Supergirls, Meet ESP
Today, we have the pleasure of being the landing place for Liz Funk's Supergirls Speak Out blog tour! This new book, subtitled 'Inside the Secret Crisis of Overachieving Girls,' is a fascinating look at young women who turn themselves inside out to be perfect at everything - their looks, their grades, their extracurricular resumes, their social status.
Liz: You know, I think it all totally varies depending on each woman. I observed a lot of Supergirls who tended to date guys who were less ambitious than they were and they were sort of the powerful ones in the relationship, career-wise, and I observed some Supergirls who were attracted to equally ambitious guys. It all depends. I think what happens when a Supergirl goes to have kids depends on whether she's confronted her Supergirl self. If a woman has had an overachieving-related breakdown, usually she changes her ways and adjusts her approach to life, which would compel a woman to try not to be an alphamom. But I think these moms who we hear about in the media, who make homemade decorated cupcakes for bake sales and homemade Halloween costumes are Supergirls all-grown-up, who busy themselves to the point of exhaustion to feel like they are valuable.
ESP.com: How do Supergirls feel about our culture's gender roles? Do they seek to bust them up or do they follow them because this is what they think is expected of them?
Liz: One of the ironies that I encountered over and over again as I researched this book was how young women who were intellectually conscious of the pressures on women in society still weren't immune to these pressures. Lots of girls I spoke with identified with feminist beliefs, but didn't have much in the way of suggestions to ameliorate the high demands on women in our sexist society.
ESP.com: How difficult would it be for a Supergirl to create a relationship with her husband based on true equality and balanced lives?
Liz: I think that if Supergirls would be open to having an equally shared parenting lifestyle, they'd probably find that it would be much more fulfilling than trying to singlehandedly do everything! I think it would be great for them, actually! So perhaps the key is that today's parents need to adopt ESP so today's girls see a healthy, egalitarian model of parenting.
ESP.com: What is your overall prognosis for a Supergirl to have a happy life?
Liz: I think that realizing one's intrinsic worth is the most important thing in the world. So many Supergirls don't have a sense of why they matter outside of what they look like and how others perceive them, but having a positive, loving relationship with themselves and having a sense of identity could save them! It all goes back to self-esteem and liking what you hear when you listen to your thoughts.
It's Amy again. Talking with Liz made me think about how important it is for all parents (all people, actually) to watch out that they don't begin to live a role rather than a life. ESP is about being a real person in partnership with another, rather than garnering our identities from the roles we take on. I hope seeing an ESP relationship in action can be a useful model for our daughters so that they live their best lives - not the lives they think others expect of them.
Thanks, Liz, for sharing your wisdom, and we hope your book reaches the many girls who need to hear your hopeful message.