Young Women, Self-Esteem and the Confidence Gap
“While academicians have speculated on the reasons for the growing self-esteem gap between boys and girls, Peggy Orenstein’s Schoolgirls is the first to bring us an inside account of real girls’ lives. Orenstein takes us behind the scenes—into the classroom, schoolyard, and family home—and with her natural gift for listening to and portraying young women, she powerfully illuminates the forces that shape and, so often, break the precarious confidence of American girls.”
—Susan Faludi, Backlash
WHEN PEGGY ORENSTEIN’S now-classic examination of young girls and self-esteem was first published, it set off a groundswell that continues to this day. Inspired by an American Association of University Women survey that showed a steep decline in confidence as girls reach adolescence, Orenstein set out to explore the obstacles girls face—in school, in the home, and in our culture.
For this intimate, girls’-eye view of the world, Orenstein spent months observing and interviewing eighth-graders from two ethnically disparate communities, seeking to discover what was causing girls to fall into traditional patterns of self-censorship and self-doubt. By taking us into the lives of real young women who are struggling with eating disorders, sexual harassment, and declining academic achievement, Orenstein brings the disturbing statistics to life with the skill and flair of an experienced journalist. Uncovering the adolescent roots of issues that remain important to all American women throughout their lives, this groundbreaking book challenges us to change the way we raise and educate girls.
“This book is to young girls what ‘Black Beauty’ is to horses, what Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle’ was to the processing of meat. To read ‘Schoolgirls’ is to remember — how reluctantly! — what it means to be a girl in junior high.”
—Washington Post Book World
"The Secrets of Young Girls"
—The San Francisco Chronicle