Pink Project

What is it like to be a girl age 5 - 12 today?


Project Description

This project focuses on the broad question: What is it like to be a girl age 5 - 12 today? We are exploring this in terms of the experience of girls - through interview, observation, and journaling. We are look at factors that shape this experience -- examining girls life- and self-meaning making with a multiliteracies lens.

Research Team

Linda Cameron

Shelly Murphy

Shelley Murphy is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE/University of Toronto. She has worked as an inner-city elementary teacher, literacy specialist, teacher educator, and educational researcher and consultant. She holds a Bachelor of Education, MA in Language and Literacy, and a Reading Specialist Credential. Her research interests include gender studies and children's media culture, AD/HD, language and literacy, and holistic education.
As a research team member of the Pink Project, Shelley is exploring modern day media role models and their resulting influence on the development of beliefs, values, and identities of today's young girls. A new media culture, with its ever-increasing number of media modes, is bombarding young girls with highly sexualized images and spectacles. Britney, Paris, Lindsay, and Miley are becoming the new socializing force. What happens when young girls have 24-hour access to the real-life versions of their TV role models and there is no promise of a “G” suitable-for-all-rating. Scandalous photos, provocative YouTube videos, DUIs, rehab.... This research looks at the scope of influence of this new "curriculum" being imposed on young girls.
Shelley's other program of research has to do with AD/HD and teaching practices. She is interested in how different pedagogical approaches and understandings can facilitate or constrain student success.

Farveh Ghafouri

I am an educator, mother researcher, and PhD student at OISE/UT. Currently, I am holding three full time jobs: writing my comprehensive exam, cooking for the family at home, and partnering in my toddler and teenager daughters' play. My research settings include: a) green outdoor spaces, where I'm interested in observing children's connecting with the nature; b) classrooms, where I'm studying the language of the indoor spaces and children's ways of responding to them; c) the third space, which is the fluid eternal space between me and my daughters filled with complex dialogues, acts, and dreams.

In the pink project, my focus is on how consumer market promotes certain values, images, and concepts of love, sexuality, and most important normality through pedagogic text of clothes, clothestext. I am asking: how do girls read and interpret these clothestexts while seeing and wear what is available to them in the market? How do they construct their identity in connection with the clothestext? What are the possible impacts on their health and well-being?

Past Conference Presentations

Reggio Inspired Care and Education Conference May 6 - 9 2009, Winnipeg

21st Century Girlhood: Reggio-Informed Approaches to Identity andInquiry
Friday, May 8, 2009 1:00 - 3:30pm

Have you walked down the pink and purple aisle? What are the toys, the clothes, and the multi-media that are shaping young girls’ everyday experiences, their curriculum? We are asking the questions: What does it mean to be a girl aged 5-11 in the 21stcentury? Workshop participantswill be invited to reflect on and engage with Reggio-informed questions and activities about the ‘image’ and ‘power’ of the child, and what it means to be female. This session will be an interactive, performative workshop where we will explore and disrupt notions, and provoke action. 90 minute workshop

Canadian Society for Studies in Education Conference - Ottawa
June 23, 2009 1:15- 2:45pm

That’s so Hot: Burning Curricular Issues for Girls 45 minute presentation

National Association for the Education of Young Children
Charlotte, NC
June 15, 5:45 to 7:00 p.m.

"That's so hot!” Burning Play Issues for Girls
Only skin deep: Exploring what it means to be growing up as a girl in the 21st century.
Farveh Ghafouri, Kimberly Bezaire, Shelley Murphy 9th Annual Dean's Graduate Student Research Conference (2009). Ontario Institue for Studies in Education, Canada

Pretty in pink: Girlhood in the 21st century.
Shelley Murphy, Kimberly Bezaire, Farveh Ghafouri 8th Annual Dean's Graduate Student Research Conference (2008). Ontario Institue for Studies in Education, Canada