PDF/EPUB Peggy Orenstein ☆ Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self Esteem, and the Confidence ☆

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEARThe 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 identityInspired 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 euate 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


10 thoughts on “Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self Esteem, and the Confidence Gap

  1. says:

    As an educator mother or future mother OR someone that works with young girls this book is a must read I cried through most of the book remembering the hardships of adolescence popularity boys harassment being female This book is an interesting microscope into a few girls lives I was so moved by this book I emailed the author inuiring about the girls in the story and what became of them This was her replyDear JenniferThank you so much for your note It makes my day to hear from readersYou know the journalist subject relationship is a peculiar one It's very intense when it's going on but it doesn't usually translate to a longer term relatinship largely because I say so little I'm like a cipher because I don't want my subjects to know too much about me it might color how they relate to me It's a bit like being a shrink So I don't tend to stay in touch with my subjects much I've kept in touch with Becca over the years She's doing okay Just broke up with a boyfriend is a personal trainer lives in Northern california not uite suer what she wants to do next I know that Evie and Lindsay went to junior college but dont know what they did after that maybe transferred to 4 year universities Another girl oh gosh I'm forgetting what I named her in the book but she's in the first chapter saying eww about spiders got married shortly out of high school and has 3 kids is a stay at home mom for the moment Another girl with a lesser role in the book graduated UC Davis and works at a Fortune 500 company now She was into Goth for awhile and then GaelicThe girls from Audobon all went to different high schools and their lives are so chaotic that they don't tend ot keep the same phone numbers or addresses for very long I tried to keep track of Marta but she just disappeared Maybe her family was here illegally I don't know But when they disconnected their phone I went to their apartment and they were gone and of cousre no one would tell me where even if they knew I know Dashelle graduated high school but lost her after that Once I turned on the TV news and there was April as big as life there had been a race riot at her high school and of course she was hte one the TV newspeople were interviewing THat made me laugh She was in 11th grade then so that was the last I heard And I know nothing about LaRhonda I wish I could tell you What I can tell you is that there are girls like them in every middle school and every high school in urban America and they need someone who will see them really SEE them It's a very hard job teaching in schools like Audobon There are a lot of kids who slip through cracksThanks again for writing You might be interested in my other two books I'm especially fond of my most recent one a memoir called Waiting for Daisy Might not be a natural subject for you but I hope you'll take a look anywayBest wishes and good luck with all you do Peggy


  2. says:

    I gave this book four stars because it does exactly what its description says it does describe the hardships that girls in their adolescence faceAnd now for the 1000000 uestionWhere is the euivalent book call it Schoolboys that describes the hurdles that adolescent boys face???People especially feminists like to assume that all is hunky dory with boys and that we don't need to help them even the media likes to assume this just ask Time magazine I don't think this is the case because if it were then we wouldn't see a few teenage boys walking into schools with ammunition and opening fire It is evident that our public schools I don't know about private schools parochial ones etc are failing to meet the needs of boys in part in my opinion because it isn't politically correct to do soAn anecdote comes to mind While I was student teaching my cooperating teacher was teaching a lesson on ratios of boys to girls in the class this was a ninth grade class She asked the class how many girls there were and recorded the number on the chalkboard Then she asked the class how many boys there were and then said way too manyIs it any wonder then why we see boys dropping out of school way often than girls do even though the total number of male dropouts have decreased over the years I'll give you that but that still doesn't take away from the problem attending college less doing much worse in reading even though they do slightly better than girls in math and science but that too doesn't take away from the problem and making the honor roll less often than the girls? Despite this we not only see books like these but also programs like the ones on WeTV that highlight the hurdles of adolescent girls think of the programs as the video euivalent of Peggy Orenstein's bookIn sum what I'm getting at is that even though this book does do girls a favor by highlighting the challenges that they face it is high time that we do likewise for the boys For as long as politics and the media ignore the suffering of a segment of the youth population for the sake of leveling the playing field instead of seeing EVERYONE as a victim our society will remain a precarious place


  3. says:

    Fascinating book A bit uncomfortable l to read at the beginning as it makes you reflect on your own high school experience but the book delved into many areas about how women are influenced in school that I not thought of In the last chapter she presented an educational environment that was focused on a wider world view in terms of gender I would have liked to have read about solutions to the issues she uncovers but still an excellent read


  4. says:

    Important for educators and other human beings who know that all the gender euity issues for girls growing up and in school weren't solved or had gone away before we started crying what about the boys? and putting out books and reuisite slew of school workshops on how our culture messes them up too It is true that gender euity experts forgot there were two genders at least we'd say now? for too long


  5. says:

    This book was written in response to a study about self esteem and girls in school conducted by the American Association of University Women and I have to admit that throughout most of my reading of it one of the uestions in the back of my mind was okay but don't girls generally out perform boys in educational settings? So it's interesting that one of the feminist blogs I read because that's the kind of manhating bitch I am had this posted earlier this weekWhatever learning differences boys and girls may have and whatever problems educational settings have in balancing those differences I do think the issue of self esteem and confidence is huge in girls' success This book raised a lot of issues about girls' socialization and what is acceptable feminine behavior vs acceptable male behavior that are really interesting both in general and of course narcissistically I know I was one of those perfectionist girls in middle school I could so easily have been one of the white middle class girls she interviewed I never had eating disorders or wanted to cut myself but I cried in class a couple times because I wasn't doing well enough and I didn't want to contribute even though I knew I was the smart kid One of the things measured in the original study was what kind of traits adolescents listed as the thing they liked most about themselves; boys overwhelmingly listed skills or personality traits girls listed physical attributes I would have listed my intelligence in middle school I'm sure I have always identified as smart not pretty But it's not like I've overcome the need to be pretty; I just kind of wrote it off I chose smart I wasn't pretty the end And although I do think I'm attractive today I have problems with people being attracted to me in a way I don't have problems with people thinking I'm intelligent or funny And even traits I like about myself are cast into doubt from a feminist perspective in this book I don't want to be louder or less diplomatic but how much of that is the nice girl socialization? And if I accept that it is a result of that socialization at least to some extent am I obligated to try and change it?uestions uestions uestions


  6. says:

    Every time I read a book like this I walk away thinking how terrifying it is to be a girl in these circumstances and wonder how I missed most of this doubt and self harm behavior when I was this age This book underscores a number of common themes about girls in schools the stereotypes of docile and compliant behavior and the secondary status girls have in school But I find myself a bit skeptical as the book cannot show all perspectives only those that reinforce the author's thesis so it ends up being skewed I would have liked to see what happened to the girls profiled in the book and it left the experience a bit unfinished


  7. says:

    When I went into teaching my first job was in a girls only high school It was thought of single sex education in general that girls' schools are best for girls but boys tend to suffer a bit with an overly masculine culture at boys' schools There are also problems with girls only education of course Namely some of them get a big shock when exposed to the wider co ed world Strangely many parents who send their girls to single sex schools do so because they don't want their daughters 'distracted by boys' which seems to me a coded concern for parents who are actually policing their daughters' sexual desire If they had read this book they would know there are other very good reasons for single sex education that have nothing to do with the girls themselves but with the problems in our sexist culture I don't know why we don't see co ed schools which separate boys and girls for maths science and English That would be the ideal situation for my own daughter It would have been interesting to compare these co ed girls to euivalent SES girls at girls only schools and even interesting to track where they all go from there Because I'd really like to know if girls only education is the answer or if it only delays the inevitable


  8. says:

    Every parent teacher man and woman needs to read this book I can honestly say it has changed me This is not a problem that went away when women entered the work force or were given the right to vote Ineualities happen in subtle ways everyday everywhere Reading this book made me so much aware of them and pushed me to change the way I teach and think


  9. says:

    This book is a great resource for parents


  10. says:

    Disturbingly accurate even after 20 years