Peggy Orenstein, who dissected the insidious “girlie girl” culture among young girls and pre-teens in her New York Times bestseller Cinderella Ate My Daughter, now directs her attention as journalist and mother to the next, perhaps most anxiety-provoking stage of our daughters’ lives: teenage sexuality. In Girls and Sex, Orenstein explores the widening gap between what parents may think they know about their daughters’ sexual lives and what girls are actually experiencing, as well as how they feel about it. Even as the media focuses on the controversies around campus rape and assault, Orenstein pursues a much broader agenda, examining how contemporary culture—saturated in sexting, casual hook-ups, and internet porn—affects high school and college girls and the choices they make.
“Did today’s young women have more freedom than their mothers to shape their sexual encounters, more influence and more control within them?” Orenstein wondered. “Were they better able to resist stigma, better equipped to explore joy? And if not, why not? Girls now live in a culture where, unless both parties agree unequivocally to a sexual encounter, there is no consent—only ‘yes means yes.’ All well and good, but what happens after yes?” To find out, Orenstein interviewed nearly one hundred women between the ages of fifteen and twenty, and consulted with dozens of psychologists, professors, and other experts. What she discovered was often surprising, frequently upsetting, always illuminating.
As Peggy Orenstein pulls back the curtain on the reality of girls’ sex lives in the modern world, she provides a timely and eye-opening examination of the sexual landscape in the post-princess state of girls’ development, while also providing girls and their parents comprehensive and in-depth information with which to navigate this complicated terrain.
Peggy Orenstein is the New York Times bestselling author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Waiting for Daisy, and Schoolgirls—still a classic, cornerstone work of girls’ studies twenty years after it was first published. A contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, she has been published in USA Today, Parenting, Salon, The New Yorker, and other publications, and has contributed commentaries to NPR’s All Things Considered. Orenstein has appeared on myriad shows, from Today to Fox & Friends to CNN. She lives in Northern California with her husband and their daughter, Daisy.
Co-sponsored by the Walnut Avenue Family and Women’s Center