This morning through my other job with the a middle school, I viewed a screening of the documentary Finding Kind with over 600 6th and 7th grade students. Briefly, Finding Kind features two mothers and daughters who travel cross-country spreading the importance of being kind to girls from kindergarten to 12th grade. The film focuses on “the girl world,” specifically the ways in which girls bully and mistreat other girls through name-calling, spreading rumors, and essentially, lowering each others self esteem.
While I took issue with some aspects of the film–the lack of diversity and the reinforcement of the mean, catty teenage girl stereotype–it was an intensely powerful film. Girls of all ages discussed, in groups as well as one-on-one, ways in which they had both been victim to and guilty of bullying other females. The film touched on suicide, depression, and anxiety as a result of bullying, citing real-life testaments.
As a Program Leader of a summer camp whose main purpose is to empower young women by building their self-esteem and social awareness, it is helpful to be reminded that our campers not only suffer from social and economic barriers but are also being put down by one another. As I sat among the students in the theatre this morning and heard their tears, I was reminded of how difficult it is to be a young woman.
I hope to not only introduce this film into our Summer Fellow training week, but also to our campers. While it has its faults, it has a great underlining message that I look forwarding to sharing and discussing with our campers this summer.