I was very excited when I discovered Mayim Bialik’s book for “tween” girls. It sounded like this book would cover all of the topics that I feel my daughter should learn, with the special bonus that it was written by “Amy Farrah Fowler”. I’m a huge Big Bang Theory fan, streaming the reruns every night before bed. Naturally, my daughter caught onto the show and she truly looks up to Bialik’s character “Amy” on the show. The good news is that I’ve finished my pre-read of Girling Up and I approve the content. There were a few places I decided I’d write additional notes from Mom, but not many.
Mayim Bialik is a unique role model for my daughter. She is famous which excites most young people, but she also has her doctorate in neuroscience. How cool is that, right? That said, she has a special position of influence on my daughter. The reality is, kids are going to look outside of their immediate family for additional role models. If she’s going to idolize another human, Mayim Bialik is a great choice.
Onto the book. Thank you Mayim (can I call you Mayim?) for keeping this information based on science. I thought it was clever to first explain the physical set up of our bodies, how they work, and the signals that our brain is sending for different reasons. You were able to explain the physical reaction we feel when attracted to others without being perverse. There is no shame in understanding how and why our bodies react the way that they do to either the same or opposite gender.
Speaking of gender! Yes there is a male and female based on the X and Y chromosomes but that doesn’t mean a person subscribes to the gender norms assigned to their chromosomal make-up. I admit, you surprised me by telling readers that it’s OK to be different. In fact, throughout the book you maintain a friendly tone that speaks directly to readers like you’re their friend. Many times you remind girls that there is no one-right-way for being true to themselves. You’ve explained the standard stereotypes presented in America and you explain the differences to other countries. It’s helpful for kids to know that the world is bigger than the American culture they know.
It’s also very important to understand what behaviors are appropriate from our peers and the adults in our lives. Several times it is suggested that the reader seek out a parent or trusted adult if they find themselves in these questionable situations. This is true even among friendships. I am a grown woman and I still struggle to relinquish unhealthy friendships.
I could rave about this book forever but I will wrap this up.
It is not your job to raise our daughters (or even sons who read this book) but you’ve provided a useful tool to help parents open dialogue with their children on sensitive topics. I’ve always said that both girls and boys need to understand and seek consent. It is an important issue with me. I want my kids to know they always have to receive consent from others as well as provide consent to others in all aspects regarding their bodies. This book had a whole section detailing what consent means and I wanted to highlight and circle it in vibrant colors.
Thank you for using your experiences as a late-bloomer, a child actress, a teacher, an adult actress, and a mother of boys, to write a book about “Girling Up“. I hope that it reinforces all of the messages that I try to get across to my daughter. You’re not her mother so she’s more likely to listen to you. 😉