MPH sponsors free showing of ‘Finding Kind’ documentary Thursday

— Manlius Pebble Hill School is sponsoring a free public showing of “Finding Kind,” a documentary that focuses on the mean behavior of girls and the devastating and lasting impact of girl-to-girl aggression. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19, at the Palace Theater in Eastwood.

“Finding Kind,” being screened in schools and communities throughout the U.S., is the work of filmmakers Lauren Parsekian and Molly Stroud, who crossed the country to talk with women and girls about their experiences growing up as girls. In addition to their personal stories, the film includes interviews with experts and authors in the fields of psychology, education, and the interrelationships of women and girls.

“Finding Kind” is a production of the Kind Campaign, a nonprofit organization devoted to bringing awareness to the effects of girl-to-girl aggression and to encouraging a dialogue about the issue. That dialogue is especially needed now, says James Eagen, head of the middle school at MPH, because “mean behavior, though not new, has certainly become normalized.”

“The negative behavior of girls that once was exceptional or startling, has become normal behavior. It is kindness that is now unusual,” Eagen said. “You see it in television shows, commercials, movies. It’s in music and books. The popular image of adolescent girls is of mean girls.”

Eagen says mean and aggressive behavior, particularly prevalent among girls in the middle school years, is seeping into younger and younger age groups.

“The popular culture encourages mean girl behavior. There are even ‘mean dolls’ designed for six, seven, and eight year old girls,” he said, adding: “The emotional, physical, and verbal abuse that too often typifies female relationships is a problem in schools and hometowns everywhere.”

He urges Syracuse area parents of young girls, teachers, coaches, and others who work with girls to attend the free screening of “Finding Kind,” and bring their daughters to see the thought-provoking film.

MPH is also organizing a post-movie discussion by a panel of local experts that will be open to all those who attend the screening.

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