6 times I needed GEN growing up, why I am now a GENthusiast, and why you would love it too

Contributed by: Courtney Grams, GENthusiast Society Communications Co-Chair


1.) That time (8 years) when I was in volleyball and felt very self-conscious about my weight as I traipsed around in the required super tight shorts/jersey combos. Varsity volleyball also came with the added bonus of my coach congratulating me on making the team, coupled with the suggestion that I start watching what I eat.


GENthusiast Society Offers: Events centered around education on media literacy (focusing on body image) and self compassion, giving members an opportunity to process feelings and also receive ideas for how to rewire their thinking in positive ways.


2.) That time (9 years) when my first romantic relationship was unhealthy. Highlights include: regular break-ups, emotional manipulation, and a culture between us of volatile jealousy. Not to mention the constant hesitation and self-doubt present in any relationship that follows.


GENthusiast Society Offers: Opportunities to talk about how to navigate relationships in a healthy way, whether they are romantic, platonic, or in the workplace. (Coming soon: Panel of relationship experts at one of our regular Society Salons – stay tuned for more details!)


3.) That time (in senior year) when my counselor asked me what I wanted to do with my life and I didn’t have an answer. Plus the subsequent college years where I sought a degree without any real intended career path post-graduation, because I didn’t know my strengths or how to apply them to jobs in the real world.


GENthusiast Society Offers: Career Day! On May 24th speakers from all different industries will talk about how they got to where they are today. There will also be time for one-on-one advice from each of the speakers. Register and come with your questions about how to ask for raise, deal with your annoying coworker, or get out of a professional rut.


4.) That time (LOL – this actually happens all the time) when I started geeking about feminism, sociological issues, and vomiting up all sorts of research information while my friends looked confused, bewildered, and just sort of shrugged. (Or you know, that abusive boyfriend previously mentioned who would just tell me to stop being so concerned and politically correct.)


GENthusiast Society Offers: Article clubs where members can meet up and discuss academic literature that concerns the current state of girlhood and gender justice. These are great times to hear differing perspectives, get insight into experiences that you might not have in your history (or share your own!), and learn from an intelligent and mindful group. PLUS – the gift of being involved directly with programming/fundraising that impacts girls all over Austin to work for change with Girls Empowerment Network volunteering.


5.) That time (during high school) when I had really catty friends and we didn’t create deep or lasting bonds. My friend groups in particular spent lots of time casually making fun of each other in hurtful ways – and I learned to play into it too, because “that’s the way it is.” It wasn’t girl empowerment, it was us spending time knocking each other down while laughing.


GENthusiast Society Offers: The most wonderful network of supportive folks who celebrate your successes, remind you of your unique characteristics, and take time to guide you through your struggles. I’ve learned how to deeply accept compliments and how to be boldly proud of my accomplishments.


6.) That time (over my whole educational career) where I discounted my intelligence and skills, where I shied away from showing off my abilities because I didn’t believe in them, and where I hesitated to share my opinions out loud. I was always hanging out with the smart kids, and I always decided that they were better than me in some way, rather than looking at our different levels of talent as beneficial.


GENthusiast Society Offers: A place for you to be yourself, to excel (not compete), and to lead. As a part of the communications team within our leadership committee, I have been given such wonderful opportunities to work on my public speaking, grow my skills in marketing/communication strategy, and challenge my capacity to lead. I value each of the other people who I get the pleasure of leading with, and I feel valued in return.


 The GENthusiast Society is a giving circle and shared-interest group for supporters of Girls Empowerment Network. The group offers another way for GEN supporters to connect with one another and build community and makes active engagement with GEN more accessible. Learn more about how to become a member online.

Felicia Gonzalez