls, los diez mandamientos para chicas. Recopilados a partir de un meme en el blog feminista [...]

  16. Another lesson for girls: love your body : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 02 Jun 2009 at 8:53 pm #

    [...] adolescent and college student health history, Knitting Clio, has written an utterly appropriate lesson for girls, number 11:  “Love your body.”  She adds some thoughts too about Brooke Shields, and even [...]

  17. Lesson for girls: if you don’t ask, you don’t get. : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 09 Jun 2009 at 7:22 am #

    [...] has posted another lesson for girls:  If you don’t ask, you don’t get.  As in, negotiate your salary, don’t just [...]

  18. Lessons for Girls, #13: You are not what you wear. : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 11 Jul 2009 at 8:40 am #

    [...] Lessons for Girls?  Well, Roxie, the terminally ill wire-haired terrier got busy living this week enough to make [...]

  19. Lessons for Girls #14: Don’t just ask, insist on help : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 17 Jul 2009 at 8:47 am #

    [...] a post called “Don’t just ask, insist on help (even if it makes you feel weird),” fourteenth in our popular series, Lessons for Girls, Sisyphus writes that a roommate of hers, “Brilliant Grad,” was in the same program [...]

  20. It’s Back-to-Girl School time, kids! : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 18 Aug 2009 at 7:21 am #

    [...] is apropos of the Lessons for Girls seriesthat Historiann initiated and is archiving. I’ve enjoyed this series immensely and have wanted to [...]

  21. Lessons for Girls 7: It’s okay if not everyone likes you | Geeky Mom on 19 Dec 2009 at 3:38 pm #

    [...] Historiann and Dr. Crazy and others have started this meme, and it’s a perfect meme to follow up on Mother’s Day. [...]

  22. Professor Zero on 29 Dec 2009 at 6:59 am #

    It’s perhaps too specific, and it might be a subset of a more general topic, but I thought of another one. I can’t post it on my blog because my parents read that.

    Part A: dates, and “relationships,” should be more relaxed/pleasant than ordeal-like. Part B: it’s OK to be in them for you (as opposed to in service to the other person).

    I remember that I believed these things in the 8th grade and disagreed with the nun (yes!) who was called into our public school to teach sex education to girls. She said dating was to find out who you’d like to marry. I had never been on a date but I suspected the purpose of them was to go do something interesting and fun with an interesting and fun person.

    Since my mid thirties, however, I’ve had recurrent trouble with men who (a) think one should have sex to serve and please them; (b) are not sure one should have it to please oneself, unless that can benefit them with some kind of visual show; (c) are convinced women want them and that they can therefore get away with various types of poor behavior and not be frozen out.

    Eventually this shook my sense of reality that I went to see a therapist, who reminded me of ideas (A) and (B) (in the second paragraph). Even though these ideas had once seemed obvious to me, it was amazing to me by that point to have someone confirm that they really weren’t “too selfish.”

    Recently I’ve realized that although part of the reason I try to understand these people and figure out what is going on is that I’m the guest in the culture, another part has to do with my earliest (pre feminist, pre 1967 or so) upbringing.

    According to that upbringing, managing an ordeal-like relationship was part of one’s job in the same way as managing events like awkward yet necessary work related social events (e.g. job candidate dinners with colleagues who hate each other) is part of my job now.

    So, girls: dates, and “relationships,” should be more relaxed/pleasant than ordeal-like, and it’s OK to be in them for you (as opposed to in service to the other person).

    Corollary: beware of advice about how you should “work on” relationships and how they are “work.” Also beware of advice about how you need to compromise more, and how the burden of “communication” is on you.

    My friendships don’t seem like work and struggle, they seem like pleasure and growth; my better relationships with men have felt like that too; I would really beware of all the warnings about the “work” of a relationship just because romance is involved; I think these are a trap.

    (Perhaps that advice was actually invented by men who are telling themselves there is “work” in a relationship because what they are learning is, women are actual people, not dolls or something … ?)

  23. Lessons for Girls #16: Romance is for your pleasure and enjoyment : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 29 Dec 2009 at 9:44 am #

    [...] Zero has posted an excellent addition to our occasional series, Lessons for Girls, which I have entitled “Romance is for your pleasure and enjoyment.”  Go read the [...]

  24. Lessons for Girls 16: Romance is for Fun. And: Hold On To Your Computer, House, and Car. « Professor Zero on 31 Dec 2009 at 11:48 am #

    [...] which is an honor. Historiann’s title for my post, part of her feminist series Lessons for Girls, is “Romance Is For Your Pleasure and Enjoyment.” I offer a revised and expanded [...]

  25. m Andrea on 22 Feb 2010 at 6:55 am #

    Dearest Historiann,

    HA! A feminist historian! Just what I was looking for!

    I shall peruse your luscious offerings and then come back to, in no particular order, pester you with questions and shower you with compliments.

    Sincerely, with all due respect and regards, etc.


  26. Women in science: Why So Few? : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 23 Mar 2010 at 6:05 am #

    [...] our old “Lessons For Girls,” especially #1, “Anger,” and #7, “It’s okay if not everyone likes [...]

  27. firefoot on 04 May 2010 at 4:33 am #


    Thank you for this repository; it has been good to read. However, I’m afraid the linked post under “No Apologies” is no longer in existence. Is there an alternate site where the piece has been posted?

    Thanks for your time :)

  28. squadratomagico » Blog Archive » improved stepford wife technology! on 01 Jul 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    [...] was one titled “lessons for girls: you don’t have to be a mom,” part of Historiann’s “Lessons for Girls” series. One item of discussion was an idea I mentioned in passing: that some researchers believe [...]

  29. Anti-volunteerism, and other career saving strategies : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 04 Aug 2010 at 7:50 am #

    [...] so do what you need to do to succeed.  (I think I need to add that post to our collection of Lessons for Girls.)  And if you aren’t in fact a girl–well, live it [...]

  30. xheralt on 18 Aug 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    I see, with some dismay, that the problem firefoot noted still exists; the blog entry (and, in fact, the entire blog) linked to as Lesson #6 is missing, and that in all the months that have passed since firefoot’s post, the entry has not been corrected, replaced, or even addressed by the original author. The article is not findable via wayback machine. Surely firefoot and I aren’t the only ones who wanted to see (and potentially share, and/or benefit from) that lesson. While exact text may be lost, is there anyone who could at least paraphrase it here?

  31. On Doing What You Want To | Z-Xiuhtecuhtli on 12 May 2011 at 11:42 pm #

    [...] that while we knew we could work, we felt that having a work or works was for others. This is a lesson for girls, and it is [...]

  32. On Being Emotional – Originally posted at CANOW.org | Polimicks on 02 Nov 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    [...] group of Feminist bloggers recently put together a series of posts they are calling “Lessons for Girls.”  The first lesson is that they get to be angry.  That lesson made me cry, because until I [...]

  33. MattW on 10 Apr 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    The No Apologies link is broken – can you relink or
    post a cached copy somewhere?


  34. Historiann on 10 Apr 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Sorry–that blog must no longer exist, and I didn’t keep copies on my own blog. Blogger FAIL!

  35. link love | Grumpy rumblings of the (formerly!) untenured on 29 Nov 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    […] Historiann gathers lessons for girls. […]

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