She shows why contemporary girls have become so worried about their shape, size and muscle tone and discusses "breast buds," brassieres, figure control, dieting, clothes shopping, body piercing and genital piercing. "In a culture, where everything is 'up close and personal,' it should not surprise us that some young women today regard the entire body, even its most private parts, as a message board," Brumberg writes.
Such trends have led to sexual coercion of young girls, the demise of chastity as an ideal, the waning of virginity, the rise of sexually active girls throughout middle America and dwindling parental power. Although girls enjoy a new world of sexual freedom, Brumberg says, it is fraught with hazards since many girls are also victims of a century of change in sexual mores and behaviors.
Brumberg's research and writing on adolescent girls has received the support of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Rockefeller Foundation.