Adolescent girls growing up in today’s society endure many more hardships than in previous years. Adolescence is no longer a time of endless sunny days spent on the back porch with a glass of country time lemonade and a smile extending ear to ear. Adolescence for girls is now generalized as a dark and depressing period of life that often seems hopeless and never ending. Mary Pipher PH.D tries to illustrate just how drastically life has changed over the years for teenage girls through her best selling book “Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls”. Although Mary Pipher was once a clinical psychologist, she articulates very well for everyone to clearly understand her ideas and perspectives. One way she is able to transfer her ideas to her readers without losing any of the emotion and feeling is by using actual quotes by her adolescent girl clients. I feel this is a very effective way to keep the readers attention and to convey the reality of the problems many teenagers are trapped in. I agree with Pipher that our society has changed for the worse even though we are persuaded to think that we are moving in the right direction. Yes, equal right movements have been placed in the law, but the respect that people once had for women has been eliminated. Comparing girls’ true selves to the Bermuda Triangle, Mary Pipher goes to great depth to explain what a mysterious trend this has become. No one can reason why these girls can no longer appreciate anything in life when just a few years before a spittle bug could have kept them mesmerized for an hour. Pipher recalls early in the book the image of Shakespeare’s Ophelia drowning herself due to failed attempts to please both her father and hamlet. She states that adolescent girls are similarly drowning in confusion as they try to sort out details in their life, and decide whom they really want to please. I really liked how Pipher points out that during the most stressful time during girls lives, our society stresses the importance of cutting the emotional ties with moms and dads although this is the time when parental guidance and support would most likely be needed, but maybe not appreciated at the time. However, some parents can actually impact the girl’s choices negatively by insisting that they grow up too fast or to confine to the norm.
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...choose what colors I want to go with. It is also difficult for girls to manage pain because at this age they take everything so personal. This is when Pipher presents painting or poems to express hurt as a substitute for self-mutilation or drugs and alcohol. Adolescent girls basically need to put blinders on to prevent seeing any bad, they need to concentrate on the good times when they had no worries, unfortunately most adolescent girls “crawl in a deep dark hole” where light is no longer remembered.
In conclusion, Mary Pipher’s main point in writing “Reviving Ophelia” is to reveal how adolescent girls are being neglected and overlooked. We must be willing to look beyond the surface, become involved, and support girls as they develop physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. We must strive for something better for our teens. We cannot keep labeling our “daughters and sisters”, instead we have got to give them a path that leads to self-esteem. The media will give the public what they are search for. Right now that has been women roles that are lessened and more sexualized for the pleasures of men.
Pipher, Mary. "Reviving Ophelia"