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NaaahTen Minutes to RelaxThank You for Being Such a PainThe 10 Best Anxiety BustersThe 5 Reasons Why We OvereatThe 7 Secrets of the ProlificThe Anger WorkbookThe Antidepressant Survival ProgramThe Art of Becoming HumanThe Art of Exceptional LivingThe Beginner's Guide to Healthy EatingThe Better Sex Guide to the Kama SutraThe Betty Ford Center Book of AnswersThe Bipolar Disorder Survival GuideThe Breakout PrincipleThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Chronic Pain SolutionThe Complete Vegetarian HandbookThe Consolations of PhilosophyThe Core Question: Who Am I?The Crowdsourced Performance ReviewThe Emotional Eater's Repair ManualThe Emotional RevolutionThe End-of-Life HandbookThe Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2005The Essential KamasutraThe Feeling Good HandbookThe Five Things We Cannot Change ...The Game of TruthThe Gift of FearThe Gift of ShynessThe Good Vibrations Guide to SexThe Guide for International Intercultural Couples and Families Intercultural MarriageThe Happy Hook-UpThe Healing JourneyThe Healing Journey for CouplesThe Healing Journey Through GriefThe Healing Power of PetsThe Identity CodeThe Illustrated Guide to Extended Massive OrgasmThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Introvert AdvantageThe Intuitive WriterThe Irritable Male SyndromeThe Jewel Tree of TibetThe Joy of MeditatingThe Last Self-Help Book You'll Ever NeedThe Light of DiscoveryThe Little Book of Healthy TeasThe Little Yoga BookThe Magic of Thinking BigThe Making of Dr. PhilThe Male Stress Survival GuideThe Money WorkbookThe Mood CureThe Mozart EffectThe Myth of Self-EsteemThe New Cancer SurvivorsThe New Rational TherapyThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe OCD WorkbookThe Passion PlanThe Pilates Workout JournalThe Pill Book Guide to Natural MedicinesThe Places That Scare YouThe Pocket Life CoachThe Porn TrapThe Power of FocusThe Power of Full EngagementThe Power of Negative ThinkingThe Power of PlayThe Power of Self-CoachingThe Pursuit of PerfectThe Quest for Peace, Love, and a 24'' WaistThe Real Rules for GirlsThe Secret of LifeThe Secret Strength of DepressionThe Self ImprovedThe Self-Compassion Skills WorkbookThe Self-Help SourcebookThe Sex Addiction WorkbookThe Spa DeckThe Stoic Art of LivingThe Stress CureThe Stress Less WorkbookThe Stress Owner's ManualThe Stress Reduction Workbook for TeensThe SuperStress SolutionThe Ten Minute Sexual SolutionThe Therapy for the SaneThe Truth About Chronic PainThe Ultimate Guide to Sex and DisabilityThe Van Gogh BluesThe Way of StretchingThe Way of the JournalThe Way of TransitionThe Weblog HandbookThe Why CaféThe Worst-Case Scenario Survival HandbookThere's a Spiritual Solution to Every ProblemThings Might Go Terribly, Horribly WrongThink Confident, Be ConfidentThink NakedThink SmartThinking for a ChangeThis Is HowTotal PilatesTrain Your Brain to Get HappyTrain Your Brain to Get RichTransformation Trauma in the Lives of ChildrenUltimate SexUnderstanding the Borderline MotherUndoing DepressionUnhappy TeenagersUnlock the Genius WithinUntangling the WebVirtual AddictionWaking Up to What You DoWay to Be!What We Say MattersWhat Women WantWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Holding You Back? When a Family Member Has DementiaWhen a Parent is DepressedWhen in Doubt, Make BeliefWhen Perfect Isn't Good EnoughWhen Someone You Love Is DepressedWhen Things Fall ApartWhen Words Are Not EnoughWhen Your Body Gets the BluesWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWherever You Go, There You AreWhy Can't I Change?Why Is It Always About You?Why Smart Executives FailWorried All the TimeWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaWriting as a Sacred PathWriting in FlowWriting to HealYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!Yoga 4 TeensYoga as MedicineYoga for EveryoneYoga for MeditatorsYoga for OsteoporosisYoga for Pain ReliefYoga for Regular Guys DVDYoga for the Young at HeartYoga on DemandYoga Weight Loss for DummiesYou Are Not AloneYou Are Not Your IllnessYou Can Think Yourself ThinYou'll See It When You Believe ItYour Body Speaks Your MindYour Brain on FoodYour Child, Bully or Victim?Zen Sex
Strong, Smart & Bold is
a production by Girls Inc., which refers to itself on the book jacket as the
leading empowerment organization for girls.
Girls Inc. is a national organization focusing on research, education,
and advocacy for girls. The
organization offers programs at its own sites (most of which, according to its
website, are located in low income areas), as well as making its programs
available offsite. Its programs center
around the Girls Bill of Rights established by the organization. There are six such rights (for example, A
girl has the right to accept and appreciate her body; A girl has the right to
prepare for interesting work and economic independence). Each chapter in the book focuses on an
individual right, and includes activities, exercises, and suggestions for how
to encourage your daughter to be aware of her rights and develop strengths in
order to achieve her goals.
There are some statistics in each
chapter to support the assertion that society is pressuring girls in various
ways to be less than what they could be.
The fact that the book is a little light on research, though, does not
pose a significant problem. I do not
really need to see research on marketing trends in childrens clothing, for
example, to know that girls clothes have become increasingly sexualized; I
need only look at some of the older girls who attend my daughters elementary
school to know that mini skirts, bare midriffs, and halter tops have become
commonplace among the pre-teen set.
What this book does do is offer some tips for how to handle such
situations. Many of the tips range from
the general (Teach a girl to critique beauty ideals for girls and women as
they are portrayed in television programs, popular songs, movies, books, and
magazines) to the lofty-but-impractical (Lobby the fashion industry to expand
its definition of beauty by featuring more diverse-looking models), but there
are some very worthwhile ideas as well.
The chapter on resisting gender
stereotypes, for instance, advocates examining the gender roles that operate in
your own house, and making sure that responsibilities are not defined along
gender lines. It also suggests reading
the financial section of the newspaper with your daughter, so that she develops
a basic understanding of economics and gets the message that she should be literate
about finances as she grows up. Encouraging
her to become proficient at using a computer is important as well, and the
chapter gives some tips on how to accomplish that.
I am not one who is overly fond of
self-help type exercises, and some of the ones suggested in this book I found a
bit silly; I cannot imagine asking my daughter to draw a castle, for instance,
so we could label all the happy things that belong in her castle and thus learn
what makes her special. If you are one
who finds such exercises useful then by all means this is the book for
you. Even if you do not care to indulge
in such activities, however, it would be a mistake to rule this book out. There is some solid advice packed in here,
as well as some food for thought about the perils of raising a girl today. Even if you do not choose to adopt any of
the techniques suggested here, you will at least be encouraged to think about
issues that will be of importance to your daughter.
Link: Girls Inc.
2003 Elizabeth O'Connor
Elizabeth OConnor, Ph.D. is
co-author with Suzanne Johnson of For Lesbian Parents (Guilford, 2001)
and The Gay Baby Boom: The Psychology of Gay Parenthood (NYU Press,
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