Reviving Ophelia with Bookflag and Lipcard

ISBN: 0345395034
ISBN 13: 9780345395030
By: Mary Pipher

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Reader's Thoughts

Myria

The author has good intentions and I agree with her on some things but…. This was horrible. I don’t even know where to begin! I really don’t. I understand parents wanting to protect their kids from these kinds of things but I hope any parent does not live by this book. Please do more research. A LOT! I don’t know if it was just me but the way Mary worded some things, it came off as she blamed men for this problem. WHATEVER. This just reminds me of a joke that Katt Williams said about woman blaming their self esteem on men. As he said “It is called SELF esteem! It is the esteem of your M***** F***ing self!” If it wasn’t that then it’s all about the media or peer pressure. Maybe I just don’t get this whole peer pressure and media thing bc growing up, I was too hard headed to be fooled by any of that. Everyone goes through peer pressure through all stages of life but there is a thing called personal responsibility. Being a girl does not give you a free pass at it. She also acts like girls can’t protect themselves or don’t have any inner strength or common sense. And as a parent, you don’t need a book like this to tell you that you should teach your child that. You don’t just pop out a kid and then that’s it. That is the role of being a parent! Giving them a safe, happy home to live in, helping them, guiding them and teaching them. That right there helps tremendously with giving your child good roots, confidence and a good head on their shoulders. And if you need ANY book to tell you that, then maybe you shouldn't be a parent.NO parent is perfect and we all make mistakes, of course, and your child will deal with challenges through life (you can’t keep them safe forever) but that’s life! Blaming this kind of stuff on social trends, does not cut it. At all!!!! Parents need to pay attention and do some homework on this subject. And by SUBJECT, I mean= *raising a bright kid *how to be there for them *not raising an air head *and understanding that self-esteem issues stem from MUCH MORE than just what the author liked to point her fingers at. What I DON'T mean= is finding ways to blame everything else but your parenting skills and/or lack of self responsibility.

Victoria McVay

I had to read this for a class I took recently, it was… alright. There are some great points and lessons in this book, however, the author makes incredibly broad and exaggerated statements about girls going through puberty, almost as though this book should be taken as doctrine. I definitely do not agree that everything she speaks of, introduces you to, etc, is the "norm," nor do I think girls who escape the repercussions of our "girl hating America" are typically wealthy, in loving stable homes, or smart enough to block out all of the evil cultural pressures we've had shoved down our throats over the years. It has a strong sense of feminism, the author even says things early on such as, "Where are the women in the history books?" and she talks about how girls grow up seeing men in powerful positions, and thus automatically yet possibly unconsciously believe they are powerless in a man's world. Pah-leez! Really? For one, women are in history books, for two, there are more men because in those time periods, women were at home raising families, not waging war and writing the Constitution. Smh… the world is not out to get us. Aside from that, I do think its a good book for parents and their daughters while going through puberty, perhaps they'll be able to learn from others' mistakes so they don't have to experience those particular hardships themselves.

alysa

I HATED this book. Is there NO hope for our girls? I found this book to be very negative about the future of girls trying to grow up in this world. Although the book is outdated I did not find a whole lot that related to the average American girl. The author generalizes about girls as a whole based upon her patients that are in therapy. This is not to say that girls are not going to have issues, but I don't think the majority of girls are going to have the depth of issues of the girls in this book. I found the book very repetitive and stated the problem over and over and offered no advice on to how to help girls in the turmoil of adolescents. Don't waste your time!

Laura

While this book had a whole bunch of interesting anecdotes, there were nothing more than anecdotes. The fact that a bunch of her patients manifested particular characteristics doesn't lead to the ability to generalize about adolescent trends in general, as Pipher does here. On the contrary, it's just as reasonable to believe that her patients, many of whom presumably came to her through referrals from other patients, were a self-selecting group, each of whom referred people to Pipher because she had proven talented in dealing with particular adolescent issues. If Pipher had written a book about the traits of her individual patients, most of whom were adolescent girls, that would have been one thing, and probably would have been a pretty good book. But when you're trying to make broad pronouncements about social trends, as Pipher is, anecdotes about your group of patients won't cut it. At all.

Katherine

Approximately 1/3 of the way into this book, I nearly quit. It was highly repetitive; I felt like a lengthy magazine article could have covered the same material. As I got further into the problem-specific chapters, though, I began thinking more and more about my own experiences. I was 13 when this book was first published. I am very much a product of the culture Pipher was addressing. Her insights on family relationships in particular got me thinking. I found some of her cultural observations less interesting, more melodramatic. Overall, though, Pipher wrote an interesting book dotted with useful bits of advice without sounding like a self-help book or being overly preachy. I particularly appreciated her objective stance on adolescent drug and alcohol use--that not all of it is problematic or to be pathologized.

Laura

This book is targeted at parents of girls in the 90's. While I think it had many good things to say, it was also very repetitive and could have been edited into a much tighter and more to the point read. Also, a little updating is in order. When Pipher wrote this book, things like "myspace" and "facebook" weren't even in existence. I imagine that many parents in the 00's and beyond would probably appreciate some tools for dealing with these new intrusions into family life.Some parents might take issue with some of Pipher's sentiments. This book is not written from any particular religious standpoint and thus some pluralistic views are in place. She does also take the stance that some experimentation with "chemicals" in adolescence is normal and to be expected. As a mother of a soon to be teenaged stepson...I don't agree with this view!All in all though, this book does drive home the amount of influence the culture at hand can have upon a child. Pipher deals with the cultural impact on girls' psyches in the main, but even parents of boys should take note of the negative impact that their son's can experience as well.

Marcea

The superlatives I could list for this book would fill an entire page. It’s profound, insightful, moving, disturbing – I could go on and on. The subtitle of this book is ‘Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls’, but it could just as easily have been ‘Where We’ve Come From to Get Here’ or ‘Every Woman’s Glance Back’. Tt has raised many issues for me that would be better more fully developed in my journal. Pipher was not only very illuminating with the content but also inspiring with her phrasing and style. As I was reading I kept thinking of more people I thought should read it, my baby brother & sister-in-law who don’t yet have children or anyone has or who may raise daughters. In reading this I believe every woman would better understand their selves, & every man could gain insight into women they love and both use the wisdom to guide and protect their daughters and nieces.

Jessica

This is a biased and thoughtless review, based on vague memories of a cranky adolescent's insensitive snap judgment, so you shouldn't pay any attention to it. It's definitely more of a statement about me than it is about the book, which I don't really remember anyway.I read this in the mid-nineties when it came out, and I remember feeling, as a teenage girl, annoyed and offended. I felt at the time that it was making too much of girls' helplessness and sort of encouraging us to feel sorry for ourselves and to wallow in a sense of victimization, blaming our parents and "the media" for everything. Honestly, though, I'm sure this is a gross mischaracterization of everything in this book, which I honestly don't remember one bit. Raising girls -- raising anyone! -- not to be all screwed-up around here -- around anywhere! -- is hard work, and parents deserve all the help they can get. At the same time, I do have some basic belief that adolescence is supposed to be kind of miserable: that's called "growing up," and it hurts. I mean, obviously girls shouldn't be cutting themselves or trying to commite suicide, but adolescents feeling bad a lot of the time seems normal to me. I engaged in a lot of behavior as a teenager that on paper sounds pretty pathological or at least disturbing, and I'm not saying that's ideal or that I want my kids doing all of it, but I did make it out the other end, you know? As did a lot of other girls I know who had much more extreme problems. Now we're grownups, and we've got the stories.Again, I don't remember what this book said, but I do remember my basic reaction. I felt like someone was characterizing me as being way more screwed-up than I felt I was, and I was annoyed by some of the case examples, especially where they reminded me of troubled friends of mine who, I felt, were not well-served by a therapeutic culture that I saw at the time as potentially iatrogenic (though I hadn't learned that fancy word yet!).It might be interesting to revisit Ophelia now, since I always have infinitely more sympathy for groups of which I am not a member. If this book enlightened parents about issues relevant to raising girls in a materialistic and misogynistic culture, then the more sensitive, kinder adult me is all for it. I do not envy the parents today, as I think popular culture has gotten exponentially more threatening to girls' developing a healthy sense of self.Of course, if I were fifteen today I'd probably say that was crap. I would sneer at any suggestion that Paris Hilton or reality plastic surgery shows had any effect whatsoever on my development, and then I'd run off to drink beer in a bush with my similarly indignant peers.

Kathleen

This book deals with the lives of young girls and their struggle with eating disorders. I read this when this was an issue in my own family, and I found it to be a great resource.

Marc

Overall, a pretty scary summation of the pressures affecting our growing daughters (especially for a father!). Though a bit dated, I'm sure many of the trends have only gotten worse since the 1990s. As a parent of a bright child, (and someone trying to familiarize myself with pressures and upcoming challenges), I hope we'll be able to mediate some of these!My only real critique is her constant comparison to boys and how they're raised. Pipher seems to be saying that only girls can have complicated feelings and face tension/mixed messages from cultural values. I think all people (boys and girls) face these challenges, just in different ways. That's the problem with artificial social constructs of values. She does mention that her work is done with girls so she doesn't talk about boys' experiences--but then I wish she would have just left it at that instead of using boys' roles/expectations as some sort of standard to measure the girls' experiences against.

Caris

When I look at my daughter, I see a beautiful little human who means more to me than anything I could have ever imagined. She smiles at me when she wakes up. She holds my finger as we watch TV. She explains the most elaborate and convoluted things to me in a baby language I can't quite comprehend but certainly get the gist of. I have an intense feeling of responsibility for her well being, which, I assume, will last for the rest of my life.The thought that she will grow up causes me physical pain. It's hard enough seeing her gain an ounce every few days, but adolescence? I think back on it and cringe. It was awful. Embarrassing and painful. And I was (and am) a boy. Things were easier for me.Pipher singles out my fears of my daughter's future, and prods at them with a crudely sharpened wooden stick. She watches as they writhe in agony and makes sure that I never get used to the torture. It's like the tenth ring of Dante's Inferno, specifically reserved for fathers of girls. Eating disorders. Self-mutilation. Alcoholism. Drug use. Sex. Violence. It's awful, but it's necessary. For the parent who is willing to face such issues head on, this is a must read. Not only does it describe a great many of the issue being faced by teenagers, it provides suggestions for dealing with these problems. In a case study format, Pipher introduces the reader to a variety of common problems faced by teenagers from many different backgrounds. She advocates parent-child relationships based on respect and understanding and she provides good ways to gain trust to get healthy dialogues off the ground.That said, the text is dated. In another ten years, the pop culture references are going to be incomprehensible. She references the lyrics of 2 Live Crew and Madonna as major influences on teenagers. Every few years, this book deserves a new edition or else it runs the risk of becoming a time capsule. The "dialogue" that happens between Pipher and her teenage clients also comes across as false, likely due to the combination of real life cases that make up each case study. Coming from a social science background, this was easy for me to understand (every one of my college textbooks was the same way), but I worry about teenagers coming to this as a self-help text. It seems likely to me that they're not going to believe it's real.In spite of all its flaws, this book is a must read for parents of teenagers. It addresses all of the information bombarding teenagers (media, peers, parents, school) and how best to deal with the overload. It offers tips for good socialization and gives advice for how to weather the storm.But, if you're anything like me, don't read it if you want to sleep.

Beth

I have been meaning to read this book for years and finally got around to it. The beginning of the book is almost depressing because it highlights all the hardships that girls encounter as they enter puberty and how it crushes their vivacious, independent spirits of childhood. But I liked how Pipher gives a framework to how to see things from a girl's perspective while giving her tools to help her through the hard times. Self-reflection, handling stress, choosing limits for yourself, etc. I appreciated that she believes that a strong family structure and positive women influences can help girls through--although it might not be easy to see that anything is helping until later adolescence. I enjoyed the wide variety of anecdotes because she shows how the culture affects almost all girls while still showing that each situation is different and is changed by many variables--home situation, parenting styles, environment, school friends, talents, looks, etc. Since this is about adolescents growing up in the 1990s, it is probably now considered "old," but I think most of what she has to say still holds up today, perhaps even more amplified than in the 90s. I would love to see this book updated with more about how social media and the omnipresent cell phone and internet have affected the culture that girls grow up in and the messages that are being thrown their way.

Kim

I've read this book a couple of times (especially when I'm recommended it to one of my teenage students who's having a hard time) and it's a really powerful book.

Jaclyn

This book has opened my eyes to the complications of adolesence that my daughter is just on the cusp of. Although the book is 10 years old, and I am significantly younger than the author, I found the topics to be very relevant even today. I personally relate better to the author, who was a child in the 50's, and feel that the problems girls were beginning to face in the 90's are worse than I faced in the 80's and are still very much a probem today, probably more so. Reading about all of the challenges my daughter is about to face in this new stage of her life was vey helpful and opened my eyes to things I would not quite have understood if I hadn't read this book. I related to the author's admitted naivety until college (for me it was late high school), and recognized many of the problems the girls faced in the book as problems still rampant today. It actually saddened me that 10 years later we have made so little progress toward protecting our young girls and educating our young boys. This book spurred many conversations between my daughter and I, by helping me see the questions I should be asking, the red flags I should be looking for, and brought me to a more understanding and open minded approach in these regards. Hopefully, having these conversations at an early age, and frequently going forward, will help ease the painful transition through adolesence for my daughter and I, and protect her from some of the bigger problems many girls now face due to lack of education and a constant feeling of misunderstanding.

Suzanne Evans

My mom gave me this book when I was like 12 or 13... this was only the beginning of the self help slurry of books, clippings, etc that my mom would throw my way. As an adolescent girl (who this book is geared towards) I hid the book under my bed and read other bull shit things like the other books you will see on my list (read in the early to mid 90s). Thinking I knew what was best for me, as girls do at that age, I continued to resist my mother's consistent pushing me to read this book. She eventually gave up, an I found the book something like 10 years later and figured why not, I am already an adult, lets see how off I was in growing up. WOW... I feel like if I just listened to my mother at 13 I could have avoided A LOT of the most annoying parts of growing up.

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