Girls growing up in America today have more opportunities than their mothers and grandmothers ever imagined. They do well in school; by fifth grade they’re equal to boys in math and science, and they’re significantly better at reading and writing. They have more career choices, more flexibility in family roles and more female role models in positions of political power.
But even as doors open, girls may not be able to walk confidently through them. When they get to middle school, the self-esteem of girls plunges. Twice as many girls as boys attempt suicide. Twice as many show signs of depression. Girls have a higher risk of abusing alcohol and drugs, and violent physical assaults by girls have skyrocketed since 1990.
Rachel Simmons has been studying girls’s relationships, behavior and psychology for more than a decade. Her best-selling 2002 book Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls started a widespread cultural conversation about girls’ psychological aggression and bullying. Her recently published new book, Curse of the Good Girl, traces the impact of our internalized ideas of “girlhood” on girls’ psychological development.
In A Girl’s Life, Simmons goes back into the field to introduce audiences to four typical teenage American girls. The girls tell their own deeply personal tales of dealing with issues like cyberbullying, body image and violence.
Simmons also interviews parents, psychologists, teachers, and social workers. They share tips on how to help nurture girls into capable, resilient adults. And, as viewers trace the thorny new challenges girls face, the girls themselves reveal an inspiring supply of strength, energy, smarts and support for each other. With courage and determination, these girls reveal their hopes and dreams for a powerful future. As Sonia Luna points out, “The best thing about being a girl is that we can do anything.”
- Tug YourgrauProducer