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Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girlsby Mary Bray Pipher
Synopses & Reviews
Everybody who has survived adolescence knows what a scary, tumultuous, exciting time it is. But if we use memories of our experiences to guide our understanding of what today's girls are living through, we make a serious mistake. Our daughters are living in a new world. Reviving Ophelia is a call to arms from Dr. Mary Pipher, a psychologist who has worked with teenagers for more than a decade. She finds that in spite of the women's movement, which has empowered adult women in some ways, teenage girls today are having a harder time than ever before because of higher levels of violence and sexism. The current crises of adolescence - frequent suicide attempts, dropping out of school and running away from home, teenage pregnancies in unprecedented numbers, and an epidemic of eating disorders - are caused not so much by "dysfunctional families" or incorrect messages from parents as by our media-saturated, lookist, girl-destroying culture. Young teenagers are not developmentally equipped to meet the challenges that confront them.
Adolescence in America has traditionally involved breaking away from parents, experimenting with the trappings of adult life, and searching for autonomy and independence. Today's teenagers face serious pressures at an earlier age than that at which teenagers in the past did. The innocent act of attending an unsupervised party can lead to acquaintance rape. Having a boyfriend means dealing with sexual pressures, and often leads to pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted diseases. It's no wonder that girls' math scores plummet and depression levels rise when they reach junior high. As they encounter situations that are simply too complex for them to handle, their self-esteem crumbles. The dangers young women face today can jeopardize their futures. It is critical that we understand the circumstances and take measures to correct them. We need to make that precious age of experimentation safe for adolescent girls.
Watch the trailer for the Lifetime movie Reviving Ophelia, to premiere on October 11 at 9pm ET/PT.
#1 New York Times Bestseller
The groundbreaking work that poses one of the most provocative questions of a generation: what is happening to the selves of adolescent girls?
As a therapist, Mary Pipher was becoming frustrated with the growing problems among adolescent girls. Why were so many of them turning to therapy in the first place? Why had these lovely and promising human beings fallen prey to depression, eating disorders, suicide attempts, and crushingly low self-esteem? The answer hit a nerve with Pipher, with parents, and with the girls themselves. Crashing and burning in a developmental Bermuda Triangle,” they were coming of age in a media-saturated culture preoccupied with unrealistic ideals of beauty and images of dehumanized sex, a culture rife with addictions and sexually transmitted diseases. They were losing their resiliency and optimism in a girl-poisoning” culture that propagated values at odds with those necessary to survive.
Told in the brave, fearless, and honest voices of the girls themselves who are emerging from the chaos of adolescence, Reviving Ophelia is a call to arms, offering important tactics, empathy, and strength, and urging a change where young hearts can flourish again, and rediscover and reengage their sense of self.
"Mary Pipher takes on our planet's greatest problems with the skills of a truly gifted therapist. She knows why we avoid and deny the truth and she knows how we can heal ourselves and our communities even as we try to heal the earth. This book is a deep and true gift."—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth
In Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher offered a paradigm-shattering look at the lives of adolescent women. Now Pipher is back with another ground-breaking examination of everyday life, this time exploring how to conquer our fears about the major environmental issues that confound us and transform them into a positive force in our lives.
Pipher emphasizes the importance of taking small, positive steps to preserve what’s important, drawing from her own experiences as part of a group fighting energy company TransCanada’s installation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline across the Midwest, which will sit atop the Ogallala Aquifer, the source of 40% of the United States’ fresh water. The challenges she confronts reveal surprising answers to the critical questions we face: How do we mobilize ourselves and our communities to work together to solve global problems? How do we stay happy amid very difficult situations? And what is the true meaning of hope?
Both profound and practical, The Green Boat explains how we can attend to the world around us with calmness, balance, and great love.
About the Author
Mary Pipher, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and author of The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding our Families and Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of our Elders. Awarded the American Psychological Association's Presidential Citation, Pipher speaks across the country to families, mental health professionals, and educators, and has appeared on Today, 20/20, The Charlie Rose Show, PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer, and National Public Radio's Fresh Air.
Table of Contents
Preface ..... 11 Chapter 1: Saplings in the Storm ..... 17 Chapter 2: Theoretical Issues - For Your Own Good ..... 29 Chapter 3: Developmental Issues - "I'm Not Waving, I'm Drowning" ..... 45 Chapter 4: Families - The Root Systems ..... 74 Chapter 5: Mothers ..... 101 Chapter 6: Fathers ..... 115 Chapter 7: Divorce ..... 131 Chapter 8: Within the Hurricane - Depression ..... 146 Chapter 9: Worshiping the Gods of Thinness ..... 166 Chapter 10: Drugs and Alcohol - If Ophelia Were Alive Today ..... 186 Chapter 11: Sex and Violence ..... 203 Chapter 12: Then and Now ..... 232 Chapter 13: What I've Learned from Listening ..... 248 Chapter 14: Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom ..... 260 Chapter 15: A Fence at the Top of the Hill ..... 282 Recommended Reading ..... 295 Index ..... 297
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