The Good Girl Revolution

Commentary Magazine calls Girls Gone Mild "charming, moving, sometimes heartbreaking"

Sam Schulman writes in the October issue of Commentary magazine:

Shalit’s villains—like the figure of Satan in Paradise Lost, they are, in truth, among the more fascinating characters in her drama—are almost always figures of authority, people who have a claim to superiority by virtue of their age, their role as parents, or their professional status. They include the male professor who suggests that a female student “dress more provocatively,” the upper-middle-class do-gooders at NOW who refuse to condemn Girls Gone Wild, the middle-school teacher who encourages her girls to prepare simulated lap-dances for student recitals, “mothers defend[ing] see-through shirts, fathers rally[ing] for cleavage during the school day, and Catholic schoolteachers advocat[ing] for miniskirts.”

In Shalit’s re-creation, the vulgar sexualization against which her heroines struggle is thus in most cases something imposed on them not so much by their peers as by adults, in an act of imperialism de haut en bas. It is the authorities who have gone wild, and the young who suffer. . .

And the good news? Shalit’s evangel is that, spontaneously, many girls are beginning to resist—rediscovering the virtues of self-assertion by rejecting the expectations of others to be “people-pleasing bad girls."


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Notable and Quotable

“The girls [whom the Times reporter] interviewed cited wholesome-seeming celebrities as their favorites. . . Is it possible that today’s teens have seen enough to inoculate them against the pressures of their teenage years?”

--Stephanie Rosenbloom, "Grade-School Girls, Grown-up Gossip," New York Times, May 27, 2007