There is a particular complexity to growing up female in this world. We live in a country whose dominant culture routinely portrays women and adolescent girls as sexual objects. Females grow up learning to evaluate themselves and other females on the basis of their looks, their bodies, their size, shape, and clothing. The dominant culture teaches young females that being pretty or sexy is more important than being at home in oneself, more important than knowing one's intellectual interests or having meaningful adventures in the world.
We live in a country where most positions of higher leadership across professional fields are occupied by males. Research has found that 95% of dialogue in Hollywood films is spoken by males, and 5% by females. We learn as females that our voices are not welcome, our ideas are not valuable, our leadership is not appealing. Indeed, girls displaying leadership are often chastised as "Bossy."
We are taught that our sexuality is not for our own enjoyment - ought not to be based on our own desires -- but is to be shaped for the pleasure of men. We learn to silence and dissociate from our own knowledge, our bodies, our hungers, and our desires. We may come to feel deeply self-conscious or self-denigrating about our bodies, appearances, ideas, our worth and value.
We live in a country where it is common, even normal, for women and girls to experience male predation, aggression, violence, and harassment. We have a sitting president who bragged about sexually assaulting women and was elected anyway. The #metoo campaign has clarified that women often face harassment, assault, or aggression as a price of admission into the particular public sphere they wish to venture into.
These factors, and others, combine to create a pervasive climate of hostility, exclusion, and dispossession for females.
Given this climate for female development, it can be wildly helpful to have focused support to remove splinters of muck and shed old layers of conditioning to return home to oneself, to land more deeply into one's own power and authentic presence.
Unravel the relics of culture that do not serve you. Reconnect with the wisdom of your body. Clear through the traumas of aggression you may have experienced. Find new sources of support for your resilience and new creative pathways to encourage your growth.
Root down to rise up.
Voice, embodiment, reclaiming sensuality and sexuality, aging and rites of passage, leadership, boundary setting, a felt sense of agency, and focused action in the world - these are some of the specialized areas for growth and development which women and young women may wish to focus upon in therapy.