Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

by Mary Pipher

Random House Publishing Group | October 1, 2002 | Mass Market Paperbound

4.6667 out of 5 rating. 6 Reviews
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THREE YEARS ON THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST
AND MORE THAN 1.5 MILLION COPIES SOLD

When Reviving Ophelia was first published nearly a decade ago, the response was extraordinary-and Dr. Mary Pipher became one of the most sought-after speakers in the country. She posed the provocative question: Why are American adolescent girls falling prey to depression, eating disorders, and suicide attempts at an alarming rate? The answer hit a nerve. We live in a look-obsessed, sexist "girl-poisoning" culture. And despite the advances of feminism, girls continue to struggle to find their true selves.

Here are girls' unmuted voices from the front lines of adolescence, personal and painfully honest. By laying bare their harsh day-to-day reality, Reviving Ophelia issues a call to arms and offers parents compassion, strength, and strategies with which to revive these Ophelias' lost sense of self.

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 384 pages, 6.87 × 4.18 × 1.01 in

Published: October 1, 2002

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345418786

ISBN - 13: 9780345418784

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– More About This Product –

Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

by Mary Pipher

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 384 pages, 6.87 × 4.18 × 1.01 in

Published: October 1, 2002

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345418786

ISBN - 13: 9780345418784

Read from the Book

Reviving Ophelia is my attempt to understand my experiences in therapy with adolescent girls. Many girls come into therapy with serious, even life-threatening problems, such as anorexia or the desire to physically hurt or kill themselves. Others have problems less dangerous but still more puzzling, such as school refusal, underachievement, moodiness, or constant discord with their parents. Many are victims of sexual violence. As I talked to these girls, I became aware of how little I really understood the world of adolescent girls today. It didn''t work to use my own adolescent experience from the early 1960s to make generalizations. Girls were living in a whole new world.... Even in our small city with its mostly middle-class population, girls often experienced trauma. How could we help girls heal from that trauma? And what could we do to prevent it? This last year I have struggled to make sense of this. Why are girls having more trouble now than my friends and I had when we were adolescents? Many of us hated our adolescent years, yet for the most part we weren''t suicidal and we didn''t develop eating disorders, cut ourselves, or run away from home.... But girls today are much more oppressed. They are coming of age in a more dangerous, sexualized, and media-saturated culture. They face incredible pressures to be beautiful and sophisticated, which in junior high means using chemicals and being sexual. As they navigate a more dangerous world, girls are less protected. As I lo
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From the Publisher

THREE YEARS ON THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST
AND MORE THAN 1.5 MILLION COPIES SOLD

When Reviving Ophelia was first published nearly a decade ago, the response was extraordinary-and Dr. Mary Pipher became one of the most sought-after speakers in the country. She posed the provocative question: Why are American adolescent girls falling prey to depression, eating disorders, and suicide attempts at an alarming rate? The answer hit a nerve. We live in a look-obsessed, sexist "girl-poisoning" culture. And despite the advances of feminism, girls continue to struggle to find their true selves.

Here are girls' unmuted voices from the front lines of adolescence, personal and painfully honest. By laying bare their harsh day-to-day reality, Reviving Ophelia issues a call to arms and offers parents compassion, strength, and strategies with which to revive these Ophelias' lost sense of self.

About the Author

Mary Pipher, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and author of Hunger Pains: The American Woman's Tragic Quest for Thinness, The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding our Families, and Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of our Elders. Her newest book is The Middle of Everywhere: The Worlds Refugees Come to Our Town.

Dr. Pipher's area of expertise is how culture affects people's mental health. For her work, she was awarded the American Psychological Associations Presidential Citation in 1998. She speaks across the country to families, mental health professionals, and educators. She has appeared on Today, 20/20, The Charlie Rose Show, PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer, and National Public Radio's Fresh Air. She lives in Nebraska with her husband, Jim.

Editorial Reviews

"An important book . . . Pipher shines high-beam headlights on the world of teenage girls."
-Los Angeles Times

"A vibrant and insightful account . . . The loss of the spirit which Dr. Pipher so brilliantly portrays is the loss of the American spirit."
-DR. NATALIE PORTER
Former president, Division of the Psychology of Women,
American Psychological Association

Bookclub Guide

1. Why are kids having more trouble coming of age in 2000?

2. Discuss the differences in childhood and in parenting between your era and today. What was better, or worse? How can we preserve the best of both eras for our children?

3. How do we build a sense of community in our neighborhoods today? How can we help other people's children? What institutions can help us?

4. How do we balance the need to protect our children with the need to raise them free of unnecessary fear?

5. What useful work do we have for children in our community?

6. What can we do to fight violent and sexualized media and the omnipresence of marketing to children?

7. What experience in adolescence are mostly girls' experiences? What experiences are mostly unique to boys? What issues are shared by both genders?

8. What do you think a typical school day is like in the life of your child? (Your students?)

9. How can schools and families protect girls from eating disorders? How can we hold advertisers and media more accountable for their images of young women?

10. How has our culture changed for girls since Reviving Ophelia was written? Discuss both negative and positive changes.

11. How do computers affect girls' social and emotional development?

12. How can we help girls hold on to their true selves?

13. What role do sports play in girls' development?

14. Why do girls argue so much with their mothers and what can be done about it?

15. How can fathers help their daughters through adolescence?

16. What are the signs of depression in teens and when should a family seek professional help?

17. What guidelines and policies should parents have about their children's friends?

18. How can we keep our teens connected to older and younger people and not isolated in peer culture?

19. What is a good school harassment policy?

20. How do we teach boys to respect women and girls?

21. What are some differences in adolescence across ethnic groups--specifically African-American, Asian, and Hispanic?

22. What is your policy about movies, television, music, and computers? How do you enforce it? What are the relative merits of protecting children from media versus exposing them to media but processing it with them and helping them understand it?

23. How can we teach children to behave properly? 24. How do we teach values to our children?

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