American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers
by Nancy Jo Sales
Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape
by Peggy Orenstein
By some measures, girls appear to be faring rather well in twenty-first-century America. Teenage pregnancy rates have been in steady decline since the 1990s. Girls have higher graduation rates than their male counterparts at all educational levels. The popular culture abounds with inspirational images and anthems of girls “leaning in” and “running the world.” But according to two new, rather bleak books, these official signs of progress have given us an unduly rosy impression of the modern girl’s lot.
Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing the Way America Works
by Jay Newton-Small
My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency
by Doug Henwood
In addition to emphasizing what her presidency would do for women, Clinton and her surrogates have been working hard to invoke what it might mean for women in a grander, symbolic sense. As a woman president, she tells us, she wouldn’t just work for radical change, she would be radical change.
a play by Peter Morgan, directed by Stephen Daldry, at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, New York City, March 8–June 28, 2015
It is pretty rich that Peter Morgan should ask us to swoon and sympathize with a Queen who invokes the divine right of kings in an argument about why she needs a yacht. And it’s richer still that he should attempt, in the same play, to persuade us that the Queen is a woman of deeply liberal convictions.
Few would disagree that the systems for preventing and prosecuting sexual assault on US campuses are in need of change. But the efficacy and fairness of recent reforms that focus on making college grievance procedures more favorable to complainants and on codifying strict new definitions of sexual consent remain highly questionable.
It is one of the uncontested wisdoms of our era that “marriage is hard work.” The belief that conjugal happiness can be earned only by rigorous and sustained emotional labor is so deeply entrenched in the common culture that when Amy Dunne, the female protagonist of David Fincher’s new movie, Gone Girl, boasts cheerfully of finding marriage “easy,” it is as if she had entered Dracula’s castle scoffing at the existence of vampires: the audience knows at once that her hubris must be punished.
Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers
by Janet Malcolm
Mess has always inspired fervent emotions in Janet Malcolm. It agitates her. It depresses her. She considers it her enemy. The job of a writer, she likes to remind us, is to vanquish mess—to wade onto the seething porch of actuality, pick out a few elements with which to make a story, and consign the rest to the garbage dump. Images of clutter and panic-inducing domestic chaos crop up frequently in her work, not just as metaphors for the failure or absence of art, but as advertisements for her own narrative discipline. But if literal messes appall Malcolm, they also fascinate and attract her.