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Meeting at the Crossroads Paperback – August 10, 1993

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Should sound a national alert to society that even our most privileged girls still pursue normal femininity at great risk to personal and civic health."
Lyn Mike Brown and Carol Gilligan ask "What, on the way to womanhood, does a girl give up?" One hundred girls gave voice to what is rarely spoken and often ignored: that the passage out of girlhood is a journey into silence and disconnection, a troubled crossing when a girl loses a firm sense of self and becomes tentative and unsure. These changes mark the endge of adolescence as a watershed in women's psychological development and the stories the girls tell are by turns heartrending and courageous. Listening to these girls provides us with the means of reaching out to them at this critical time, and of better understanding what we as women and men may have left behind at our own crossroads.

About the Author

Lyn Mikel Brown is Associate Professor of Education and Women's, Gender, and Sexual Studies at Colby College and co-creator of Hardy Girls Healthy Women (www.hardygirlshealthywomen.org). She is the author of Raising Their Voices: The Politics of Girls Anger and, with Carol Gilligan, Meeting at the Crossroads: Women's Psychology and Girls' Development. She lives in Waterville, ME.

Carol Gilligan has been University Professor at New York University since 2002. She is also a visiting professor at the University of Cambridge affiliated with the Centre for Gender Studies and with Jesus College. She previously taught at Harvard University for more than thirty years and became Harvard's first gender studies professor in 1997. Her groundbreaking book, In a Different Voice (1982) led to critical acclaim, after which she initiated the Harvard Project on Women's Psychology and Girls' Development and co-authored or edited five books. She received a Senior Research Scholar Award from the Spencer Foundation, a Grawemeyer Award for her contributions to education, and a Heinz Award for her contributions to understanding the human condition, and was named by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Americans. Most recently, The Birth of Pleasure (2002) was described by the Times Literary Supplement as 'a thrilling new paradigm.' Her play, 'The Scarlet Letter, ' was part of the 2007 WomenCenterStage festival in New York City and will be produced by The Culture Project next year. Her monologue, 'My House Is Wallpapered with Lies, ' was performed as part of the June 2006 V-Day festival, 'Until the Violence Stops: NYC.' Her first novel, Kyra, was published in 2008. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 10, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345382951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345382955
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book was based on five years of interviews with nearly 100 girls between the ages of seven and eighteen at a private girls' school in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1986 - 1990. The goal of this Harvard project was to explore girls' psychological journey from childhood to adolescence. The researchers began with a more traditional approach, separating the girls into an experimental group (using open-ended, more flexible interviews) and a control group (using more standardized methods). They soon discovered that this strategy was preventing the authentic relationships needed to gather useful information, so the researchers wisely re-evaluated and revised their approach. In this well-written book, the authors clarified the issues faced by the girls studied at three stages of development-childhood, pre-adolescence, and adolescence-primarily by describing the journeys of three individual guides for each stage. For example, the stories of Jessie, Sonia, and Lauren, the three childhood guides, connect the reader to the real-life issues faced by each girl over time. The guides' moving stories clearly documented the challenging journey from being able to speak clearly, directly, and honestly about relationship issues in childhood to often negating real feelings and thoughts through disassociation by adolescence. The researchers highlighted the psychological perils of silencing one's own voice and the potential political risks of not doing so. Given the all-girl setting, one might wonder how different the results would be in a mixed-gender school. There were hopeful signs, too. By the end of the project, the school's adult women realized that they needed to overcome their own self-silencing to provide healthier role models for the girls. Also, by listening to and validating girls' experience, adults, particularly women, can serve as hopeful beacons for change.
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Format: Paperback
The early chapters of this book, are very hard going, as the authors justify and re-justify their research methodology. However, when you get clear of this, the conversations with girls as they grow older, at different points in their lives, are fascinating. I found myself thinking through episodes in my own life and the life of my 13year old girl, to see how she has changed, and how my interventions or questions or just being there have helped (and hopefully not hindered too severely) her grow strong and confident. In the end, a powerful story of girls growing into womenhood, and the challenges they face.
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Format: Paperback
This is a necessary and revolutionary book for anyone interested in adolescent psychology, the female coming of age experience, and relationships between girls, young women, and adult women in and among our U.S. society. Although this book was written 13 years ago, I still found it relevant and full of insight pertaining to girls and young women today. What was most helpful to me as an educator and researcher on this very topic was the Listener's Guide which could easily be modified in the classroom as a "Reader's Guide" in order to assist students/readers in analyzing a coming of age novel or text. Although I found the book repetitious at times, it is still a fascinating study which results in well-documented research and "new" psychological theory pertaining to girls' development as they come of age.
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