Mixed Messages That Continue to Haunt Girls

Girls today continue to be haunted and confused by mixed messages absorbed from the culture, leading to excessive stress, pressure, anxiety, and depression. 

Show Notes

Dr. Jordan describes Dr. Stephan Hinshaw’s concept of the triple bind:

· Be good at Traditional girl stuff: pretty, thin, sexy, nice, obedient, helpful, relationship skills, empathy, bonding, nurturing; “good girls” who put other’s needs 1st, not have strong sexual feelings and control ones that arise 

· Be good at traditional boy stuff: straight A’s, super athlete, scholarship to top college, super assertive, aggressive, competitive, ambitious, driven, win-at-all-cost attitude, “hook up” vs. relationships 

· Conform to a Narrow, Unrealistic Set of Standards: look pretty, hot, thin, sexy; perfect wife and mother with perfect children, climb to the top of your career ladder making a ton of $, maintain all your relationships with spouse, kids, friends, both sets of parents, relatives, & neighbors; even women who break new ground must fit the standards of looking hot, succeed brilliantly & look effortless

Girls are still pressured to be “good girls”

Girls are also absorbing some unhealthy messages from the culture about the need to be a “good girl”.

· Good girl conditioningbe perfect, nice, pretty, selfless, follow the rules, obedient, graceful, dress girly, feminine, always happy, not argue or make waves, wait your turn, only positive feelings, friendships conflict-free with no disagreements, popular, passive, not speak out or speak your mind, sweet before anything else, don’t stand out, make everyone happy, put other’s needs 1st, be the kind of girl that all the parents & teachers like and that other girls want to be 

Mixed messages that confuse & stress out girls

Girls also experience a lot of pressure and confusion from a myriad of mixed messages about how they should behave and live:

· be nice & likeable vs. be competitive and ambitious

· smart but not too smart or opinionated

· be assertive vs. not too assertive 

· confident but not too assertive because might cause jealousy or conflict

· be liked, accepted, popular, but be yourself & authentic

· powerful but risk being judged as bitch/aggressive

· don’t make friends mad but stand up for self

· be successful but not be ‘all that’

·take care of yourself but put other’s needs first

· be sexy vs. not be sexual

· you are way more than your body and appearance but that’s what we focus on

· don’t care about grades as long as try hardest 24-7 and work to your potential

· Ps say they value character vs achievement, but kids say the opposite

· be a leader but mostly from behind the scenes, quietly

· YOU CAN BE WHATEVER YOU WANT, BUT YOU CAN’T BE YOURSELF because you must conform to society’s standards.

What are The results of all of this pressure?

· Girls feel pressured to be perfect & meet parent’s expectations, causes stress & anxiety

· Anxiety can come from worrying about keeping up with or outshining peers, while depression can be caused by a failure to achieve

· Unrealistic standards leaves girls feeling like they failed, not good enough, stuck

· End up ignoring their intuition & urges and give up themselves & their needs and desires and dreams to conform, not make waves, be loved

· Pressures and feelings go underground and resurface in unhealthy ways: sleep, anger, somatic c/os, anxiety, depression, lose motivation, distracted, feel out of integrity with themselves b/c living someone else’s life

Listen in for future podcast about what we can do to better guide our girls and equip them to be successful and happy now and in the future.

For more information on the pressures faced by girls today and how parents can support them, check out Dr. Jordan’s online course, Parenting girls: The challenges girls face today with their feelings and friends and what they need 

Parenting Girls

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