Defining Power


Talking about power doesn’t come easily or naturally for most girls and women. Yet, whether a girl talks to you about it or not, she is digesting ideas about the power she possesses - or lacks - every day. This activity provides a way to have a thoughtful conversation about what she’s digesting, be it the traditional, media-driven notions of power, more next-generation, progressive ideas about power, or both. 

Conversation Tips:

Please note, almost any discussions of power can be emotionally heavy for you, the adult. But strong opinions or “telling” a girl what to think defeats the purpose here. Let a girl go first in sharing opinions and use a 3:1 rule. For every 3 things she says, you say one.  


• Develop a deeper understanding of how mainstream culture defines power

• Develop a fresh perspective for how to define power in life as a girl

Do This Together:

1. Together, decide on a definition of power.

2. Fold a piece of paper into thirds.  On the tops of the page write the words “power-over”,“power-under”, and “powerful”.

3. Flip through magazines to pull images that represent these words.

4. After you’ve both finished your collages, ask some open ended questions:

- What did you notice about their collage?

- Are there any themes?

- Who did they mark as powerful and why?

- Do certain groups of people have more power in our society/or community?  (i.e. men, white folks, rich people, police officers, etc). If so, why do they think that is?

4. Now read these ideas of power - Power Circle, Power Source, Power House, Power Surge and Power Play. Ask her these closing questions:

- How do these definitions of power support or defy more traditional ones? 

- What do you think is powerful about yourself?