“Who Were You?”

Temporality and Intergenerational Empathy in Community Girlhood Studies

in Girlhood Studies
Author:
Sarah Winstanley University of Calgary, Canada slwinsta@ucalgary.ca

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3920-4361
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Alexe Bernier McMaster University, Canada bernia1@mcmaster.ca

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Abstract

While Girlhood Studies is an emerging field of academic study, knowledge about how to work with girls in the community has long been evolving. As community social workers doing critical, gender-transformative work with girls, we trained adult women volunteers in gender-specific girls’ programs. Pedagogically rooted in popular education, our training approach, in drawing on volunteers’ own memories of girlhood, evoked a diversity of stories, lived experiences, and understandings of how their lives were affected by systemic forces. In this article, we illustrate how explicating the temporality of girlhood with women can facilitate the interrogation of their own internalized sexism and adultism, and how building intergenerational empathy serves as a tool for reshaping adult women's ability to work collaboratively with and build relationships with girls.

Contributor Notes

Sarah Winstanley (ORCID ID: 0000-0003-3920-4361) has spent a decade working with girl and women leaders as a facilitator and program coordinator. Sarah carries out research on the prevention of adolescent dating violence and is a curriculum developer and sessional instructor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary. Email: slwinsta@ucalgary.ca

Alexe Bernier (ORCID ID: 0000-0003-1322-804X) is a PhD student in the School of Social Work at McMaster University in Canada, where she studies tween girls’ activism, citizenship, and participation. Her community and academic work is located in the intersections of Girlhood Studies, social work, and community development. Email: bernia1@mcmaster.ca

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Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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