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Raising Their Voices: The Politics of Girls Anger

Lyn Mikel Brown

12 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0674838718 / ISBN 13: 9780674838710
Published by Harvard University Press, 1998
Used Condition: Good
From Better World Books: West (Reno, NV, U.S.A.)

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Ships from Reno, NV. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP90274757

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Title: Raising Their Voices: The Politics of Girls ...

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Publication Date: 1998

Book Condition:Good

About this title


Two fourteen-year-old girls, fed up with the "Hooters" shirts worn by their male classmates, design their own rooster logo: "Cocks: Nothing to crow about." Seventeen-year-old April Schuldt, unmarried, pregnant, and cheated out of her election as homecoming queen by squeamish school administrators, disrupts a pep rally with a protest that engages the whole school.

Where are spirited girls like these in the popular accounts of teenage girlhood, that supposed wasteland of depression, low self-esteem, and passive victimhood? This book, filled with the voices of teenage girls, corrects the misperceptions that have crept into our picture of female adolescence. Based on the author's yearlong conversation with white junior-high and middle-school girls--from the working poor and the middle class--Raising Their Voices allows us to hear how girls adopt some expectations about gender but strenuously resist others, how they use traditionally feminine means to maintain their independence, and how they recognize and resist pressures to ignore their own needs and wishes.

With a psychologist's sensitivity and an anthropologist's attention to cultural variations, Lyn Brown makes provocative observations about individual differences in the girls' experiences and attitudes, and shows how their voices are shaped and constrained by class--with working-class girls more willing to be openly angry than their middle-class peers, and yet more likely to denigrate themselves and attribute their failures to personal weakness.

A compelling and timely corrective to conventional wisdom, this book attunes our hearing to the true voices of teenage girls: determined, confused, amusing, touching, feisty, and clear.


Girls in our culture learn early to be self-effacing and pleasant, greeting the arrival of adolescence with an accommodating smile. Right? Perhaps not. In Raising Their Voices, author Lyn Mikel Brown, with Carol Gilligan (of the groundbreaking book on girls' psychology Meeting at the Crossroads), confronts the image of "passivity, depression, negative body-image and eating disorders, low self-esteem, and indirect expressions of feelings" perpetuated by recent psychological and sociological research on teen girls. In a year of meeting with groups of girls in two Maine communities--one primarily working-class, one middle- and upper-middle-class--Brown engages the young women in discussions about their relationships, their feelings, and the expectations they have begun to sense around being female.

The book, liberally seasoned with the girls' rowdy, clever, conflicted talk, reveals a vast difference between the role-stereotype pressure on working-class girls and their middle- class counterparts, and offers the news that all girls do not simply acquiesce to the constrictions of American culture, nor, if given the right support, do they need to. Brown exhorts adults, particularly women, to allow girls their voices, and to suggest to them, as she does, "the possibility, even under the most oppressive of conditions, for creative refusal and resistance." This book offers valuable insight and tools for the parents, teachers, and mentors of young women. --Maria Dolan

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