behind her tall Caramel Macchiato in the prefab hipness of
the Stuyvesant Plaza Starbucks, Liz Funk looks like she might
be bubbling over about the newest Jonas Brothers single or
what drama unfolded on MTV last night. But this pretty blonde
journalist-author is animatedly quoting Arrested Development
and going on about her favorite “dude” comedies like Beerfest
and Pineapple Express.
always struggled with the pressure to be perfect, and this
feeling that there was only one way to be a girl,” she says.
“That it wasn’t cool to be rebellious or have divergent opinions
or anything. The goal in high school and college was to be
pretty, to be sweet, to be desirable, but also to be successful
and accomplished, and to make everything look easy.”
I was really angry about that, so when I decided that I wanted
to write a book, it just seemed like a natural topic to write
about,” she says. The 20-year-old Voorheesville native released
her first book, Supergirls Speak Out: Inside the Secret
Crisis of Overachieving Girls, on Feb. 12. In it, she
explores the archetype of today’s “perfect” young woman: The
girl who’s always immaculately groomed, beautiful, popular,
intelligent, always involved with sports or clubs, and never
tired or bitter. But, according to Funk, these girls are hiding
from, or making up for, feelings of inadequacy. And these
stress fractures are only signs of deeper problems.
think a lot of this overachieving that we see in Generation
Y is really a cry for attention,” Funk says. “I don’t think
that they’re always overworking themselves for some sense
of fulfillment, I think they’re doing it ’cause they’re desperately
looking for some validation and for some respect.” However,
many times, their overachieving leads to eating disorders,
mental breakdowns, exhaustion, self-mutilation or depression.
Funk had a special perspective, as a researcher and as a “supergirl”
herself. “I would say [I’m] a recovering supergirl, because
I don’t think I’m ever going to not have supergirl tendencies.
I can’t picture myself shaving my head and moving to San Francisco
and throwing out my Blackberry. But I’d like to think that
I go easier on myself than I used to.”
As Funk discusses in her book, she struggled with the negative
consequences of her constant hard work. She may have organized
protests, formed a feminist group, taken on the job of class
treasurer, and freelanced articles before she graduated high
school, but she also started starving herself and running
up to six miles a day by the time she was in ninth grade.
She said that, ironically, it is the smartest and most sensible
girls—who know how unhealthy and unrealistic it is to get
supermodel skinny—that develop these eating disorders.
a little bit of a catch there, in that they know they shouldn’t
try to be this perfect but they do it anyway. So many young
women go so hard on themselves even though they intellectually
know that they (a) don’t have to be perfect, but (b) they’re
pretty darn close.”
Funk’s book focuses on five young women and their stories
of relentless effort. Each girl has a breakneck schedule and
a set of lofty achievements and goals, but very little time
to appreciate their success.
Funk also talked to 10 psychology or sociology experts, along
with about 100 young women, “and a lot of them were sociology
students and Ph.D. students, so they brought another interesting
level. They knew there were such constructs of gender in society
and they knew in their academic research how many pressures
there are on women, and yet they still embodied these pressures
in their everyday lives,” she says.
lot of girls feel like, on their own, they wouldn’t be thought
of and noticed,” she says. “It goes back to that issue of
intrinsic worth. Like, a lot of girls feel like when they’re
in neutral, they don’t matter.”
While Funk said the media and peer groups are the main factors
in the supergirl complex, surprisingly, parental influence
was often a source of strength for supergirls. She also said
there is a way out.
think girls need to take themselves out to lunch. No Blackberry,
no magazine, no flirting with the waiter, and just sit down
and listen to their thoughts. They need to treat themselves
and spend time with themselves. . . . Once they get to the
point where they enjoy listening to their thoughts, they start
to like themselves a little more,” Funk says.
how I did it. I spent the entire summer sitting with a big
salad and a cocktail just listening to my internal monologue.
It took a long time to try to find myself—and I’m still a
work in progress—but it’s totally worth it.”
Funk will host a book signing tomorrow (Friday, March 6) at
7 PM at the Colonie Center Barnes & Noble.
you can can? eba dancers get ready for their benefit cabaret.
MANIA Tickets to Zach Snyder’s Watchmen, the
big new superhero movie based on the much-loved 1986 graphic
novel, have been selling like crazy online. For example, tonight’s
(Thursday) midnight screening in IMAX at Regal Crossgates
Stadium 18 is already sold out. At the Spectrum 8 Theatres,
they’re getting into the swing of things, too, with a midnight
show tonight that is not (as of press time) quite sold
out yet—though we heard one guy bought 75 tickets for it—and
a costume contest. Here’s how it works: Send the Spectrum
a picture of yourself in a Watchmen costume; they will pick
the one they like best, and the winner gets a pair of movie
tickets, a reissue of the comic Watchmen No. 1, soda
and popcorn. If you feel more adventurous, wear a costume
to the Spectrum—you’ll get a free small soda and popcorn.
Also, if you mention Facebook at the box office, you will
receive a free mini-poster (as long as supplies last). For
more info about all this, visit the Spectrum’s Facebook
CONGRATULATIONS The Albany County Convention and Visitors
Bureau just awarded its 2008 Hospitality Excellence
Award to Albany’s 1st Friday. Representing the
popular monthly event, founder and coordinator Michael
Weidrich said, “We are honored and gratified that the
ACCVB would recognize an event like 1st Friday and the importance
of arts in the community.” This is where I segue into reminding
you that tomorrow (Friday, March 6) is another 1st Friday
event, from 5 to 9 PM. Check out new exhibits at the Opalka
Gallery, Upstate Artists Guild, Amrose Sable
Gallery, the Wine Bar and many more venues. For
complete info, visit 1stfridayalbany.org.
OOO LA LA Saturday night (March 7), Maude Baum and Company
Dance Theatre are holding their annual fundraising cabaret
at the eba Theatre (351 Hudson Ave., Albany). The fun
begins at 7 PM with a wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres and a silent
auction; the saucy cabaret show begins at 8 PM. There are
three levels of tickets: “big spenders,” $100; “jazzy,” $50;
and “sassy,” $36. As Greta Garbo once said (as Eugene O’Neill’s
Anna Christie), “Don’t be stingy, babee.” For more info, visit
eba-arts.org or call 465-9916.
A GOOD CAUSE On March 21, which happens to be a Saturday,
there will be a silent art auction of works by 50-plus local
artists and community members from 2 to 5 PM at the Charles
B. Ben enson Visitors Center & Gallery at the Omi
International Arts Center (1405 County Route 22, Ghent).
What is the cause to be benefited by this event? The Chatham
Skate Park. I endorse this wholeheartedly; anything that
gets skateboarders off the streets and out of sight is all
right by me. For more info, visitchatham skatepark.org.
A GREAT CAUSE Poet Dominick Rizzo is donating most
of the royalties from his new collection, The Spiral
Staircase of My Life: A Selection of Poetry Defining My Thirty
Years, to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Rizzo has been giving readings around the area recently (including,
earlier this week, at Valentine’s); the book is available
for purchase at Borders Books and Music at Crossgates Mall,
and online at Authorhouse.com.