“As director of the Wellesley Centers for Women I have spent decades studying the status of girls and women. I’m adding my voice to SPARK because I’m deeply discouraged by the way gender issues are framed in the media. “Girls are doing fine; boys need help academically,” is one common construction. The reality is far more complex. The objectification of girls, their sexualization at younger and younger ages, creates a world in which girls are viewed, and learn to view themselves, through a lens that excludes the majority of who they are and can be. This narrow view of girls is just another way to limit their freedom and “keep them in their place.” It hurts girls and boys both academically and psychologically, and damages our entire society. We must recognize the need for healthy sexuality as a central ingredient in healthy personhood, and as key to achieving genuine gender equality.”

Dr. Bailey is the Executive Director of Wellesley Centers for Women, and a professor of Women’s & Gender Studies and Education at Wellesley College.

Part of “30 Allies in 30 Days.” Learn more about the SPARK Summit and check back Monday for our next ally!