*GREAT GIRL VOICES*
IS WHAT WE’RE
WATCH THE VIDEO, OK?
~ where we’re finding, shaping and sharing
one of the strongest forces on the planet ~
1. What IS a Great Girl Voice ?
I’ll happily break that down for you…
of outstanding significance or importance ~ dictionary
is compassion, and it’s empathy, and it’s passion itself, and it’s vulnerability, and it’s openness and it’s intensity and it’s association, and it’s relationship, and it is intuitive ~ Eve Ensler
a powerful psychological instrument connecting inner and outer worlds ~ Carol Gilligan
2. How do we ACCESS our Great Girl Voice ?
One day in a workshop where I share what I know about the stages of The Hero’s Journey with girls one girl asked me,
“Can we make a girl like you made Ruby?”
And I said,
“Yes, you can. Actually, she already exists. It’s more a matter of contacting her. She is YOUR inner-girl.”
I didn’t have to define “inner-girl” for them, they knew it was…
…and they couldn’t wait to start getting their inner-girl out onto the page… in simple line drawings… and dialogue bubbles… so they could hear what she had to say.
The only thing I had to do was give them fun exercises that would let their inner-girl OUT.
3. Are Great Girl Voices limited to OUR OWN stories? Our own thoughts and feelings?
No. In the same way Great Girl Voices can tell of our INNER-GIRL experience, they can be used to tell of the GLOBAL GIRL experience.
The ThinkPeace Workshop for Girls took what I shared with them about the Hero’s Journey and INNER-GIRL work and we married it with what they were learning of girls in other parts of the world ~ what their lives are like. Collaboratively, the girls created two Afgan girls very different from themselves.
“My experience writing about a girl in another country was powerful. As I wrote my scene I began to realize the reality of the situation my girl character was in. Child marriage & poverty are a big issue, but so are the emotions that come with. I literally began to empathize with my character’s life, even though it was made up. This writing experience has opened up my inner self. The more exciting part is that I am able to give a voice to girls who experience hardships around the world. The important aspect is that I shed light on these situations and help inspire change.”
~ Anj’ Gaston, age 17 D.C.
4. Are Great Girl Voices important?
Contact me, Jeanne Demers, if you would like more information about facilitating the Great Girl Voices process.
One of the great girls I have the pleasure of working with online – 15 year-old Sanah Jivani – interviewed me recently for Bellaboo’s magazine, Gloss.
She did such a great job drawing out of me what Ruby is all about (something that sometimes eludes me), I am posting the interview as a Ruby News. Here it is. Thank you, Sanah!!
I got the chance to stop and talk to Jeanne Demers, the founder of an amazing organization called The Ruby Books.
The Ruby Books is an organization based on “Ruby” sharing her “great girl voice”. Ruby is a fictional character representing Jeanne’s inner-self and her voice. After coming up with the courage to share her voice, Jeanne realized that other girls have trouble sharing their own voices, and so she created opportunities for girls to share their voices and tell their stories.
From personal experience in working with Jeanne, I have learned that The Ruby Books is an amazing organization. The first project introduced to me was the Ruby Girl Cards. Jeanne gave the opportunity for girls to share one message with the world using their great girl voice. Through this card, I was truly able to express myself and feel heard.
Using Facebook, Jeanne walked the girls through the creative process and kept the girls involved every step of the way, from the quotes selected to the design of the artwork on the cards.
I personally got to work on this project, and my quote was,
“Confidence is the key to beauty. We’re all perfect in our own way and we all need to be our own definitions of beautiful.”
The picture above shows the illustration on my card featuring “Ruby”. After receiving copies of my card, I immediately knew it was special. I wanted to do something great with my card, and make good use of it. I stuck the cards in the bathroom mirror, hoping to inspire some girls by doing so. Little did I know, I was in the process of starting a huge future project.
While on Skype with Jeanne, I was able to ask her a few questions about her organization, and better understand the concept of Ruby.
Who is Ruby?
Ruby is me, in the third person. It’s “her” and “she” rather than “I” and “me”. It’s actually a very powerful way to create the distance that is necessary between myself and my potential self. So that I can explore, without getting freaked out or embarrassed, what it is that I really care about, and what it is that I want to do. And what it is that keeps me stuck. I’m learning about myself through this little character. She’s me, but she’s not me. It’s a combination.
How much time do you think you invest in The Ruby Books?
Oh my gosh, it’s incalculable. I can’t even say. It’s an insane amount of time that I’ve put in over the years. But it’s my way of being creative and enjoying myself. It’s been a way to figure out what are the ways I can actually help the world.
When did you get started and how?
It’s been a long, slow, natural evolution and I’ve been figuring it out as I go. I didn’t know, for example, that I was going to become this passionate about the girl voice in the world. It all started out with me and my own exploration of how to write a story and creating the Ruby story that I wanted to have go out into the world. There was a lot of time spent working on it myself, being creative in the writer way.
Then in 2008 I decided to go online and put Ruby out there that way. But while I was doing it I came up against all this fear. I mean a LOT. It was just so hard being visible. It was this weird thing where I both wanted to put myself out there, but I stopped myself because it scared me to death. I think though, the fear I experienced is the very thing that allows me to have the compassion I have for girls and just how hard it can be for them to find their voice and share their voice.
What message would you have for girls struggling with sharing their story?
I think my message would be, “Don’t believe everything you think.” Half of the things you think about yourself are not true, but we believe it just because we thought it. For example, “I look terrible today” when actually, that’s not true. You don’t look terrible today. I would say observe and explore your thoughts with a sense of curiosity. There’s a lot of freedom in doing that.
Have you seen any impact through your projects?
Yes, that’s a big part of what keeps me going. I’ve realized that the simplest things – like just being there for girls – are the most important things. Not the creative projects, not the Ruby story, but just being present for them is the best thing I can give them. Because I think that’s one of the things we suffer with, the feeling that we’re not seen or we’re not heard. OR that we’re not worthy of being seen or heard. That’s very painful.
After learning some more information on this wonderful organization, I was able to tell Jeanne the impact my Ruby Girl Card truly made on my life and the lives of my friends. I suggested creating something like sticky notes, so girls could stick their message around their schools.
The idea of sticky notes has become the next major project of The Ruby Books. Through the sticky notes, we were also able to come up with the idea to have an “International Natural Day” at schools around the world. This day will take place every February 13th and will be the one day of the year where everyone is truly themselves! The idea is for everyone to let go of his or her insecurities and embrace his or her differences. Examples of this are not wearing make-up, or not styling your hair. Over the next few weeks, I will be closely working with Jeanne. Together, we hope to spread positive messages and help girls realize their inner voices!
Speaking to Jeanne and seeing her time, dedication and passion has truly been a pleasure. I am excited to see our future project come together. For now, she is an inspiration to us all, encouraging girls to open up and share their voices. If you are struggling with anything at all, never be afraid to share your story. By sharing your story, you could be helping someone out there who needs to hear it.
“Like” the Ruby Books on Facebook, or check out their website for more ways to get involved and share YOUR Great Girl Voice! All of the projects listed above are future projects of “TheRuby Books” so stay tuned and follow Ruby on Facebook to see what’s coming up next!
Never forget that ONE voice can truly make the change!
Girls voices in the world.
Jeanne & Ruby