Book 18: Raising Confident Girls by Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer

I picked this book up for free, after it and a few other feminist books were rejected by the buy-back service at 2nd and Charles (they were really overstocked). I was stoked on it as soon as i saw the title, and even more stoked when I glanced through and saw the formatting. As I mentioned in my post  A Baker’s Dozen Reviews to Look Forward to, this book includes advice for parents AND teachers on raising confident girls. In the world of ‘boys will be boys,’ we need more voices encouraging girls to be confident in their actions and opinions.

Parents and teachers have a huge effect on the way that girls’ personalities are shaped, as well as their confidence. Arming those influential adults with effective methods to foster a healthier atmosphere for girls is key. This book has 100 tips for doing just that.

The beginning of chapter one mentions the changes that our culture has undergone, mentioning the progress that women’s rights have undergone. Seeing as how this book was published in 2001, I expected a bit of misalignment with current feminist issues, and I thoroughly disliked the approach towards men to begin with (“regarded as creating more problems than they are worth” p. 6).I did appreciated the mention of mental health early on, and I was optimistic in part. Then came along the term “female” instead of woman/girl, and my hopes were again dashed in part. Did I mention that this book is problematic? Well, it is.

A few of my favorite tips, bits of advice, etc.
(All direct quotes from the text.)

  • Approve of who she is, even if you dislike what she does.
  • Some children don’t like too much hugging. Don’t force it.
  • Allow her some privacy.
  • Encourage her to care for others, but not to deny her own needs in the process or to define herself solely as a “giver.”
  • Support her when she’s under stress.
  • Offer choices.
  • Accept her friends.
  • Use reasons to explain, not persuade.
  • Punishment without humiliation.
  • Show interest, but don’t be intrusive.
  • Promote self-direction.

*Several of the points about came from the advice columns for parents or teachers on how to act on the broad and general tips.

My biggest take-away from this book is that it truly takes effort to build girls up in a society that constantly works against them.

I give this book a 6/10. Points deducted for the obvious lack of trans-inclusive rhetoric and other weird ideals being promoted.

Raising Confident Girls: 100 Tips For Parents And Teachers


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