Feeling a little Ophelia ?
Its been said that girls feel more pressure than ever to be perfect these days. And with all the multi-tasking, texting relationships and other social networks, it really is taking a toll on the teenage girl. Here are two of my favorite books to help survive these days.
Odd Girl Out: There is little sugar but lots of spice in journalist Rachel Simmons's brave and brilliant book that skewers the stereotype of girls as the kinder, gentler gender. Odd Girl Out begins with the premise that girls are socialized to be sweet with a double bind: they must value friendships; but they must not express the anger that might destroy them. Lacking cultural permission to acknowledge conflict, girls develop what Simmons calls "a hidden culture of silent and indirect aggression."
The author, who visited 30 schools and talked to 300 girls, catalogues chilling and heartbreaking acts of aggression, including the silent treatment, note-passing, glaring, gossiping, ganging up, fashion police, and being nice in private/mean in public. She decodes the vocabulary of these sneak attacks, explaining, for example, three ways to parse the meaning of "I'm fat."
Simmons is a gifted writer who is skilled at describing destructive patterns and prescribing clear-cut strategies for parents, teachers, and girls to resist them. "The heart of resistance is truth telling," advises Simmons. She guides readers to nurture emotional honesty in girls and to discover a language for public discussions of bullying. She offers innovative ideas for changing the dynamics of the classroom, sample dialogues for talking to daughters, and exercises for girls and their friends to explore and resolve messy feelings and conflicts head-on.
One intriguing chapter contrasts truth telling in white middle class, African-American, Latino, and working-class communities. Odd Girl Out is that rare book with the power to touch individual lives and transform the culture that constrains girls--and boys--from speaking the truth. --Barbara Mackoff
Now, Wiseman has revised and updated her groundbreaking book for a new generation of girls and explores:
•How girls’ experiences before adolescence impact their teen years, future relationships, and overall success
•The different roles girls play in and outside of cliques as Queen Bees, Targets, and Bystanders, and how this defines how they and others are treated
•Girls’ power plays–from fake apologies to fights over IM and text messages
•Where boys fit into the equation of girl conflicts and how you can help your daughter better hold her own with the opposite sex
•Checking your baggage–recognizing how your experiences impact the way you parent, and how to be sanely involved in your daughter’s difficult, yet common social conflicts
Packed with insights about technology’s impact on Girl World and enlivened with the experiences of girls, boys, and parents, the book that inspired the hit movie Mean Girls offers concrete strategies to help you empower your daughter to be socially competent and treat herself with dignity.