Community Conversations launches new series on girls and identity

Community Conversations kick starts its 2017-18 season with a new series titled Girls, Identity, Tweens and Teens.

“The series is designed to engage the local community on topics of tween and teen girls’ identity, including race and ethnicity, stereotypes, labels, media influences and much more, and I’m delighted with the breadth, depth and varied locations of the events,” said Narda Razack, associate dean, Global & Community Engagement in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, where the series originates. “We’re striving to make the institution an integral part of our community, and these events are just one example of that commitment.”

Natalie Coulter

The launch of the first conversation in the series titled “What does it mean to be a Tween Girl?” took place at the Regent Park Aquatic Center on Oct. 26.   The host and moderator, Communication Studies Professor Natalie Coulter, addressed what it means to be a tween girl in today’s media culture; the messages companies and clothing stores promote to tween girls about identity, societal expectations and friendships; who these companies are attempting to represent and to whom they are trying to appeal; and how tween girls respond to and engage with these messages and influences.

Part two of the series continues with the topic “Black girls and identity,” with hosts Karlene Davis, MEd, who serves as the GCE Experiential Education Program Coordinator, and Education PhD student Rowena Linton on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 6pm at the York Woods Public Library. The conversation on race and gender will focus on what it means to be a black and a girl in Canada, highlighting factors that influence identity, role models and self-esteem. The hosts and community members will discuss some of the stereotypes and share strategies to promote positive self image and identity.

The series wraps up on Thursday, Nov. 23 at 7pm at York U – TD Community Engagement Centre with Professor Coulter and York PhD student Kisha McPherson. This conversation will screen the documentary titled Radical Brownies, a social justice-oriented version of the Girl Scouts, designed to “empower young girls of color to step into their collective power, brilliance and leadership to make the world a more radical place.” A discussion on tween and teen girls’ responsibilities, engagement and involvement in social justice will follow.

The conversations are free and open to the public. Conversations typically run for two hours and do not require participants to prepare in advance. If members of the public are interested in attending a Community Conversation, all they need to do is show up and participate by sharing their experiences, thoughts and ideas.

The Girls, Identity, Tweens and Teens series was developed by the Office of Global & Community Engagement (GCE), which is run from the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. GCE funds Community Conversations, connecting the Faculty and York University with a variety of community groups and members within the Greater Toronto Area.

For more information on GCE, contact Rowena Linton at

For more information on Community Conversations, visit