Girls Seen and Heard: 52 Life Lessons for Our Daughters

Ms Foundation for Women, Author, Sondra Forsyth, Joint Author, Marie C. Wilson, Preface by Putnam Publishing Group $11.95 (239p) ISBN 978-0-87477-926-4
The problem of girls' loss of self-esteem upon entering adolescence has been well documented, and this book offers much-needed solutions. Written for mothers and their daughters to put into practice together, each of the 52 short chapters identifies an issue in girls' lives, discusses the social conditions it rises from and gives an activity that teaches girls resilience, belief in their own abilities and power over their own lives. Much more than a naive ""you can do anything"" pep talk, the activities are specific, realistic and relevant to the aspirations and problems of real girls. Unapologetically promoting careers for women, Girls Seen and Heard emphasizes helping girls prepare for the future through researching, goal setting and seeking out mentors. The importance of mentors is especially stressed because, as Forsyth says, ""[b]eing welcomed into the lives of real women shows girls what their own lives could be like in the future--in spite of the fact that society, from TV and movies to billboards and toys, tells a vastly different story."" Each chapter concludes with reading suggestions and helpful resources on issues such as eating disorders, sexual harassment in schools and cultivating creativity. A drawback of the program the book promotes is that it depends on a strong mother-daughter relationship, and while it may be effective for younger adolescents, it's easy to imagine older teens balking at maternal urging. Still, the book offers tremendous encouragement and hope for girls and their parents and is an important, valuable contribution to girls' lives. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 04/01/1998
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