Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls
ISBN10: 0399139443 ISBN13: 9780399139444 Publisher: Putnam Pub Group Published: Apr 1 1994 Pages: 304 Weight: 1.30lbs. Height: 9.25" Width: 6.25" Depth: 1.25" Language: English
Everybody who has survived adolescence knows what a scary, tumultuous, exciting time it is. But if we use memories of our experiences to guide our understanding of what today's girls are living through, we make a serious mistake. Our daughters are living in a new world.
Reviving Ophelia is a call to arms from Dr. Mary Pipher, a psychologist who has worked with teenagers for more than a decade. She finds that in spite of the women's movement, which has empowered adult women in some ways, teenage girls today are having a harder time than ever before because of higher levels of violence and sexism.
The current crises of adolescence - frequent suicide attempts, dropping out of school and running away from home, teenage pregnancies in unprecedented numbers, and an epidemic of eating disorders - are caused not so much by "dysfunctional families" or incorrect messages from parents as by our media-saturated, lookist, girl-destroying culture. Young teenagers are not developmentally equipped to meet the challenges that confront them.
Adolescence in America has traditionally involved breaking away from parents, experimenting with the trappings of adult life, and searching for autonomy and independence. Today's teenagers face serious pressures at an earlier age than that at which teenagers in the past did. The innocent act of attending an unsupervised party can lead to acquaintance rape. Having a boyfriend means dealing with sexual pressures, and often leads to pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted diseases. It's no wonder that girls' math scores plummet and depression levels rise when they reach junior high. As they encounter situations that are simply too complex for them to handle, their self-esteem crumbles.
The dangers young women face today can jeopardize their futures. It is critical that we understand the circumstances and take measures to correct them. We need to make that precious age of experimentation safe for adolescent girls. Reading Reviving Ophelia is the first step to doing so. Dr. Pipher offers not only a fresh and startling view of the problems but a clear and sane way to implement solutions.