Young Women, Self Esteem, and the Confidence Gap
By Peggy Orenstein
(Anchor Books, Paperback, 9780385425766, 368pp.)
Publication Date: September 1995
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A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
The classic account of the hurdles facing adolescent girls in America--now reissued with a new Foreword, to coincide with the award-winning author's new book on women and identity.
Inspired by a study by the American Association of University Women that showed girls' self-esteem plummeting as they reach adolescence, Peggy Orenstein spent months observing, interviewing, and getting know dozens of girls both inside and outside the classroom at two very different schools in northern California. The result was a groundbreaking book in which she brought the disturbing statistics to life with skill and flair of an experienced journalist.
Orenstein plumbs the minds of both boys and girls who have learned to equate masculinity with opportunity and assertiveness, and femininity with reserve and restraint. She demonstrates the cost of this insidious lesson, by taking us into the lives of real young women who are struggling with eating disorders, sexual harassment, and declining academic achievement, especially in math and science. Peggy Orenstein's SchoolGirls is a classic that belongs on the shelf with the work of Carol Gilligan, Joan Jacobs Brumberg, and Mary Pipher. It continues to be read by all who care about how our schools and our society teach girls to shortchange themselves.