Brumberg calls for a new era of "girl advocacy" in which multigenerational dialogues on sexual ethics would better prepare girls in ways that go far deeper than the simple maxim, "Just say no."
As a social "intimate" history of girls, Brumberg draws heavily from girls' diaries over the past 100 years to glean insights into the hidden history of female adolescence. Integrating information from history, the history of medicine, human development and women's studies, Brumberg discusses topics -- using a social historical perspective -- ranging from menarche, sanitary napkins and tampons to the hymen, brassieres, pimples and body piercing. She seeks to better understand why girls today view "good looks" as the highest form of female perfection, unlike girls 100 years ago who strived for "good works."
Whereas girls of yesteryear believed that paying less attention to the self and more attention to helping others was important for self-improvement and personal identity, today's girls "are concerned with the shape and appearance of their bodies as a primary expression of their individual identity," Brumberg writes.
The author of the much-lauded book on the history of anorexia nervosa, Fasting Girls (Harvard University Press, 1988; New American Library Paperback, 1990), Brumberg has embarked on a major book tour in an effort to make her scholarly research in women's history, cultural history and human development accessible to a broad audience. For example, she will discuss The Body Project, which is written and intended for mothers, daughters, teachers, students, historians and others interested in
Contact: Susan Lang
Cornell University News Service