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Reviving Ophelia
- Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

Mary Pipher, Ph.D.
Adolescent girls in today's society are facing challenges that other generations have not had to deal with, at least not on such a big scale. Problems like depression, eating disorders, addictions, suicide attempts, sexual harassment, and low-self esteem are fast becoming the norm instead of the exception. While it is easy to blame parents for all the woes and problems children encounter, I appreciate the fact that Pipher recognizes that society is to blame for most of the modern day Ophelias. (The title comes from a Shakespearean play in which Ophelia loses her identity when she lives out her life trying to be what others want her to be with disastrous results.)

Most parents are trying to help their children grow into mature successful human beings. They encourage their daughters to be more than the niche that society molds for them. Unfortunately, in adolescence, peers and society wield more influence than the parents who love them. Pipher recognizes the influence society has had and continues to have on our children.

Pipher blames the schools for not being aware enough to see the problem and help our girls. She states that magazines and media are exacerbating the problem instead of curing it. In fact, they are at the root of the cause of the problem. TV, movies and magazines glamourize thinness and sexuality and even encourage the use of drugs. The result of the "escalating levels of sexism and violence - from undervaluing intelligence to sexual harassment in elementary school - cause girls to stifle creative spirit and natural impulses, which, utimately, destroys their self esteem."

The book is filled with case studies which cause one to reflect on how poor society is in protecting our girls. And just when it seems that Pipher is only relating the bad news without ideas on how to mend our ways, she adds suggestions in her last chapter. These are hard-hitting, no nonsense ways to encourage parents and to make society recognize and take responsiblity for neglecting to care for our adolescent girls.

Filled with eye-opening stories designed to wake America up lest we pigeon-hole our girls and rob ourselves of their creative possiblities. We no longer want it to be said as Stendahl puts it, "All geniuses born women are lost to the public good."

Connie Eccles,
Editor and CEO of ComPortOne
[Wife, & Mother of 1 Son & 3 Daughters]

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