Celebrating Girls: Nurturing and Empowering Our Daughters

Virginia Beane Rutter, Author
Virginia Beane Rutter, Author Conari Press $12.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-57324-053-6
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
How can we help girls find confidence in their femininity in a postfeminist society wherein they continue to be shortchanged both emotionally and developmentally? Rutter, a Jungian analyst in California, suggests that some answers lie in ritual and celebration. Many of her recommendations reflect actual rites of passage practiced by Native Americans and other tribal peoples. Rutter sometimes adopts a melodramatic New Age stance, e.g., her glowing report on a ""group menarche ceremony"" at something called the Menstrual Health Foundation: Coming of Age Project. She devotes an entire chapter to promoting water-related activities (from bubble baths to river rafting) to help young women get in touch with their ""watery essence,"" which is her metaphor for ""the ebb and flow"" of feminine emotions. Yet, underlying even the loopiest prescriptions is a perceptive mind. Rutter adeptly suggests ways mothers can use traditionally feminine pastimes--shopping, storytelling, even brushing or braiding a child's hair--to instill in a daughter a strong sense of self. An empathic (and savvy) mother, she asserts, can even ""reorient"" a teenage daughter's avidity for makeup and clothes so that it is no longer a desperate urge to be accepted by her peer group, but a means to assert an idiosyncratic sense of self. (Aug.) Health
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