Excerpt from Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Queen Bees & Wannabes

Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Adolescence

by Rosalind Wiseman

Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman X
Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2002, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2003, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Everyone knows that girls are under tremendous pressure to fit in; this is one of the reasons why they suffer from a decrease in self-esteem as they enter adolescence. This decrease is usually attributed to teen magazines, MTV, and other aspects of popular culture that give negative and conflicting messages to girls. While there's some truth in this, it doesn't explain the whole story. Girls have strict social hierarchies based on what our culture tells us about what constitutes ideal femininity. At no time in your daughter's life is it more important to her to fit these elusive girl standards than adolescence. But who is the prime enforcer of these standards? The movies? The teen magazines? Nope, it's the girls themselves. They police each other, conducting surveillance on who's breaking the laws of appearance, clothes, interest in boys, and personality—all of which have a profound influence on the women they become. Your daughter gets daily lessons about what's sexy (read 'in') from her friends. She isn't watching MTV or reading quizzes in teen magazines by herself. She processes this information with and through her friends.

We can't just point the finger at the media for the things girls do to each other. We also have to point to ourselves for not challenging the culture that creates these problems, and we must, as must our daughters. Girls will only reach their full potential if they're taught to be the agents of their own social change. As we guide girls through adolescence, we have to acknowledge it, name it, and act to change the effect of Girl World on girls.


So Why Listen to Me?

For the last ten years I've been learning from and teaching girls. As the cofounder and president of the Empower Program, I have spent thousands of hours talking to girls between the ages of ten and twenty-one about everything from gossip and cliques to rape and abusive relationships. Our motto is "Violence should not be a rite of passage," but for far too many girls, it is.

Along with Empower's staff educators, we developed a curriculum called Owning Up"™* that teaches young people between the ages of twelve and twenty-one the skills to understand and proactively address the impact of Girl World (and Boy World, too). Today, through Empower and "Owning Up,"™ we teach over four thousand boys and girls each year in the Washington, D.C., area and reach thousands more through our professional training programs throughout the country. Under the direction of professionals at Mount Sinai Adolescent Hospital and Rutgers University, our program evaluations show significant decreases in verbal and physical aggression in our students after the program's completion. In conjunction with Liz Claiborne, Inc., I have developed educational materials about abusive relationships and created specific tools to help parents reach out to their daughters.

In PTA meetings and with other groups, I talk to parents who feel overwhelmed by the challenges of parenting a teen, whether they're trying to rescue a daughter in an abusive relationship or helping one cope with the tribulations of being passed over for the prom.

I teach girls today in a variety of settings—from weekly health classes to speeches in front of high schools, universities, and youth organizations. Whether I'm teaching in the most exclusive private school or the largest public school, the girls all bring the same concerns and fears. No matter what their income, religion, or ethnicity, they're struggling with the same issues about the pleasures and perils of friendships and how they act as a portal to the larger world.

I'm frequently asked why I started Empower. The easy answer is that I was in an abusive relationship in high school. My "therapy" was self-defense, which I taught, in turn, to high school girls as soon as I graduated from college. While martial arts did start me on a path that ended with my cofounding Empower, it isn't the only reason. When I first developed the "Owning Up"™ curricula, I looked back to my adolescence for initial answers. How did I, a "normal" girl, become vulnerable to violence?

Excerpted from Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman Copyright© 2002 by Rosalind Wiseman. Excerpted by permission of Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Timekeepers
    Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield
    If you can spare three minutes and 57 seconds, you can hear the driving, horse-gallop beat of Sade&#...
  • Book Jacket: How to Stop Time
    How to Stop Time
    by Matt Haig
    Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop Time, is afflicted with a condition of semi-immortality ...
  • Book Jacket: Mothers of Sparta
    Mothers of Sparta
    by Dawn Davies
    What it's about:
    The tagline on the back cover of Mothers of Sparta says it all: "Some women...
  • Book Jacket: Fortress America
    Fortress America
    by Elaine Tyler May
    In Fortress America, Elaine Tyler May presents a fascinating but alarming portrait of America's...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    As Bright as Heaven
    by Susan Meissner

    A story of a family reborn through loss and love in Philadelphia during the flu epidemic of 1918.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Force of Nature
    by Jane Harper

    A riveting, tension-driven thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

G O T P, B The P, F T P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.