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“Anorexia of the Soul”

I read “For Girls, It’s Be Yourself, and Be Perfect, Too”—from the front page of yesterday’s New York Times—with interest and a mounting sense of despair. It’s a profile of high-achieving teenaged girls, and this quotation, I believe, captures the essence of the article:

If you are free to be everything, you are also expected to be everything. What it comes down to, in this place and time, is that the eternal adolescent search for self is going on at the same time as the quest for the perfect résumé.

This is such a bummer. It’s a bummer because the idea that a girl can do anything was supposed to be—and, for many, has been—liberating. It was supposed to mean that a girl could take advanced science classes or run on the track team or be class president; now it seems to mean that a girl must take advanced science classes and run on the track team and be class president if she wants to get into Princeton or Stanford or Reed or Wellesley. Pursuits that should be passions, that should be a source of joy, become an exhausting exercise in brand-building.

Continue reading over at my other blog…

April 2, 2007 | Permalink

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