“It’s a group of girls who go into business together by babysitting the kids of their town,”
said my friend, who was really sophisticated, reading CHAPTER BOOKS all by herself. At the time, I felt like she was reading Moby Dick. “It’s called The Babysitters Club and there’s a like, a million books.”
I was eight years old, I lived in St. Louis. I was bored and desperately wanted a dog. That’s all I remember about being in third grade. The dog part couldn’t be helped, I would never get a dog and my mother made it clear. But the boredom part was remedied by a friend who gave me the heads up on the series of books that I should be reading.
So that began the love affair with reading franchised literature. The off shoot of this would be The Goosebumps series, Encyclopedia Brown, and The Boxcar Children (were those children orphan hobos riding the rails? Problematic). But for now, we’ll just discuss how important the girls of The Babysitters Club were.
When I was younger and had no freedoms aside from going to school, these savvy girls were a lifesaver. They got meet up once a week and take calls from parents who needed babysitters. They scheduled sittings, made money, had real middle school issues and were best friends forever. I didn’t realize it at the time, but they were real feminists before I knew what feminism was.
The president of the club, Kristy, was the kind of girl that I wanted to know. She had great ideas that she didn’t just keep in her head. She put pen to paper and became a business woman. At that age, I didn’t want to be a business woman nor did I really want to babysit but I did want to be apart of a large female group that sat around talking about important things.
My group of girlfriends would have raised money for girls in Uganda for their drinking wells and maxi pads. We would have volunteered at animal shelters and adopted two dog each. We probably would have written plays together and preformed them at our own play house that we built with our bare hands. You know, girl stuff.
I’m still a big kid when it comes to The Babysitters Club. I just watched the movie this morning! I have hope that girls are still doing things like that: Getting together and doing great productive things. As an adult woman, I still hope to do that kind of thing for myself.
My friend Melissa and I relived that kind of youthful pow-wow, yesterday over coffee. We decided that the adult version of Kristy from The Babysitters Club was Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation. If you haven’t watched that show, then you need to get on it. Saturday Night Live alumna Amy Poehler, is so full of comical haphazard positive energy for changing the world. We admire and aspire to be a couple of Leslie Knopes ourselves.
Melissa turned me on to Amy Poehler’s awesome website Smart Girls at the Party and get this, their motto is “Change the world by being yourself!” Can you believe that?? Anyway, if girls have this in their arsenal, then they might be prepared to take on this postmodern world without losing themselves in the process.
I can’t possibly go backwards in my development. I’m past the part where I read a BSC book a week. But I do want to return and hold on to the youthful idealist mind that I had when I was a kid. Back when I thought girls could do anything and in turn, women could do anything. I want to teach my future daughters that they too can have a meaningful effect on the world if they (and a group of free-thinking, diverse young ladies) put their minds to it.