Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are... Analysis Recommendations Gimme Shelter

Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale: A Memoir - Book Read Discussion 5/12/15
The people present mentioned additional resources on this topic area, including films Gimme Shelter and Tricked;
Everyday Feminism Blog; Wong Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
It would be helpful to have information posted in the restrooms referring folks who might need support due to similar
experiences or domestic violence situations. People in crisis can be referred to the Women’s Center and Counselors to
get support and referrals.
Gender Studies class is very helpful to be able to understand these issues of structural sexism and gender bias as
well as the intersections with class and race discrimination and oppression, as the author relates in the book.
Student related experience with an instructor not handling sexism in the classroom from a male student.
The instructor provided ground rules, however does not intervene when a man is being sexist during small group
discussions. Instructors need support and training on how to handle situations of discrimination in the classroom.
Discussion Notes from 5/20/15
The group discussed how the author analyzes the issue of race in perceptions of who pimps are and that the
owners of the clubs as well as the pimps are seldom prosecuted.
The issue of how the culture promotes women as victims, setting them up with the clothes and shoes that are
cool and sexy, and leave women vulnerable; and how “Pimp” culture is popular and acceptable in the language
and even a song getting an Academy Award. Corporations have a role in normalizing and making a profit off of
glamorizing Pimp culture.
The book provides an excellent analysis of systemic abuse of young girls that leads to the commercially sexual
exploitation of girls and women.
Recruitment by pimps is based on taking advantage of girls/women with limited choices based on their ages,
family history, lack of education; difficulty leaving in similar ways to domestic violence situations – the Pimp is
their “family”, there may be more stability than before, a sense of being loved and cared for, and that violence
is normal due to earlier experiences.
Trafficking is not about “consent” even with adults, as the choices made are not based on knowing what comes next.
The author shows examples of how the culture sets up girls with fairy tales teaching about gender roles, as part of a
psychological pathway to being groomed by pimps/abusers.
She also demonstrates how the psychology works in similar ways to Slave culture and Holocaust victims being enlisted
to participate in the abuse of others – relative power levels to keep the structure in place and keep victims from uniting
to escape; explains “Stockholm Syndrome” – that captors can create situations in which the victims start to identify with
the oppressors.
The book demonstrates how to address systems of abuse, such as teaching the girls to become advocates for
systemic change. The example of having them testify to get the Safe Harbor bill passed is an excellent example
of how education and support to advocate for change can transform systems and the individuals involved.
The curriculum of the Gender and Women’s Studies program is an excellent example of how to empower people
through education about these systems.
If a student is angry, we should recognize that they might be coming from a situation of trauma, such as in the book;
it is important to address them with kindness and respect; trauma-informed care is important to help students who
may need help in getting out of such abusive situations.
Help educate students about who GED students really are, as many have negative stereotypes about them
as “drop-outs.”
GED testing is now more difficult and expensive, due to profit making corporation – Pearson-Vue, taking over the
testing. We could advocate to change that. Think structurally to consider ways to change that, to better serve our
mission of open enrollment.