Raising Their Voices Raising Their Voices: The Politics of Girls' Anger the Politics of Girls' Anger

Lyn Mikel Brown, Author
Lyn Mikel Brown, Author Harvard University Press $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-674-83871-0
Reviewed on: 10/26/1998
Release date: 10/01/1998
Paperback - 259 pages - 978-0-674-74721-0
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Adolescent girls resist encouragement to be passive, quiet and ""good,"" finds Brown, an associate professor of education and human development at Colby College and coauthor of Meeting at the Crossroads: Women's Psychology and Girls' Development. The girls in her study readily identify the sources of their anger when it is aroused, but sometimes have difficulty expressing it directly, often navigating daily between what is expected of them and what they expect of themselves. They relentlessly try to make sense of the world and their place in it, refusing any attempt to pacify or silence them when conflicted. Although Brown acknowledges that her research is limited by her choice of subjects--only white, lower- and middle-class girls, aged 11 to 14, in two Maine towns--her admission isn't enough to cover the lack of comparison regionally and racially. Once one has made allowance for this small sample, however, Brown's observations about class differences and emotional expression should prove intriguing for those trying to explore the valleys and peaks of an adolescent mind. Unfortunately, Brown isn't content simply to let the girls speak for themselves, but reinterprets their verbal play, labors over points that are already self-evident and dissects their every childish giggle. Although her writing is graceful and sometimes even beautiful, Brown fights too hard for a group that obviously can fight for itself, given the girls' fiery speeches. (Oct.)
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