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The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence Paperback – August 31, 2010


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Frequently Bought Together

The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence + Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls + Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World
Price for all three: $32.10

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014311798X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143117988
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this volume for parents of middle-school daughters, the author of Odd Girl Out observes that girls today still pressure themselves to conform to the old, narrow paradigm of a nice, people-pleasing, rule-following, even-tempered, socially acceptable good girl, shunning the image of a rebellious, proud, socially outré, in-charge, outspoken bad girl. To dispel the curse of the good girl, and despite using those familiar, easily misconstrued labels as a touchstone, Girls Leadership Institute founder Simmons offers instructive tales out of school and workshops, revealing that flawed communication rituals and fear of confrontation contribute equally to a girl's belief that it is more important to be liked than to be an individual. In order to become a successful, well-adjusted real girl, she needs to know how to say no to peers, ask for what she needs and express what she thinks. In the second half of this book, parents will find concrete strategies and tools—confidence-building exercises that emphasize emotional intelligence, self-evaluations, q&a's, scripts and lots of first-person stories—to help guide a girl's growth into a young woman who can respect and listen to her inner voice, say what she feels and thinks, embrace her limits and present an authentic self to the world. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Rachel Simmons is the author of The New York Times bestseller Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, the first book to explore the phenomenon of bullying among girls. Simmons works internationally with girls, parents, and teachers to develop strategies to address bullying and to empower girls. A graduate of Vassar College in 1998, Simmons won a Rhodes scholarship and attended Oxford University, where she began studying female aggression. Simmons is the founding director of the Girls’ Leadership Institute, a summer program for middle and high school girls, and currently serves as a consultant to schools and organizations around the world.

More About the Author

Rachel Simmons is the author of the New York Times bestseller Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. As an educator and coach, Rachel works internationally to develop strategies to address bullying and empower girls.

After graduating from Vassar College, Rachel won a Rhodes Scholarship from New York in 1998. She attended Oxford University, where she began her study of female aggression.

The founder of the Girls Leadership Institute, Rachel currently serves as a consultant to schools and organizations around the world. She has worked as a classroom teacher at Miss Hall's School in Massachusetts and the Roedean School in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Rachel is the host of the upcoming PBS television special, "A Girl's Life," and writes an advice blog for girls at TeenVogue.com.

Rachel has appeared on Oprah, Today, and other major national programs. Odd Girl Out was adapted into a highly acclaimed Lifetime television movie. Rachel lives in Brooklyn with her West Highland Terrier, Rosie, who is currently taking private workshops with Rachel to learn how to stop bullying other dogs.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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It is thought provoking and worth reading several times.
Nancy Mehegan
Since reading this book, I have recommended it to everyone I know-and certainly everyone I know who has ever been a girl or is raising girls.
Pamela Shifman
On the last point, the book offers a practical guide for parents (and teachers and coaches and all adults who interact with girls).
Jacqueline Payne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J Squares on April 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have been reading this book for several months. I keep finding new truths that remind me of my personal journey, through self exploration and through life. Most exceptional, is how much of what this author speaks of that can be applied to SO many women- women I know, women I'm related to, women with whom I work, women whose work I've read, women I treat as patients. I feel that most all women of this time and place could find something relatable in this discussion.

The book is an exploration of the complicated messages girls are receiving from society, from their families, from their teachers and from their friends. To be a "good girl", we must honor others' feelings before our own, diminish our grievances to avoid conflicts, avoid confrontation so as not to seem mean spirited, and thus promote dishonesty with each other and with ourselves.
This of course, leads to a suffocating mix of avoidance and frustration in personal relationships, as well as in professional spheres. How many of us have trembled at the idea of saying "That's not right/fair" or "I'm worth more than that" at work? I know I have. Or in relationships, how many of us cry unabashedly at the first sign of a disagreement, thus negating any rationale resolution or productive further discussion?

This author works with girls in leadership workshops that help young women develop their voice and learn ways to communicate that voice more effectively. They learn to develop healthy egos that allow for open communication of their needs/desires/opinions/feelings within all relationships.
What an extraordinary concept! That our families of origin, even those who were nuturing, were also leading us to some pretty toxic behavior.
Read more ›
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Jacqueline Payne on September 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I intitially picked up this book out of professional interest. As an advocate for women's rights and a student of leadership development, I was interested in learning from Rachel's experience working with young women at the Girl's Leadership Institute. What I didn't expect was the degree of self-reflection this book provoked. How had my lovely, graceful, care-taking mother been raised in the 40s and 50s? What lessons did I learn as a girl about appropriate behavior and having -- much less sharing -- needs? How do I see these trends play out with women in the workplace? How many young women have I coached to know their own value as they negotiated for a raise, promotion, or new job? How will I teach - or not teach - these lessons to my own children? On the last point, the book offers a practical guide for parents (and teachers and coaches and all adults who interact with girls). With Rachel's help -- and the help of all the mothers and daughters who shared their stories in this book so that we might learn from their experience -- we can raise a generation of authentic girls who truly know and like themselves.

Jackie Payne
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Mehegan VINE VOICE on August 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a MUST for any woman to read! A truly intelligent book, without the usual bromides. It is thought provoking and worth reading several times.

Society provides confusing messages to girls. As young children girls they are fed fairy tales that teach complance and modesty. Then they are thrust into the working world as young adults that suddenly demands competence, confidence and assertiveness. It's a bit like the "double-bind" psychologists describe of contradictory messages. In a sense girls are forced to walk around with a big chunk of kryptonite that drains them of all power. (like Superman, remember?)

This books is a MUST for teachers and parents. It's about girls finding their "truth", the true voice , their life guide. This is a VITAL SUBJECT.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Yvette Esprey on August 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In her delightfully anticipated new book, The Curse of the Good Girl, Rachel Simmons strikes the precipitous balance between empathizing with the plight of the adolescent Good Girl, whilst simultaneously understanding the challenge of the adults who must navigate the stormy adolescent waters with their daughters. It is clear in her writing that Rachel's gift is in her capacity to truly KNOW the experience of the girls to whom she has dedicated her career, and to make sense of it in a way which allows her to respond with startling accuracy to the challenges facing today's teen. She invites parents and educators to join in her in this knowing, and so to begin to respond sensitively to the responsibility they have as caregivers. This book has the potential to create an inter-generational bridge, providing a framework for communication between adults and adolescents, and in so doing allowing both to explore their authentic selves with courage and confidence. Rachel's style is compellingly personal; in reading this book I felt that she was in conversation with me, speaking both to the adult in me and to the adolescent girl who remains so alive in memory. Her style is wonderfully readable; she writes with poignant humour, intellect and deep insight. The Curse of the Good Girl will be a companion to all adults who live and work with girls. Rachel's reputation as Girl Whisperer is sustained.
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