I was watching a sitcom many years ago, and the lead female character, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, referred to her breasts as "the girls." The lead male said in admiration "Those aren't the girls. They are the women's auxiliary!" I have no idea why that line stuck in my head. Maybe because I was jealous of Jamie Lee Curtis's perfect bust.
Women and girls have always had mixed feelings about their breasts, and very little notion of how to care for them. Taking Care of Your "Girls" is a book long overdue. Written by a mother and her college-aged daughter, it is full of good advice, funny stories, diagrams and many, many quotes from girls and women.
I like the message that everyone should be at peace in their own skin; that there isn't a perfect way to look. I'm still jealous of Jamie Lee Curtis's figure, but I'm comfortable with myself. I'm handing this book to my teenage daughter when she gets home from high school. Anyone with "girls" will appreciate it.
Here's the chapter list:
Introduction: Isabel's Take
Part One: Knowing Your "Girls" Inside and Out
1. Breast Development: Hormones, Puffy Nipples, Growing Breasts
2. Breast Size and Shape: Just Right, Too Big, Too Small, Uneven
3. What's That? Noticing, Feeling, and Checking for Breast Changes
4. Skin Stuff: Stretch Marks, Breakouts, Rashes
5. Nipple Tips: Itches, Fluid, Hair, Inverted, and Other Stuff
6. Normal Breast Changes: Lumps, Cysts, Thick Areas, Pain
Part Two: Taking Care of Your "Girls"
7. Self-Image and Teasing: Standing Up for Yourself and Feeling Your Personal Power
8. Bras for You: Cami, Athletic, Underwire, Padded, Lace
9. Show Off, Cover Up, or Glide By? Dress to Express and Move with Confidence
10. When You Want Your Breast Size to be Different: From Padded Bras to Surgery
11. From Tight Bras to Antiperspirants: Replacing Breast Cancer Fears with Facts
12. Think Pink, Live Green: A Planet-Friendly Guide for Healthy Breasts
on September 9, 2008
This book brought back so many memories for me! When I turned 11 my mom gave me the book Our Bodies Ourselves, which made having my period seem far less deadly. So I romped into adolescence feeling educated and prepared, and everything happened according to plan. I got my period once and then didn't for almost a year, but I knew that was normal thanks to my book. Unfortunately, I also got one boob and then didn't get the other one for almost a year, and I had no idea that was going to happen. That summer of being 13 was one of the most embarrassing of my life... just try being a C cup on one side and a boy on the other AND spending every day of your summer at the neighborhood pool. After that year, when things evened out, the embarrassment subsided, thank god! Then my mom gave me a shower placard to show me how to do self exams, and I read the part about breast discharge, squeezed my areola and just knew I was going to die of breast cancer -- that I was going to be the youngest person ever in the world to DIE of breast cancer. Now, with two healthy, happy, albeit stretch marked beyond repair breasts, I realize that my fears were a waste of emotion. I was perfectly normal!! Taking Care of Your Girls is just the necessary volume to add to the collection of books All Middle School Aged Girls Should Get. It isn't clinical, but it is well-informed and helpful. It speaks to you like a good friend about things you're really not ready to share with good friends when you're that age. Thanks for finally writing this book, from me and my girls!
on September 7, 2008
Taking Care of Your "Girls" is a comprehensive book on breast health every young girl and teen--and their moms--should read. Although written in easy-to-understand language by breast cancer specialist Dr. Marisa Weiss and her 18-year-old daughter, Isabel, the book never talks down to the young audience, but rather presents information clearly and precisely on what to expect as breasts develop and answers some common concerns girls have about their breasts. For example, why no two breasts are alike, even on the same person.
Taking Care of Your "Girls" not only deals with the cosmetic changes young breasts go through and supplemented with fun illustrations of various breast sizes and shapes, but also explains the difference between normal breast changes and what happens when breasts become cancerous. Rather than being timid about discussing the difficult topic of breast cancer, the book confronts girls' fear about the disease head-on, offering detailed explanations of how breast cancer develops, the risk factors for contracting the disease and how the cancer is treated. Perhaps even more importantly, the book empowers girls to take control of their long-term breast care now by establishing lifelong healthy habits such as eating a nutritious diet, exercising, not smoking and maintaining consistent weight.
Filled with quotes from girls about their experiences and concerns about their developing breasts, including the basics like how to shop for the right bra, Taking Care of Your "Girls" celebrates the differences in girls' developing bodies and answers questions adolescents are often too embarrassed to ask. Every girl will see herself on these pages.
on October 8, 2008
Author & Book Views On A Healthy Life!
Book Review: Taking Care of Your "Girls": A Breast Health Guide for Girls, Teens, and In-Betweens (Three Rivers Press, 2008) by Marisa C. Weiss, M.D. and Isabel Friedman
Marisa Weiss and Isabel Friedman call themselves a breast-doctor mom and teen daughter duo. Dr. Weiss is also the co-author of Living Beyond Breast Cancer, and 7 Minutes!: How to Get the Most from Your Doctor Visit. She is the founder of Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, has served on the National Cancer Institute Director's Consumer Liaison Group (2000-2007), and is the founder of the nonprofit Breastcancer.org.
Taking Care of Your "Girls" is in part based on a survey of over 3,000 girls from both public and private schools, grades 6 through 12, and their mothers. Divided into 2 sections, the book includes illustrations, identification of breast parts, answers to tough questions (ex. Why do some boys get breasts?), and provides insight into the minds of teenagers through feedback from girls surveyed.
Taking Care of Your "Girls" covers:
* Breast development from before birth and into puberty (over the course of 10 years) addressing the effects of genes, hormones, nutrition on growth.
* Self examinations: when to begin, how, what to look for. Also noted here are the several types of tests physicians conduct on breasts for evaluation (really great reading, even for adults).
* Stretch marks, acne, rashes, chafing, birthmarks, yeast infections
* What's up with nipples? Hair, bumps, inverted nipples.
* Normal changes--this is an important chapter regarding lumps, cysts, pain, and thick areas, and is especially important for the growing girl to read.
* Bras: Did you know that this idea began in Greece 6500 years ago!? Learn how to fit them, what kind to purchase, and know the need for wearing one.
* Surgical breast augmentation--explained but NOT condoned.
* Fears of breast cancer are faced and addressed: only 1 in 10 breast cancer diagnoses is a result of genes, it is more common in men than in women, older women are at higher risk, testing is available for those with gene abnormalities.
* Lesser risk factors are pointed out regarding smoking, lack of exercise, alcohol consumption, diet, hormone therapy, lack of breastfeeding, late pregnancy, etc..
The authors also explain how breast cancer is discovered and treated.
Did you know that about 90% of moms would like to discuss breast health with their daughters, but only 30% have done so? And did you also know that more than 20% of girls think that breast cancer could be caused by infection, tanning, drug use, stress, breast injury, or a bruise? None of these is actually a risk factor. Dr. Weiss and Ms. Friedman write, "Few girls know how to keep their breasts healthy."
Taking Care of Your "Girls" is more than a book about girls, breast development, and health. It is a tool which mothers can use with their daughters, to pass on knowledge and the gift of womanhood from one generation to the next.
on December 21, 2008
I have a tween daughter. So, as I read Taking Care of Your Girls, I hoped to find out what I should tell her, what she might want to know, and honestly, I thought that I might learn some stuff about breast health, too, which is more on my mind as I near forty.
It didn't really teach me much that I need to know at my age. It's not that kind of book. This book is formatted in the way that I believe is best for non-fiction books for or about tweens and teens: It is full of quotes and questions from the target group, and it is written by a mother-daughter team -- breast-health doctor Marisa C. Weiss and her college daughter Isabel Friedman. It's the perfect combination. Weiss gives the facts straight and Weiss fills them in with a real girl's reaction to the facts by sharing her own stories, those of her younger cousin, or those of the many girls who were interviewed for this book.
Topics covered include
* breast development
* breast size and shape (diagrams included!)
* noticing and checking from breast changes
* stretch marks, breakouts, and rashes
* self-image and teasing
* dress to express
* and even padded bras and surgery to change your size
In reading this book, you won't learn about the best diet to ward off breast cancer (although it does mention general diet and lifestyle facts that reduce the risk), or when exactly you should get that baseline mammogram, but if you have a daughter from age eight or nine on up through young adult, you will find out what she is wondering about her breasts. After reading it yourself, you can pass it on to her to read, or share with her in bits and chunks.
on April 15, 2009
The mother-daughter duo of Marisa Weiss, doctor, and Isabel Friedman, college student, works perfectly together to offer practical and medical advice on how to take care of our breasts. From puffy nipples to different breast sizes, Weiss answers every girl's question in an easy-to-understand format. Friedman offers side comments in the teenage vernacular creating a style that converts an often embarrassing subject into one we can even discuss with friends and relatives. Especially since that's where we got our own peculiar breast style in the first place. Weiss tells us that if we start developing slowly and wish our breasts were larger, we should just look at the women in our families to see what ours will probably look like by the time we're 25 or 30 years old.
Worries about breast size, nipple changes, normal lumps, bras, and breast cancer may disappear after reading this book. The authors reassure us what to look for, how to react, and who to call when we're not sure if our breasts are healthy. They also cover self-image, teasing, padded and push-up bras, how to maximize our breasts or how to minimize them.
A book I could have used when I was a teenager, I'm definitely going to buy a few copies for the special "girls" in my life.
by Susan M. Andrus
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
on October 21, 2008
I have two teenage daughters and was recently diagnosis with breast cancer. I am very open about my pre-menopausal disease with my daughters and also about my sister's pre-menopausal breast cancer diagnosis which was almost 12 years ago. As my daughters watch me go through the healing process and chemo, they express concern for me as well is what is in store for them in the future. The book, Taking Care of Your Girls: A Breast Health Guide for Girls, Teens, and In-Betweens has been a tremendous catalysis in fostering discussion and replacing fear with facts. It is written in a language that is comfortable and understandable for all. I have sent this book to several of my friends with teenage daughters and they share my sentiment about this book's value for healthy and informed breast health. I would highly recommend this book to all Moms/Daughters and it was especially helpful to our family and friend during this process.
on September 15, 2008
I was surprised at how interested my daughter was in this book. She will learn all about health issues she is curious about and I can relax about covering all those issues with her. It's like I get another adult, the book, to help tell my daughter about her upcoming entry into womanhood. I will use this book as a teacher present and as a bat mitzvah present, because other girls and other parents will love this book too.
on July 10, 2015
Never purchased and never wanted it!!