Young Women, Self-Esteem and the Confidence Gap
“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
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.