Three 5th Grade Feminists and $5,000—Not a Bad Night!

Contributed by Patti Binder
Three fifth grade girls had no idea what they were in for when they went summer book shopping at Barnes & Noble last Sunday, June 10.
Instead they got an introduction to the power and awesomeness of feminism in action. Twenty-nine teen authors from Girls Write Now shared their original writing on subjects ranging from boys and body image to racism and writers block while guest speaker Jessica Valenti gave an entire floor of Barnes & Noble a full frontal view of feminism.
Despite the occasional mention of erections in the poetry, or the “f-bombâ€? from Jessica, the fifth graders in the front row were spellbound, like the rest of us. When the mom of one of the girls approached us after the reading, we thought we were in for a few harsh words about how the reading wasn’t quite “family friendlyâ€?. Instead, the mom told us the fifth graders’ response was “What’s feminism?â€? creating a great opportunity for discussion.
Wish you made it? Catch a glimpse (above) of one of the girls reading her original piece “Words Unspoken.” Watch later this month for a “Voices of Girls Write Nowâ€? series with more clips from the reading and our general girl-awesomeness.
Girls Write Now is the only New York City based non profit that matches high school teens with professional female writers who serve as their mentors. Through the course of a year, girls build 7-genre portfolios which they use for college admission, scholarships, publication, and their own enjoyment. Girls meet with their mentors once a week and all mentors and mentees gather once a month to workshop memoir, poetry, fiction, journalism, and more. Volunteer driven, Girls Write Now is a vibrant community of women in action.
The annual reading is also a Girls Write Now fundraiser—we raised over $5,000 at the event, which is great! But we need your help to ensure Girls Write Now is still going strong when those fifth graders–and girls like them from across NYC–start high school.
Girls Write Now is a labor of love, but we can’t run on love alone—check out our website to donate.

Join the Conversation

  • kmg

    Wow, three new fifth grade feminists? One more and get a toaster!
    In all seriousness, that’s very cool, Jessica.

  • bean

    FYI – there is a similar organization in L.A. called WriteGirl. I was a mentor there when I lived on the west coast. They’re also incredible and worth checking out.

  • Heroine of the Story

    Wow, three new fifth grade feminists? One more and get a toaster!
    Oooh, I make four! So where do we get the toaster? Seriously though, does anyone know if groups like these exsist in NJ?

  • chem_fem

    good going!!
    Also I wanted to remind you (seeing as you asked) about having a feministing question time. Or maybe if it isn’t do-able a feminist problem page.

  • UCLAbodyimage

    Wow, that sounds like an amazing program! The world definitely needs more students who are getting careful attention paid to their writing style and learning how to convey their thoughts clearly.