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Packaging Girlhood

Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers' Schemes

Sharon Lamb, Ed.D., and Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D.

St. Martin's Griffin

Winner of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Books for a Better Life Award
 
The image of girls and girlhood that is being packaged and sold to your daughter isn't pretty in pink. It is stereotypical, demeaning, limiting, and alarming. Girl Power has been co-opted by marketers of music, fashion, books, and television to mean the power to shop and attract boys. Girls are besieged by images in the media that encourage them to pursue accessories over academics; sex appeal over sports; fashion over friendship. These stereotypes are everywhere, from Disney movies to hip-hop lyrics, Nickelodeon cartoons to Seventeen magazine.
 
Little girls are portrayed as "perfect little angels," sometimes with a sassy twist; elementary school-age girls are boy-crazy "tweens," ready to buy into a version of mini-teendom that eclipses the wonderful years of childhood that truly belong to them; middle-school girls are cast as full-fledged teenagers, or at least teenage wannabes, eager to conform to that CosmoGIRL! lifestyle. And high school girls? They are sold an image of the sexually free model-diva-rock-star that the younger girls are supposed to look up to.
 
Packaging Girlhood exposes these stereotypes and the very limited choices presented to girls of who or what they can be. Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown give guidance on how to talk with young girls about these negative images and provides with the tools and information needed to help girls make more positive choices about the way they define themselves in the real world.

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Chapter One
Pretty in Pink: What Girls Wear
 
Girl or boy?" is almost always the first question people ask when they hear about the birth of a baby. They don't need to ask, however, when they see a newborn in her carriage on the street--the clothes and accessories provide the answer. Typically, a little girl will be dressed in pink and frills, and a boy in blue with a sporty theme. Lots of parents go to great lengths in this first year to distinguish gender for other people. They tie ribbons around bald heads and plant barrettes in bare wisps of hair; they put tough-looking Nikes
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Sharon Lamb, Ed.D., and Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D.

  • Sharon Lamb is professor of psychology at Saint Michael's College in Vermont and the author of four books, including The Secret Lives of Girls. Her research on girls' development, teenagers and sex, and abuse and victimization is widely cited. As a clinical psychologist, she often works with girls, listening to their struggles and hearing their strengths, in her private practice in Shelburne, Vermont. Lyn Mikel Brown, professor of education and human development at Colby College in Maine, is the author of three books on girls' development, including Meeting at the Crossroads: Women's Psychology and Girls' Development (with Carol Gilligan). She creates programs for girls at her nonprofit organization, Hardy Girls Healthy Women (www.hardygirlshealthywomen.org).
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Packaging Girlhood

Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers' Schemes

Sharon Lamb, Ed.D., and Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D.

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

St. Martin's Griffin

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