Done hair and nails, now what?
Why modern day youth workers should
consider binning the beauty box
Thoughts ideas and catchy slogans by the
From a base in Manchester, and with a focus across the North
West, a collective of academics, youth work practitioners and young people have
come together to 'do something' about young women and girls' youth work.
'When OFSTED came into the youth club, the boys we playing on
the pool table and the girls were hiding out in the toilets'
'In the session there were young women who had never worn
make-up in their lives, and they had all been given by their youth worker a
'Girl's world' head to practise putting make-up on... and I thought... have we
stepped back to the 1950s?!'
The increasing emphasis on crime and disorder within youth
work has meant that agendas, focus, and inevitably funding is being directed
toward work with is diversionary, targeted at young men, and starts from an
ideology of 'prevention'.
Good youth workers on the other hand, start from a position
of possibility, creation not consumption and participation. But the support for 'progressive' work is
In youth work settings, the inevitable dichotomy emerges
therefore, of boys at the pool table or playing football, and girls doing
make-up or creating raunchy dance routines.
An end to sexism.... are we nearly there yet?
So this is what we have done: we have created an online
archive and resource for young women and girls' work from a feminist
perspective at www.feministwebs.com
which includes ideas, session plans, tools and levers for change. We are now in our phase two (or 'second wave'
if you will!) in which young women from across the North West are being trained
in oral histories and are going to go out across the north west collecting
archive materials and stories from older feminist youth workers that were
active in the 1970s-1990s. So spread the word, get involved, and urge young
women you know to go out there and learn how to fly a plane instead of always
doing their hair and nails... it's time to bin the beauty box!
Interested? Contact Amelia@ica-uk.org.uk