Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls (Ballantine Reader's Circle)

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9780345392824: Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
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Why are more American adolescent girls prey to depression, eating disorders, addictions, and suicide attempts than ever before? According to Dr. Mary Pipher, a clinical psychologist who has treated girls for more than twenty years, we live in a look-obsessed, media-saturated, "girl-poisoning" culture. Despite the advances of feminism, escalating levels of sexism and violence--from undervalued intelligence to sexual harassment in elementary school--cause girls to stifle their creative spirit and natural impulses, which, ultimately, destroys their self-esteem. Yet girls often blame themselves or their families for this "problem with no name" instead of looking at the world around them.

Here, for the first time, are girls' unmuted voices from the front lines of adolescence, personal and painfully honest. By laying bare their harsh day-to-day reality, Reviving Ophelia issues a call to arms and offers parents compassion, strength, and strategies with which to revive these Ophelias' lost sense of self.

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At adolescence, says Mary Pipher, "girls become 'female impersonators' who fit their whole selves into small, crowded spaces." Many lose spark, interest, and even IQ points as a "girl-poisoning" society forces a choice between being shunned for staying true to oneself and struggling to stay within a narrow definition of female. Pipher's alarming tales of a generation swamped by pain may be partly informed by her role as a therapist who sees troubled children and teens, but her sketch of a tougher, more menacing world for girls often hits the mark. She offers some prescriptions for changing society and helping girls resist.

From the Back Cover:

“An important book . . . Pipher shines high-beam headlights on the world of teenage girls.”
Los Angeles Times

“A vibrant and insightful account . . . The loss of the spirit which Dr. Pipher so brilliantly portrays is the loss of the American spirit.”
–DR. NATALIE PORTER
Former president, Division of the Psychology of Women,
American Psychological Association

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