Peggy Orenstein’s bestselling Schoolgirls is the classic study of teenage girls and self-esteem. Now Orenstein uses the same interviewing and reporting skills to examine the lives of women in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
The advances of the women’s movement allow women to grow up with a sense of expanded possibilities. Yet traditional expectations have hardly changed. To discover how they are navigating this double burden personally and professionally, Orenstein interviewed hundreds of women and has blended their voices into a compelling narrative that gets deep inside their lives and choices. With unusual sensitivity, Orenstein offers insight and inspiration for every woman who is making important decisions of her own.
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After the release of her bestselling title, Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap, Peggy Orenstein toured the country talking to groups of parents, teachers, and girls. It was after one of these teen town hall meetings that she decided to write about the crucible of postfeminist socialization at which today's women--not girls--find themselves: the reconciliation of motherhood and personal aspirations. It's a subject she's intimately familiar with. Orenstein began researching Flux when she was in her mid-30s and agonizing over whether to have a child: "I wanted the richness of motherhood in my life but worried over its costs. I could almost hear the traditionalist in me clucking, 'You can't have it all,' and it infuriated me. Why couldn't I? Why couldn't any of us?"
To help her answer these questions, she interviewed about 250 women between 1996 and 1999, and their varied responses serve as a kind of public consciousness-raising tool. She also interviewed their friends, lovers, and partners to get to the root of the expectations, joys, and frustrations of these women living in a "half-changed world." Though most of the women she interviewed come from similar backgrounds (college educated, white, middle class, and heterosexual), their combined experiences provide readers with plenty of different viewpoints to consider. A portrait of a generational Everywoman emerges from these snapshots in a way that furthers the stated purpose of the book: to inspire readers in "the search for a more satisfied life." -- J.R.From the Back Cover:
Praise for Peggy Orenstein and SchoolGirls:
"Orenstein's study should be required reading for all American teachers. And students. And everyone else."
--Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A)
"This important book should be read by parents raising children of all ages and both sexes."
--David Halberstam, New York Times Book Review
"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."
--Carolyn See, Washington Post Book World
"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."
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