07 April 2005

Reviving Ophelia

I've finally gotten around to reading Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mark Pipher. I never got around to read ing this book when it was popular, so when Melissa mentioned it, I added it to my book list.

It's a good book and brings up many important points. I love how she stresses the importance of families.

I had several thought while I was reading this. First, almost all of the girls she works with have boyfriends at relatively young ages. I am becoming more and more convinced of the wisdom of the counsel to wait till 16 to date. It is also interesting that over time she has worked harder to keep couples from divorcing. Even when divorce is necessary, it is so difficult for the children. Daoud's parents were divorced 30 years ago and it still causes problems.

Certainly this book brings up extreme cases. I can't relate to many of the problems outlines in it. But I also was raised in slightly unusual circumstances. There was relatively little drug use in my town (certainly I knew people who were into drugs, but it was easy to find plenty of friends who weren't). Weight was not an issue in my family in any way. Girls were encouraged to be themselves.

Of course I didn't agree with everything in this book. I've never been able to agree with people who say boys are favored in school. I never felt discouraged from taking any class I wanted to in junior high and high school. I was the only girl in my electronics class, but it wasn't an issue. I come from a long line of women who are well educated. I'm sure there are girls who end up in poor educational situations, but I certainly didn't.

Whether you think this book goes to far or not, it certainly highlights the negatives influences of society on young girls. There is far too much pressure for these girls to do silly and dangerous things. (There is pressure on boys too, but boys seem to be able to keep themselves focused a bit better.)

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