Girls & Sex Book Summary - Girls & Sex Book explained in key points
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Girls & Sex summary

Peggy Orenstein

Navigating the Complicated New Landscape

3.7 (73 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein explores the complexities of female sexuality in modern times, including topics such as consent, sexualization, and pornography.

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    Girls & Sex
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    The sexualization and objectification of women in the media has a harmful effect on young women.

    If you have a daughter, you surely want her to grow into a bright, confident and happy woman. And for this reason, you may already be concerned about her exposure to certain aspects of modern media – in particular, the way it portrays young women.

    All too often, the media portrays women as sexual objects, which can affect the way young women go about their daily life and deal with their own sexuality.

    Many of the high school- and college-aged women the author spoke to readily compared themselves to the women they’d seen in movies, on television and in magazines.

    The young women in ads, blockbusters and TV series are rarely given any sort of personality or deep characterization. Rather, they serve as the object of desire and lust for older men. Because of this, many of the young women interviewed said they felt unsure of how to behave around other boys and girls.

    Sadly, this sexual objectification is commonly reinforced by celebrities, such as Beyonce and Miley Cyrus, who wear tight clothing and make blatant sexual gestures onstage in front of hordes of young female fans.

    To be fair, these singers often suggest that this is a way for them to reclaim their sexuality and present themselves as strong, independent women. But this could just as easily be seen as a clever way to use marketing and modern media to increase their own popularity.

    For instance, back in 2013, Miley Cyrus created a media storm by suggestively twerking on stage against Robin Thicke. Her popularity skyrocketed, and she sold millions of records overnight.

    Keep in mind, these singers are part of a music industry that wants to promote slim, half-naked women. One rarely sees a fully dressed or rather plump pop diva.

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    What is Girls & Sex about?

    Girls & Sex (2016) illuminates the shadowy landscape of sex and sexuality that girls and young women struggle to navigate today. Many developing women are trying to find the right balance between who society wants them to be and who they want to be themselves. This is no easy task, but we can make it easier by changing the way we talk about sex and by empowering girls to shape their own future.

    Girls & Sex Review

    Girls & Sex explores the complex world of contemporary girls' sexuality, shedding light on the challenges they face and the impact of cultural and societal influences. Here are three reasons why this book is worth reading:

    • With a thought-provoking approach, Peggy Orenstein raises important questions about how girls navigate the world of sex, consent, and relationships.
    • The book offers insights based on in-depth interviews with a diverse range of girls, providing a nuanced and comprehensive understanding of their experiences.
    • Orenstein's relatable storytelling creates an engaging narrative that keeps readers captivated and encourages reflection on topics often considered taboo.

    Best quote from Girls & Sex

    To me, purity and hypersexualization are flip sides of the same coin.

    —Peggy Orenstein
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    Who should read Girls & Sex?

    • Parents of young daughters
    • Teenagers uncertain about sex and its consequences
    • Teachers eager to help girls lead a better life

    About the Author

    Peggy Orenstein is a prolific and popular writer whose work can be read online at Salon or in the pages of the New Yorker, USA Today and the New York Times magazine. She is also the author of multiple best-selling books, including Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Flux, Schoolgirls and Waiting for Daisy.

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    Girls & Sex FAQs 

    What is the main message of Girls & Sex?

    The main message of Girls & Sex is to explore and understand the complexities of girls' sexuality in today's society.

    How long does it take to read Girls & Sex?

    The reading time for Girls & Sex varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes a few hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Girls & Sex a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Girls & Sex is an insightful and thought-provoking book that sheds light on important issues surrounding girls' sexuality. It is definitely worth reading to gain a deeper understanding.

    Who is the author of Girls & Sex?

    Peggy Orenstein is the author of Girls & Sex.

    What to read after Girls & Sex?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Girls & Sex, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Boys & Sex by Peggy Orenstein
    • What Do Women Want? by Daniel Bergner
    • Dear Girls by Ali Wong
    • Untrue by Wednesday Martin
    • Untangled by Lisa Damour
    • 13 Things Mentally Strong Couples Don't Do by Amy Morin
    • Practical Optimism by Sue Varma
    • The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir