Fearless and Empowerment
Veronica Roth, Divergent
Rebecca Ewing, who teaches English at Santa Maria College, recently presented on this topic at the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia conference in Adelaide.
Young people, sexuality and the influence of pornography were key areas of discussion for educators from girls’ schools attending the conference Fearless Girls Strong Women, held from 5 – 7 May. More than 240 educators from 87 schools across Australasia, specialising in the education of girls, heard the very latest insights into issues affecting teenage girls including sex education, the effect of rising teen pornography consumption, how to combat anxiety and much more, at the Biennial Educators Conference.
Rebecca’s session was titled Fearlessness and Empowerment: A look at female protagonists’ relationship with fear in novel and film.
In the stories we read, girls are often discouraged from doing anything that involves a hint of risk, yet boys are almost expected to prove their bravery by showing courage. But what is wrong with feeling afraid? During Rebecca’s session participants delved into a broad range of modern texts that showcase female protagonists who are unsettled, fearful and at times, scared out of their wits. These are terrified tweens whose experiences exemplify the transformative power of fear; a vehicle for growth, maturity and resilience. Many adults believe that literature should offer a ‘safe’ place for children to navigate the issues and ills rife within our world, but safety isn’t guaranteed in life and neither should it be within the English classroom. To embolden our girls to become resilient women we need to expose them to literature that champions the notion that courage is not the absence of fear.
The Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia is our region’s leading voice for the education and empowerment of girls and young women.