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The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidenceby Rachel Simmons
Synopses & Reviews
Bestselling author of Odd Girl Out, Rachel Simmons exposes the myth of the Good Girl, freeing girls from its impossible standards and encouraging them to embrace their real selves.
In The Curse of the Good Girl, bestselling author Rachel Simmons argues that in lionizing the Good Girl we are teaching girls to embrace a version of selfhood that sharply curtails their power and potential. Unerringly nice, polite, modest, and selfless, the Good Girl is a paradigm so narrowly defined that it's unachievable. When girls inevitably fail to live up — experiencing conflicts with peers, making mistakes in the classroom or on the playing field — they are paralyzed by self-criticism, stunting the growth of vital skills and habits. Simmons traces the poisonous impact of Good Girl pressure on development and provides a strategy to reverse the tide. At once expository and prescriptive, The Curse of the Good Girl is a call to arms from a new front in female empowerment.
Looking to the stories shared by the women and girls who attend her workshops, Simmons shows that Good Girl pressure from parents, teachers, coaches, media, and peers erects a psychological glass ceiling that begins to enforce its confines in girlhood and extends across the female lifespan. The curse of the Good Girl erodes girls' ability to know, express, and manage a complete range of feelings. It expects girls to be selfless, limiting the expression of their needs. It requires modesty, depriving the permission to articulate their strengths and goals. It diminishes assertive body language, quieting voices and weakening handshakes. It touches all areas of girls' lives and follows many into adulthood, limiting their personal and professional potential.
Since the popularization of the Ophelia phenomenon, we have lamented the loss of self-esteem in adolescent girls, recognizing that while the doors of opportunity are open to twenty-first-century American girls, many lack the confidence to walk through them. In The Curse of the Good Girl, Simmons provides a catalog of tangible lessons in bolstering the self and silencing the curse of the Good Girl. At the core of Simmons's radical argument is her belief that the most critical freedom we can win for our daughters is the liberty not only to listen to their inner voice but also to act on it.
"In this volume for parents of middle-school daughters, the author of Odd Girl Out observes that girls today still pressure themselves to conform to the old, narrow paradigm of a nice, people-pleasing, rule-following, even-tempered, socially acceptable good girl, shunning the image of a rebellious, proud, socially outré, in-charge, outspoken bad girl. To dispel the curse of the good girl, and despite using those familiar, easily misconstrued labels as a touchstone, Girls Leadership Institute founder Simmons offers instructive tales out of school and workshops, revealing that flawed communication rituals and fear of confrontation contribute equally to a girl's belief that it is more important to be liked than to be an individual. In order to become a successful, well-adjusted 'real girl,' she needs to know how to say no to peers, ask for what she needs and express what she thinks. In the second half of this book, parents will find concrete strategies and tools — confidence-building exercises that emphasize emotional intelligence, self-evaluations, q & a's, scripts and lots of first-person stories — to help guide a girl's growth into a young woman who can respect and listen to her inner voice, say what she feels and thinks, embrace her limits and present an authentic self to the world." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The Curse of the Good Girl is an intelligent and enlightening read on raising real girls in today’s society. I not only recommend mothers of teenage daughters read this book, but teenage girls as well." Buffalo News
The bestselling author of Odd Girl Out exposes the myth of the Good Girl, freeing girls from its impossible standards and encouraging them to embrace their real selves. At once expository and prescriptive, The Curse of the Good Girl is a call to arms from a new front in female empowerment.
Read about Rachel Simmons work with girls in The New York Times. Lessons in breaking the curse of the good girl-from the bestselling author of Odd Girl Out
Rachel Simmons argues that in idealizing the "good girl"-unerringly nice, polite, modest, and selfless- we teach girls to embrace a version of selfhood that curtails their power and potential.
Drawing on the exercises Simmons herself uses in her work with girls, parents, and educators, The Curse of the Good Girl provides a catalog of practical strategies to foster girls' assertiveness, resilience, and integrity. At the core of Simmons's radical argument is her belief that the most critical freedom we can win for our daughters is the liberty not only to listen to their inner voice but also to act on it.
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About the Author
Rachel Simmons graduated from Vassar College in 1996, where she studied Women's Studies and Political Science. In 1998, she received a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University where she began her research of female bullying and the psychology of girls. She has worked in politics in Washington and New York City and currently lives in Brooklyn.
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