The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence
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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August 31, 2010
Average Customer Rating:
based on 19 reviews
Average Customer Review:
( 19 customer reviews )
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 48 found the following review helpful:
Thought-provoking and FabulousSep 16, 2009
By Jacqueline Payne I intitially picked up this book out of professional interest. As an advocate for women's rights and a student of leadership development, I was interested in learning from Rachel's experience working with young women at the Girl's Leadership Institute. What I didn't expect was the degree of self-reflection this book provoked. How had my lovely, graceful, care-taking mother been raised in the 40s and 50s? What lessons did I learn as a girl about appropriate behavior and having -- much less sharing -- needs? How do I see these trends play out with women in the workplace? How many young women have I coached to know their own value as they negotiated for a raise, promotion, or new job? How will I teach - or not teach - these lessons to my own children? On the last point, the book offers a practical guide for parents (and teachers and coaches and all adults who interact with girls). With Rachel's help -- and the help of all the mothers and daughters who shared their stories in this book so that we might learn from their experience -- we can raise a generation of authentic girls who truly know and like themselves.
18 of 18 found the following review helpful:
Self Discovery for every womanApr 05, 2010
By J Squares I have been reading this book for several months. I keep finding new truths that remind me of my personal journey, through self exploration and through life. Most exceptional, is how much of what this author speaks of that can be applied to SO many women- women I know, women I'm related to, women with whom I work, women whose work I've read, women I treat as patients. I feel that most all women of this time and place could find something relatable in this discussion.
The book is an exploration of the complicated messages girls are receiving from society, from their families, from their teachers and from their friends. To be a "good girl", we must honor others' feelings before our own, diminish our grievances to avoid conflicts, avoid confrontation so as not to seem mean spirited, and thus promote dishonesty with each other and with ourselves. This of course, leads to a suffocating mix of avoidance and frustration in personal relationships, as well as in professional spheres. How many of us have trembled at the idea of saying "That's not right/fair" or "I'm worth more than that" at work? I know I have. Or in relationships, how many of us cry unabashedly at the first sign of a disagreement, thus negating any rationale resolution or productive further discussion?
This author works with girls in leadership workshops that help young women develop their voice and learn ways to communicate that voice more effectively. They learn to develop healthy egos that allow for open communication of their needs/desires/opinions/feelings within all relationships. What an extraordinary concept! That our families of origin, even those who were nuturing, were also leading us to some pretty toxic behavior. This prevents us from having the confidence and courage to discover who we are and what we want out of life. It does not admonish rule following- instead it offers suggestions for learning to deal with the natural disappointments of life and for finding our own way rather than following only what society proffers.
The practical discussion in the book could most aptly be used by a mother, but I found the discussion to be worthy of self reflection. How many of us, before we raise a girl, need to raise the girl within that may be stagnating in some of these repressive thought patterns?
17 of 19 found the following review helpful:
Such an important book!Sep 08, 2009
By Pamela Shifman Since reading this book, I have recommended it to everyone I know-and certainly everyone I know who has ever been a girl or is raising girls. The book is smart, insightful, funny, helpful, savvy and most importantly tells the truth about girl's lives.
This book makes a critically important contribution to our understanding of adolescent girls-and what holds girls back from reaching their full potential. Even better, Rachel Simmons offers practical solutions to help girl's (and those who love them) be their true authentic selves.
I am so grateful this book exists. Thank you Rachel Simmons!
62 of 79 found the following review helpful:
It was okay, but nothing newNov 15, 2009
By Yvonne A. Berry I was really excited to get this book,but was soon disappointed by its contents. Not a bad book, but as a minority it really didn't speak to me or any other minority girls or parents. The book does state in the beginning that they interviewed girls from all backgrounds, but the book only mentions one girl and she in a completely different( lower ) economic bracket then her classmates. The book doesn't approach other issues that may effect a girls attitude/outlook like a poor enviroment, lack of finances and/or social factors that DO NOT involve a school atmosphere. I really wanted to like this book yet after completing the book, I felt that my time could have been better spent. I read the entire book waiting for it to get better and unfortunately, it never did.
10 of 11 found the following review helpful:
AbracadabraAug 27, 2009
By Yvette Esprey In her delightfully anticipated new book, The Curse of the Good Girl, Rachel Simmons strikes the precipitous balance between empathizing with the plight of the adolescent Good Girl, whilst simultaneously understanding the challenge of the adults who must navigate the stormy adolescent waters with their daughters. It is clear in her writing that Rachel's gift is in her capacity to truly KNOW the experience of the girls to whom she has dedicated her career, and to make sense of it in a way which allows her to respond with startling accuracy to the challenges facing today's teen. She invites parents and educators to join in her in this knowing, and so to begin to respond sensitively to the responsibility they have as caregivers. This book has the potential to create an inter-generational bridge, providing a framework for communication between adults and adolescents, and in so doing allowing both to explore their authentic selves with courage and confidence. Rachel's style is compellingly personal; in reading this book I felt that she was in conversation with me, speaking both to the adult in me and to the adolescent girl who remains so alive in memory. Her style is wonderfully readable; she writes with poignant humour, intellect and deep insight. The Curse of the Good Girl will be a companion to all adults who live and work with girls. Rachel's reputation as Girl Whisperer is sustained.
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