Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls

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REVISED AND UPDATED
WITH NEW MATERIAL ON CYBERBULLYING AND
HELPING GIRLS HANDLE THE DANGERS OF LIFE ONLINE When Odd Girl Out was first published, it became an instant bestseller and ignited a long-overdue conversation about the hidden culture of female bullying. Today the dirty looks, taunting notes, and social exclusion that plague girls’ friendships have gained new momentum in cyberspace.In this updated edition, educator and bullying expert Rachel Simmons gives girls, parents, and educators proven and innovative strategies for navigating social dynamics in person and online, as well as brand new classroom initiatives and step-by-step parental suggestions for dealing with conventional bullying. With up-to-the-minute research and real-life stories, Odd Girl Out continues to be the definitive resource on the most pressing social issues facing girls today. READING GROUP GUIDE AND TEACHER’S GUIDE available at www.marinnerreadersguides.com
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About the author

RACHEL SIMMONS, best-selling author of Odd Girl Speaks Out and The Curse of the Good Girl, is an educator and cofounder of the Girls Leadership Institute. A Rhodes Scholar, she has appeared on Today, Oprah, and other major shows, including her own PBS special, and writes frequently for Teen Vogue.
www.rachelsimmons.com

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Additional Information

Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Published on
Apr 1, 2003
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780547351025
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Language
English
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Genres
Family & Relationships / Life Stages / Adolescence
Psychology / Developmental / Adolescent
Psychology / Social Psychology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The national bestseller Odd Girl Out exposed a hidden culture of cruelty that had always been quietly endured by American girls. As Rachel Simmons toured the country, these girls found their voices and spoke to her about their pain. They wanted to talk-and they weren't the only ones. Mothers, teachers, counselors, young professional women, even fathers, came to Rachel with heart-wrenching personal stories that could no longer be kept secret.
Here, Rachel creates a safe place for girls to talk, rant, sound off, and find each other. The result is a collection of wonderful accounts of the inner lives of adolescent girls. Candid and disarming, creative and expressive, and always exceptionally self-aware, these poems, songs, confessions, and essays form a journal of American girlhood. They show us how deeply cruelty flows and how strongly these girls want to change.
Odd Girl Out helped girls find their voices; Odd Girl Speaks Out helps them tell their stories.

I'm always the odd girl out
No one talks to me
I try to be friendly and speak out
But I'm invisible, see?

You know, gossip is a natural thing in high school. I'm one of those girls that will
do it right in front of you. I'll whisper at my friends and look at you the whole time.
Then we'll all cut up laughing. You know we're talking about you.

My best friend and I started being friends with this other girl. But she was fat. It was hard because she always wanted to go down the slide second and she would crush us. We didn't want to tell her she was fat, so we decided to drop her. Her mother called my mother and
told her we were being mean. But we just couldn't be friends with her anymore.

-from Odd Girl Speaks Out
“My daughter used to be so wonderful. Now I can barely stand her and she won’t tell me anything. How can I find out what’s going on?”

“There’s a clique in my daughter’s grade that’s making her life miserable. She doesn’t want to go to school anymore. Her own supposed friends are turning on her, and she’s too afraid to do anything. What can I do?”

Welcome to the wonderful world of your daughter’s adolescence. A world in which she comes to school one day to find that her friends have suddenly decided that she no longer belongs. Or she’s teased mercilessly for wearing the wrong outfit or having the wrong friend. Or branded with a reputation she can’t shake. Or pressured into conforming so she won’t be kicked out of the group. For better or worse, your daughter’s friendships are the key to enduring adolescence—as well as the biggest threat to her well-being.

In her groundbreaking book, Queen Bees and Wannabes, Empower cofounder Rosalind Wiseman takes you inside the secret world of girls’ friendships. Wiseman has spent more than a decade listening to thousands of girls talk about the powerful role cliques play in shaping what they wear and say, how they respond to boys, and how they feel about themselves. In this candid, insightful book, she dissects each role in the clique: Queen Bees, Wannabes, Messengers, Bankers, Targets, Torn Bystanders, and more. She discusses girls’ power plays, from birthday invitations to cafeteria seating arrangements and illicit parties. She takes readers into “Girl World” to analyze teasing, gossip, and reputations; beauty and fashion; alcohol and drugs; boys and sex; and more, and how cliques play a role in every situation.

Each chapter includes “Check Your Baggage” sections to help you identify how your own background and biases affect how you see your daughter. “What You Can Do to Help” sections offer extensive sample scripts, bulleted lists, and other easy-to-use advice to get you inside your daughter’s world and help you
help her.

It’s not just about helping your daughter make it alive out of junior high. This book will help you understand how your daughter’s relationship with friends and cliques sets the stage for other intimate relationships as she grows and guides her when she has tougher choices to make about intimacy, drinking and drugs, and other hazards. With its revealing look into the secret world of teenage girls and cliques, enlivened with the voices of dozens of girls and a much-needed sense of humor, Queen Bees and Wannabes will equip you with all the tools you need to build the right foundation to help your daughter make smarter choices and empower her during this baffling, tumultuous time of life.
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.
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