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 (59 ratings)
15 mins

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.

Table of Contents

    Girls & Sex
    summarized in 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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    Best quote from Girls & Sex

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

    —Peggy Orenstein
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    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.

    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

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