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Liz Funk

Author, Supergirls Speak Out
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Biography

Liz Funk is the author of Supergirls Speak Out (Simon and Schuster, 2009), a non-fiction look at how the modern “ideal girl” in high school and college doesn’t pretend to be ditzy or bad at math—she’s a high-achieving, well-spoken, charming young woman who earns excellent grades, plays sports, and takes on leadership roles. While it’s great that it’s finally socially advantageous for girls to be strong and smart, many young women feel there is pressure to make it look as though they are effortlessly perfect and that they excel at everything they attempt. In Supergirls Speak Out Funk argues that young women need to develop a sense of intrinsic worth—that young women need to feel they have value outside of what they look like, what they’ve accomplished, and how others perceive them. From there, young women can have a positive relationship with their ambition and with themselves.

Funk has written for USA Today, Newsday, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, AOL.com, The Albany Times Union, and CosmoGIRL!. She has spoken at Cornell University, Brown University, Duke University, Boston College, Boston University, Emerson College, NYU, the University of Virginia, the University of Iowa, Miami University of Ohio, Texas Christian University, Indiana University, and Northern Arizona University, among dozens of other colleges.

She lives in New York City, where she works on marketing and business development strategy with startups.

Topics

Supergirls: Today’s Overscheduled, Overcommitted College Woman

Many college women have a "work hard, play hard" mentality—they study constantly and are committed to maintaining their goal grade point average, they take on leadership roles in student organizations and may even have a little bit of “FOMO” (“fear of missing out”), whether that means never turning down an opportunity or invitation to an event, or making an appearance at more than one party on Saturday. Being active, social, and intellectually-curious are all important, but these activities aren’t necessarily relaxing; in fact, many young women report feeling pulled in all directions, even when it comes to their leisure time.

We don’t expect our laptops or iPods to work if they’re not charged, so why do we expect that of our bodies? Young women should try to take an hour (or an afternoon!) every weekend to do something fun or relaxing. But many college women say that taking a few hours for themselves is impossible. This brings up some curious issues:

  • Does having email and internet on cell phones make college women feel like they’re always on call? When was the last time most college women turned their phones off?
  • Why do some students tweet in the middle of the night that they’re still studying in the library or broadcast on Facebook how few hours of sleep they got last night? Doesn’t that make all other students feel lazy if they’re not still studying too?
  • Why do college women who organize fundraisers, win awards, play competitive sports, and earn great grades say they’re “not very good at relaxing” and don’t want to try to get better at it?
  • Could it be that the smartest, most successful women on campus feel that they don’t deserve downtime?

Liz Funk, author of Supergirls Speak Out, helps college women become comfortable saying “no” to new opportunities when they’re already overscheduled, to try to “go offline” when they need some mental and physical rest, to manage their time more effectively (and with more affection for themselves), and to avoid comparing their productivity to that of others. Funk also addresses what college women can do when they try to relax and it feels physically or mentally uncomfortable after having been in constant motion for so many years.

If college women adopt some stress-reducing habits and make “me time” a practice, they’re more likely to build lives as healthy, happy, balanced women leaders. After all, any woman who has ever achieved greatness probably didn’t do so when she was running on fumes.

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