Groups of senior gils discuss women empowerment book

Maddie Jewett, Features Editor

A group of five or six senior girls walks into the school psychologist’s office.
Cat fight, right?
The girls are attending a group formed by BV’s school psychologist Julie Seitter. The groups read parts of the book “Succulent Wild Woman” by Sark, and then discuss it.
They meet once a week for six weeks in Seitter’s office.
Seitter said the book talks about the author’s journey as a woman.
“The book explores how we, as females, can live fully,” Seitter said. “And more than that, it teaches us to accept ourselves for who we are, despite our flaws.”
Seitter said the groups discuss everything from healthy relationships to the many messages that society forces upon women.
“We explore why we break others down rather than build them up,” she said. “One question we try to ask ourselves is, ‘How can we help out our sisters?’”
Senior Addie Dolan said her group began by answering a list of questions from Seitter.
“After we answered her list of questions, we went into depth about how we can apply the things we read to our everyday lives,” she said.
Eleven years ago, Seitter began the senior book-reading groups at BV Northwest and carried on the tradition when she came to BV.
She got the idea for the groups when she received the book from a friend.
“She also gave it to one of my other friends, and we are all psychologists,” she said. “We all loved to talk about all sorts of issues regarding women, and we went out and discussed different parts of the book. From there I thought, ‘What a wonderful discussion topic.’”
Seitter said the groups are aimed at senior girls due to their level of maturity.
“I do this only with senior girls because it develops a stronger sense of who they are,” she said. “This is something they can take off to college with them.”
Dolan said she enjoyed hearing the girls’ opinions.
“At one of the meetings, we had to write down traits that we want in our future soul mate,” she said. “I thought that was cool to see what other people wanted in a soul mate and then to ask myself what I wanted.”
Originally, Seitter asked for recommendations from the counselors of six girls that would be interested in reading the book. Then, the girls in the group chose the next six girls that would attend the meetings after them and so on.
The groups fill out evaluations on the last day, and Seitter said, so far, she has had very positive feedback. She said the reading and discussion of the book can build the girls’ self-esteems.
“I think it’s important,” she said. “There are a lot of things in this book that need to be discussed and need to get out there.”
Dolan said though the book is not something she would typically chose to read herself, she enjoyed it.
“It was good to change it up a bit,” she said. “It was inspiring — to not be afraid to be who you are. I think it has a really good message.”
Seitter said she had learned new things along with the girls.
“I learn something new with every group I do,” she said. “Somebody comes up with some idea or some perception that is new to me. And I love connecting with other women.”