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Instagram. Whisper. Yik Yak. Vine. YouTube. Kik. Ask.fm. Tinder. The dominant force in the lives of girls coming of age in America today is social media. What it is doing to an entire generation of young women? This the subject of award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales’s riveting and explosive American Girls. With extraordinary intimacy and precision, Sales capture Instagram. Whisper. Yik Yak. Vine. YouTube. Kik. Ask.fm. Tinder. The dominant force in the lives of girls coming of age in America today is social media. What it is doing to an entire generation of young women? This the subject of award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales’s riveting and explosive American Girls. With extraordinary intimacy and precision, Sales captures what it feels like to be a girl in America today. From Montclair to Manhattan and Los Angeles, from Florida and Arizona to Texas and Kentucky, Sales crisscrossed the country, speaking to more than two hundred girls, ages thirteen to nineteen, and documenting a massive change in the way girls are growing up, a phenomenon that transcends race, geography, and household income. American Girls provides a disturbing portrait of the end of childhood as we know it and of the inexorable and ubiquitous experience of a new kind of adolescence—one dominated by new social and sexual norms, where a girl’s first crushes and experiences of longing and romance occur in an accelerated electronic environment; where issues of identity and self-esteem are magnified and transformed by social platforms that provide instantaneous judgment. What does it mean to be a girl in America in 2016? It means coming of age online in a hyper-sexualized culture that has normalized extreme behavior, from pornography to the casual exchange of nude photographs; a culture rife with a virulent new strain of sexism and a sometimes self-undermining notion of feminist empowerment; a culture in which teenagers are spending so much time on technology and social media that they are not developing basic communication skills. From beauty gurus to slut-shaming to a disconcerting trend of exhibitionism, Nancy Jo Sales provides a shocking window into the troubling world of today’s teenage girls.  Provocative and urgent, American Girls is destined to ignite a much-needed conversation about how we can help our daughters and sons negotiate unprecedented new challenges.


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Instagram. Whisper. Yik Yak. Vine. YouTube. Kik. Ask.fm. Tinder. The dominant force in the lives of girls coming of age in America today is social media. What it is doing to an entire generation of young women? This the subject of award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales’s riveting and explosive American Girls. With extraordinary intimacy and precision, Sales capture Instagram. Whisper. Yik Yak. Vine. YouTube. Kik. Ask.fm. Tinder. The dominant force in the lives of girls coming of age in America today is social media. What it is doing to an entire generation of young women? This the subject of award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales’s riveting and explosive American Girls. With extraordinary intimacy and precision, Sales captures what it feels like to be a girl in America today. From Montclair to Manhattan and Los Angeles, from Florida and Arizona to Texas and Kentucky, Sales crisscrossed the country, speaking to more than two hundred girls, ages thirteen to nineteen, and documenting a massive change in the way girls are growing up, a phenomenon that transcends race, geography, and household income. American Girls provides a disturbing portrait of the end of childhood as we know it and of the inexorable and ubiquitous experience of a new kind of adolescence—one dominated by new social and sexual norms, where a girl’s first crushes and experiences of longing and romance occur in an accelerated electronic environment; where issues of identity and self-esteem are magnified and transformed by social platforms that provide instantaneous judgment. What does it mean to be a girl in America in 2016? It means coming of age online in a hyper-sexualized culture that has normalized extreme behavior, from pornography to the casual exchange of nude photographs; a culture rife with a virulent new strain of sexism and a sometimes self-undermining notion of feminist empowerment; a culture in which teenagers are spending so much time on technology and social media that they are not developing basic communication skills. From beauty gurus to slut-shaming to a disconcerting trend of exhibitionism, Nancy Jo Sales provides a shocking window into the troubling world of today’s teenage girls.  Provocative and urgent, American Girls is destined to ignite a much-needed conversation about how we can help our daughters and sons negotiate unprecedented new challenges.

30 review for American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Let's be honest - I have a toddler daughter who in my mind is already dating boys and I hate all of them already because they're complete jerks. This book moves from the eye-opening (what's Yik Yak?) to the terrifying ("You're never going online EVER!") to the depressing (Are all relationships dead forever?). In good journalistic style the stories are the most salacious and scary and I'm sure we're looking at extremes of an average here. But even the average is an alien world to what I grew up in Let's be honest - I have a toddler daughter who in my mind is already dating boys and I hate all of them already because they're complete jerks. This book moves from the eye-opening (what's Yik Yak?) to the terrifying ("You're never going online EVER!") to the depressing (Are all relationships dead forever?). In good journalistic style the stories are the most salacious and scary and I'm sure we're looking at extremes of an average here. But even the average is an alien world to what I grew up in. Ok, we all think younger generations are crazy. But by the end it's just a relentless drumbeat of "You deserve better." And "Why are you putting up with this." And "Don't kids respect each other at all?" I'm not saying we need to head back to some fifties dating world of milkshakes at the diner, but still. These kids (and mainly it's the girls) have accepted some warped new paradigm where, as they put it, "Let's fuck like guys - it's empowering!" It's not. At best you've accepted the guys' terms of dating (although apparently no one dates any more). At worst, you've actually appropriated and incorporated their view of sexuality instead of developing your own. That's not empowering. And it's definitely not feminism. It's surrender. And a note to the guys - this new world isn't the girls' fault. It's yours. Stop being utter dicks (and STOP SENDING PICTURES OF THEM). Show a little goddamn respect. Because you keep this up, and in the adult world some of you are quickly going to find yourself on the receiving end of a rape charge. Then again, maybe you should. Maybe it would teach you something. We live in a non-judging culture and perhaps that's where the problem lays. We want to be accepting. But sometimes it prevents us from saying, "I'm sorry, but that's just wrong." (Well, that review escalated quickly.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joce (squibblesreads)

    This book provided great interviews and case studies about when using social media can go wrong, but good lord, there was zero by way of sex positivity and had tinges of shame upon the teenagers who chose to have consensual sex- like god forbid teenagers be into sex! There was also shaming of girls who chose to wear makeup and girls who chose to wear clothes that were more exposing to school, which is inherently misogynistic and skews victim-blaming in its denigration of socially construed femin This book provided great interviews and case studies about when using social media can go wrong, but good lord, there was zero by way of sex positivity and had tinges of shame upon the teenagers who chose to have consensual sex- like god forbid teenagers be into sex! There was also shaming of girls who chose to wear makeup and girls who chose to wear clothes that were more exposing to school, which is inherently misogynistic and skews victim-blaming in its denigration of socially construed feminine activities. A couple good points but for every couple good points there were many more things that made me ill. This was a book written to keep teens safe, but it sure didn’t keep them safe from being shamed by the author.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey Lietzen

    As an educator, I found this book to be incredibly insightful, relevant, and disturbing. Although I had an idea of the extent of the problem, Sales dales deep into how dangerous social media can be and how it is especially harming teenage girls. She connects different cultural ideas together well and her interviews especially show how social media is harming the next generation. I found her research fascinating and helpful, but wish she would have spent more time discussing how to respond to the As an educator, I found this book to be incredibly insightful, relevant, and disturbing. Although I had an idea of the extent of the problem, Sales dales deep into how dangerous social media can be and how it is especially harming teenage girls. She connects different cultural ideas together well and her interviews especially show how social media is harming the next generation. I found her research fascinating and helpful, but wish she would have spent more time discussing how to respond to the issues at hand.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Incredibly depressing for obvious reasons... Social media is destroying how people communicate, destroying self esteem, and forcing kids to be sexual without truly understanding any consequences of their behavior. The question that kept popping up for me is why why why are parents allowing very young children to be on any of this? Why aren't there conversations with their kids BEFORE they decide to be on social media about what is appropriate behavior--talking about self respect and respecting o Incredibly depressing for obvious reasons... Social media is destroying how people communicate, destroying self esteem, and forcing kids to be sexual without truly understanding any consequences of their behavior. The question that kept popping up for me is why why why are parents allowing very young children to be on any of this? Why aren't there conversations with their kids BEFORE they decide to be on social media about what is appropriate behavior--talking about self respect and respecting others, how to recognize the sexism and misogyny they will encounter and what to do when it happens. I feel like a big part of this conversation was missing from this book---the parent perspective and what their level of involvement is. The author seems to think the main culprit is the porn industry for the behavior of younger girls on social media. I agree that this industry probably has helped create a culture where certain things are "okay" for kids b/c it's not out of the ordinary. But again, where is the part of the conversation that teaches boys to treat girls with respect and not as objects. The part where girls learn that their self worth is not dependent on likes or a comment section?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Okay, Nancy Jo. Let's have a long discussion about this book, because my god, do you ever need it. So: in case you don't know me or my interests, you should know I'm really interested in teenage culture/teen girl psychology, and I've read a lot of the books Sales name-drops in this book (Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Real Okay, Nancy Jo. Let's have a long discussion about this book, because my god, do you ever need it. So: in case you don't know me or my interests, you should know I'm really interested in teenage culture/teen girl psychology, and I've read a lot of the books Sales name-drops in this book (Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence, among others). I'm not prone to calling myself an expert (obviously, this is not something I've spent my whole life studying), but I have a few bones to pick with Sales' book as a whole. I came into it expecting one thing and got another--sometimes good, sometimes bad. So, the good: Sales has a gift for character. Over the course of a few pages you can feel like you know the girls she describes. She writes pretty fluidly, so you're not concerned with the ins and outs of the sentences--you just need to find out what happens next. And she's done some of her homework; her bibliography's about fifteen pages long and while this book isn't a great sociological treatise, she's done some cursory work rather than writing without sources. Now for the not-so-good. One: transitions in this book are godawful. The most egregious error was probably the chapter where she describes a girl being teased for her "Chris Brown" haircut, followed by two paragraphs about domestic violence in relationships (since Chris Brown is an abuser), followed by... a return to the haircut. There were several periods where I wondered if Sales' editor had just been napping, because those transitions were jarring. The ends of chapters also left a lot to be desired; while Sales has a gift for character, a lot of the stories didn't get the wrap-up they deserved, so the reader was left wondering what the hell happened to these girls. Two: there were some places where it felt Sales missed the point of whatever she was writing about entirely. For example, when discussing cyberbullying, she mentions the spate of gay teen suicides in 2010-2011 (Tyler Clementi, Jamey Rodenmeyer, etc), and how Barack Obama made an "It Gets Better" video. Sales notes that Obama never addresses the cyberbullying of girls in that video. Maybe it's because the It Gets Better project was targeted more expressly towards queer (well, gay) youth? Like, there was a specific purpose to that video, and it wasn't to address the nationwide epidemic of cyberbullying. There were a few instances like that, where it felt like Sales wasn't fully considering the context of these things. Three: Sales seems to blame much of what's wrong in social media on the accessibility of online porn. Which... is not necessarily wrong, but felt a little one-note. I mean, it's all there--the exchange of nudes, hookup culture, sexual double-standards, etc.--but I was also looking for more information as to how girls do and do not connect with their friends as well. A good portion of the book focused on sex; not necessarily a bad thing, but it got to a point where it was (a) overwhelming and (b) I began wondering if my friend group in high school/my high school itself was an absurd anomaly. The cultures described were all of kids getting drunk and having sex, recklessly, while the Smart Girls who are more critical of social media go to accelerated/magnet high schools and hang out with nerds while not having sex. (I mean, I was definitely in the latter camp, but it was a little alien.) I think part of the issue here is that Sales was visiting fairly rich neighbourhoods for a good portion of the book, where that might be somewhat easier. I don't think she interviewed more than one or two girls who did not have smartphones, and the girls who didn't were homeless. (That was also a very strange section of the book that didn't really make a whole lot of sense in context.) Four: While Sales champions the evils of social media and how it's degrading for girls, blah blah (much of which I agreed with or at least saw the point of), there wasn't a single example of a girl finding a true friend via the internet. Granted, this could be because internet friendship connects across different channels (normally blogging websites, such as LiveJournal or Tumblr rather than finding someone random on Facebook/Snapchat), but I felt like that piece was missing. There is some undoubted good that comes from social media, such as being able to connect with people from across the globe that you wouldn't normally be able to speak with, but Sales ignored it. I thought the focus on people in real life vs how they present themselves on the internet was interesting, but it could've gone a bit further. (I suppose that the section on YouTube came close to it, but not close enough.) Five: Sales seems to take issue particularly with Rachel Simmons' Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, saying that it wasn't properly researched and that it feeds into the "myth of the mean girl." Sales claims that Simmons' book was based far more on anecdotal tales from girls rather than serious scientific research... much like Sales' own work is. I also disagreed heartily with her complete dismissal of Simmons, as Sales was essentially claiming "men are mean too, so are adults." The whole point of Simmons' book is that girl-on-girl aggression tends to be covert. For the most part, girls aren't getting into fist-fights; friendships are made and broken on gossip, stray comments, inclusion/exclusion, rather than literally shoving a girl out. I'm not saying that boys cannot be mean to girls (or that boys cannot be mean to boys); I'm sure there's passive-aggressive behaviour in there as well. But it's also an actual thing that happens, and to ignore all of that just feels, well, a bit weird. Perhaps mean girls have been over-exaggerated, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. There were portions of this book I enjoyed, and I did feel like I learnt a lot from it. Social media's come a long, long way since my high school days (where I cried myself to sleep over MySpace top eights and whatnot) and it permeates teenagers' lives in a different way than I ever could've imagined; in some ways, this book was a birds-eye view into that world. At the same time, I'm not entirely sure how true the world Sales represents is (is it really like that all over? or is this just a very select group of kids?), nor am I terrifically sure with all her conclusions. Yes, the proliferation of online porn is a problem and needs to be dealt with, especially when it comes to teens sharing nude pictures of themselves (because that constitutes child pornography, and also adult decisions are not the same as teenage decisions), but I'm not sure it's the root of everything wrong with social media. I think social media is definitely changing the way kids and teenagers interact in person (for better or for worse, I can't quite decide), and it's a little more multi-faceted than Sales makes it out to be. I was both pleased and disappointed, as I expected to be. This is a solid 2.5 stars, but I'm rounding up for the time being. We'll see how I feel about this thing in six months or so.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    This book is seriously a MUST READ for any parent of a tween or teen, boys or girls. That being said, it is a hugely depressing book, but you're not doing your job as a parent if you don't know this information. It's not about warning parents about certain phone apps (which would quickly be outdated anyway,) and it's not about cyber safety (although that is important too.) What it IS about is how and social media and pornography has created a completely different experience for kids today than w This book is seriously a MUST READ for any parent of a tween or teen, boys or girls. That being said, it is a hugely depressing book, but you're not doing your job as a parent if you don't know this information. It's not about warning parents about certain phone apps (which would quickly be outdated anyway,) and it's not about cyber safety (although that is important too.) What it IS about is how and social media and pornography has created a completely different experience for kids today than we, as their parents, experienced when we were their age. You might say to yourself that your kid would never watch porn, would never do the laundry list of inappropriate behavior talked about in this book. And you may be right. But even if your kid wouldn't, there are other kids that do and they can effect your kid. I had never considered my daughter being exposed to things without her consent. I found myself asking my 12 year old "Have you ever been sent a "dick pic?" She claims no, and I believe her, but I think it's only a matter of time. And I'm glad that I know about it so I can prep her for how to handle when she does (notice I say when, not if.) I read a couple of chapters out loud to my husband when we were killing time during our daughter's warm-up for a softball tournament game. It was a nice day and we had the windows down. When we got out of the car, the dad in the car next to us said he had listened to the whole thing without meaning to. I said that we're hoping that it's not as bad here in the Midwest. He said that his daughter is 15 and they've already dealt with all of what he heard. He took a picture of the cover and said he was going to buy the book that day. While it was unhappy to learn that these things were even happening in our area, it was great that this parent was as concerned as we were. But that brings me to my one fault with the book. There are 370 pages of reporting the bad news, and a measly 4 1/2 pages of conclusion that doesn't really offer any realistic hope. The hope, in my opinion, is something the author never addresses, which is getting parents informed about what's going on - so they can help their kids do better. They need our guidance on how to deal with their reality. Burying our heads in the sand or telling them to just not do bad things is NOT ENOUGH. I hope that if enough parents get a hold of this information, we can create ongoing conversations with our kids and other parents that result in real change for the better in our kids lives, one child at a time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Chaikin

    This book had me completely freaked out. The stories these girls tell, and the facts that Sales provide are shocking and depressing. Thirteen-year-old boys routinely texting girls they know for nude pictures of themselves, and the girls unable to say something reason, like "are you fucking insane?" Instead they feel they have to laugh it off (except when they say ok). And the bullying these girls take online from friends and strangers, causing them all sort of drama that only exists online. Real This book had me completely freaked out. The stories these girls tell, and the facts that Sales provide are shocking and depressing. Thirteen-year-old boys routinely texting girls they know for nude pictures of themselves, and the girls unable to say something reason, like "are you fucking insane?" Instead they feel they have to laugh it off (except when they say ok). And the bullying these girls take online from friends and strangers, causing them all sort of drama that only exists online. Real world friends and family, like their parents, have no clue what is going on. The the reversal of feminism, the objectification of women as sex objects, comparing themselves to Kardashians, girls who are replaceable by an endless pool of other girls online, who routinely deal with boys who want rougher sex like all that they find in online porn. Sales begins with the porn and seems to pin everything there. Some (abbreviated) quotes just to highlight where this book was taking my sense of parental worry:"Social media is destroying our lives," one of the {teenage} girls said... "So why don't you go off it?" I asked. "Because then we would have no life," ... In a regular case...a boy who asked for nudes could be handled with humor, they said. It must be humor, never anger..."If you get mad they'll think you have no chill. They'll be like, OMG, like chill, I was just asking. But if you say no and laugh, they'll think you have chill. They judge you if you don't send nudes, like you're a prude. But if you just laugh, then they'll be aggravated, but they won't do anything." ... A 2015 study...found a possible link between anxiety in girls ages eleven to thirteen and seeing images of women being sexually objectified on social media. Girls this age were significantly more likely to feel nervous or show a lack of confidence than they were just 5 years ago, according to the study... It seems relevant that it is in about the last 5 years that the majority of girls have gotten smartphones ... She posited that at the onset of adolescence, girls' confidence levels drop as they begin to become aware of their own objectification and sexualization in the wider world. "They lose their resiliency and optimism and become less curious and inclined to take risks,"..."They lose their assertive, energetic and 'tomboyish' personalities and become more deferential, self-critical and depressed. " - "she" is author Mary Pipher. The quotes come from Reviving Ophelia : Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, from 1994. The book follows girls by age, each chapter focusing on one teenage age, from 13 to 19. Each chapter mainly reports various interviews Sales did of many girls in different situations and lifestyles. Much of the chapters are taken up by direct quotes. The reader can feel the Sales's usually unstated sense of shock. These stories are wild and tell things I never would have expected. As the girls get older, the effects of social media become hard to separate from other cultural factors and the book, unable to separate them, loses focus. Her 18 year-olds will provide sharp and perceptive criticisms of social media. Some of them have given it up. Her 19 year-olds tend to be in a university setting, in the midst of all the sexual activity going on there. Shocking as these stories, they aren't new. Many of us witnessed all this stuff ourselves in this setting. And social media is reduced to just another stress on relationships. It was interesting that these kids don't go on dates. The book evolves in these kinds of horrors of info: on hookup culture: "Conservatives sort of love all the stuff I’m saying", Donna Frietas says, “but it’s really hard to get liberal woman to have this conversation ... Big-time feminists won’t go near hooking up because they see it as sexually liberated. But I’m looking at it on the ground, and it doesn’t hold up as sexual liberation. Hookup culture is incredibly antifeminist culture. It’s the antithesis of empowerment and choice.”on the routine normal-ness of sexual harassment in school:A national survey in 2011 by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of students grades 7 to 12 found that 'sexual harassment is part of everyday life in middle and high schools.' Nearly half (48%) of students surveyed experienced some form of sexual harassment in the 2010-11 school year, and the majority of those students (87%) said it had a negative effect on them.And, a maybe apt summary:"And he would post pictures of other girls and I would tweet about my experience with guys. I acted like I didn't care. Nowadays, if you care, you're dumb." I finished the book really disturbed by the trends. I hate to see my girl heading into this world. But ... this stuff is really anecdotal in sum. Sales is a journalist, not a sociologist and her reporting is of the girls she met. If she found a more extreme story, one where social media led to suicide, or documented some terrible event, she was sure to report it here. Also, a lot of this stuff has been going on for a long time, and was happening well before social media entered our culture. Horny boys have been assholes for a long time, and girls have always been by trying to make boys happy, either by giving in or playing them off some other ways. This is part of the nature of adolescence. The atmosphere is always moving, and it might be getting worse. It is uncomfortable that so much is happening online, outside the awareness of parents and teachers, and it's painful to see publice school choose, as policy, to not look into it. This might be leading to more abuse and might be pushing culture to one of less respect for woman, a reversal of feminism. I feel a little tied up in how to respond to this book overall. But, Sales brings a great deal of information that needs to be discussed - on topics really pertinent to girls, boys and their parents. I think it's a valuable book for any of us here that deal with kids, girls or boys.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Steven Walle

    This is a great book about the sexest society we live in today. It gives impowering suggestions for young girls to overcome. I recommend that all girls betwene ten and eighteen read this with their parents. Enjoy and Be Blessed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Recommended by Rebecca W.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Furrawn

    Do not be a dinosaur and think because you don't use or value social media means it has no power on your child. Peer pressure has ALWAYS been an issue. I'm an Xer. I remember peer pressure. Social media takes peer pressure and makes it the thing that gives kids their value. Saying NO doesn't feel empowering to a lot of kids anymore. Feminism has become all twisted into girls feeling forced to be sexy when they should still be children. Remember as a tween how you might notice a boy or read a boo Do not be a dinosaur and think because you don't use or value social media means it has no power on your child. Peer pressure has ALWAYS been an issue. I'm an Xer. I remember peer pressure. Social media takes peer pressure and makes it the thing that gives kids their value. Saying NO doesn't feel empowering to a lot of kids anymore. Feminism has become all twisted into girls feeling forced to be sexy when they should still be children. Remember as a tween how you might notice a boy or read a bookmarked passsage in someone's mom's romance novel but then you might be playing with a Strawberry Shortcake doll or battling with a pretend lightsaber the next minute? Sexuality came about gradually and naturally. Not for these kids. They have access to porn at age eleven or twelve. Much of porn online is violent or fetishist which isn't what you want your child to think is typical sex. I'm not saying porn is bad. I'm saying it has no place in the life of a kid. Especially when they see this stuff daily and unfiltered. They become desensitized. They focus on how they LOOK and how many likes they get. It's a real mess. I began reading this book because of worrisome things I've noticed going on in instagram accts etc of teenagers I care about. This book explained what I was seeing, why, and that it's not an isolated group of kids. They are mostly all affected. Worse, the age that this is happening is younger each year. Everyone needs to read this book. Whether you have kids or not. Boy or girl. Male or female. It's not just the girls who are affected. The boys are just as affected. If you think this doesn't concern you, it will when these kids grow up and run the country. We need to have a dialogue in this country about what we value and what our hopes are for this youngest generation. I love technology. I got an iphone one the day it went on sale back in 2007. Loving technology does not mean we don't need to use our brains and think. Kids are not adults. Period. It doesn't matter that they are growing up. They are not GROWN. They need to be protected. People need to be parents and not best friends. Please. Please. Read this book. Easily the most important book you'll read this year.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kara Lucas

    I read this book very fast, I think because I was so fascinated. This is kind of a tragically sad book, because it reflects was is going on today, this bizarre cultural shift of dating and intimacy, brought on by the technology obsessed culture. I see this with my own teenage children, but I am luckier than many moms because my daughter tells me a lot of what goes on at school. It makes me so sad to see, for example, 10 year old girls with Instagram accounts looking and acting much older, 13 yea I read this book very fast, I think because I was so fascinated. This is kind of a tragically sad book, because it reflects was is going on today, this bizarre cultural shift of dating and intimacy, brought on by the technology obsessed culture. I see this with my own teenage children, but I am luckier than many moms because my daughter tells me a lot of what goes on at school. It makes me so sad to see, for example, 10 year old girls with Instagram accounts looking and acting much older, 13 year old girls taking provocative pictures when a week ago they looked like normal young girls. A very important read, especially for parents and educators.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    4 pages of Conclusion was insufficient after 370 pages of highlighting the worst of the worst. Re: the rating - am splitting the difference between the 2-star experience of not enjoying the read and finding fault with the book's organization/execution, and the 4-star assessment of the importance of some of the content and purpose of promoting awareness of critical social problems. I really hope to review this after I recover. 4 pages of Conclusion was insufficient after 370 pages of highlighting the worst of the worst. Re: the rating - am splitting the difference between the 2-star experience of not enjoying the read and finding fault with the book's organization/execution, and the 4-star assessment of the importance of some of the content and purpose of promoting awareness of critical social problems. I really hope to review this after I recover.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    While I enjoyed reading all of the interviews the author conducted, I was hoping for a more well rounded discussion of this topic. Instead it was very obvious that the author had a position she wanted to take on the subject and presented information that only supported that position.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Danni

    This book was incredibly well written, but horrifying in content. I think everyone should read it. There is a larger conversation that we need to be having in our nation about how young women are growing up today. This book can help navigate that conversation.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Italia8989

    Being within the age range of the girls interviewed in this book, I can vouch to say that what is proposed is true. My friends of both sexes would agree. I have lived an overall sheltered life; have always surrounded myself with respectable friends. However, I have still dealt with the issues portrayed in this book, even if they are to a lower degree. In the inherent ways, sexism has been eliminated. But it has also gotten worse--and it is frustrating to be a victim and also a bystander. Social m Being within the age range of the girls interviewed in this book, I can vouch to say that what is proposed is true. My friends of both sexes would agree. I have lived an overall sheltered life; have always surrounded myself with respectable friends. However, I have still dealt with the issues portrayed in this book, even if they are to a lower degree. In the inherent ways, sexism has been eliminated. But it has also gotten worse--and it is frustrating to be a victim and also a bystander. Social media has propelled this further, and until reading this book I had not considered that it might be because of porn. The consumerism of porn probably affects men's expectations towards sex, but regarding dating, it seems to be the phone that is the downfall. I would have preferred the book would have been more organized in explaining how these intertwining issues lead to the big picture of what is wrong with young heteronormative interactions, so I have decided to caption it myself. Low Self-Esteem This is almost ironic. Many people are embracive of those who are different on social media: They romanticize obesity with curves, glorify the aesthetic of the girl without any curves, they are always saying that natural beauty is to be appreciated and all body types are beautiful. Yet, pictures are taken with angles that accentuate skinniness, tight clothes are worn to emphasize an hourglass shape a thin girl might want to have, and filters and foundation are slathered on to make a picture perfect. I wear makeup and view pictures as artistry--and of course I wear attractive clothing because I enjoy fashion and the way I look in it. But there is an inherent difference in doing this because a person has low self-esteem and resorts to peer pressure (which is seen more often) than taking a picture to express their true self. I wrote in one of my poems once about how women used to wear makeup to accentuate their natural beauty, and now they wear it to hide their flaws. This is a generalization but it proves a point. I rarely take a picture just because and make a big deal about it on social media; there is always a reason behind it. Since I too have confidence issues and care what people think, I tend to look good in those pictures. (However, I am also a performer and like to have certain images of myself out there for acting reasons. This comes naturally to me, but there it is: Social media is acting.) Feminism is not what it was in the 1960's and 1970's. If you look at pictures, people were not as attractive back then as they are now. Hair product did not exist, makeup was art rather than everyday wear, and beauty was not superficial. Women were valued for their intelligence and opinions on important matters. I do not like to praise the 1960's and 1970's because there was still a lot of sexism, racism, and homophobia occurring. However, the ideas towards equality were healthier than how we are alluding to equality in today's world. Not everyone had equal rights back then, but people certainly felt better about themselves. Now there is more priority to keep in the loop, get a boyfriend, and keep up appearances than to accomplish anything. Otherwise, you are left out and unpopular. Social media wracks up time. Luckily, I have kept up my self-esteem through being productive. I read, write, practice my instruments, and perform. I cannot imagine how an everyday person might feel about themselves, when I feel awful sometimes. Dealing with boys Even a few years ago, flirting was a lot different. Now, it is very hard for a boy to suck up his pride and appear awkward for a few moments to confess his feelings. Now, if that is to happen, he must either be literally one in a million or have a lot of alcohol in his system. When young men had to call on the telephone, it must have been a terrifying experience. However, it meant that he actually cared about the girl and valued her. To me, this is better "validation" than a flirty Snapchat or an endearing text message. Actions speak louder than words. There is less of a chance for miscommunication when intentions are clear. To me, even if I am the only one that a guy is texting, it is still a sexist situation if this is the primary communication. Am I not good enough for you to put your heart on the line for me in person? If this is embarrassing for you, I might as well be your mom. I bet that really turns you on. This is a reason why I believe it is easier to just look for a hookup. So many girls settle for mediocre guys or treatment from them because of their low self-esteem, but also the ambiguity of communicating through a technological device. In person, it is a lot harder to not convey true feelings. This confusion is the detriment of the already predisposed stereotype that women have regarding communicating with men. It is a lot easier to tolerate a rude text (or even "dick pics") because a person can let themselves simmer down before responding. Whereas in real life, this behavior is unacceptable. Girls can be rude through social media, too. Since guys still tend to do fill the gender norm for initiating, Sales veers towards taking a more feminist stance towards this situation. Because of the way boys treat girls, they can be passive aggressive; posting pictures, not responding, etc. Being behind a screen is not a way to make excuses, but it certainly is an explanation for why girls tolerate more, which contributes to lower self-esteem. And not all boys communicate this way, but we all are more ballsy when we do not have to look the person in the eye. How can it be solved? Sales was not completely on the bullseye when she blamed the issue on porn. Boys' expectations of sex might be an explanation of why some of them act on more drastic behavior. But I am friends with average guys who treat me respectfully. Our modern ideas of harassment were in existence well before porn arrived into mainstream culture: just look at Bill Cosby. Widespread incidences began right when women gained equal rights. When women stepped outside the home to overcome sexism, they ran right into it on the opposite extreme. Suddenly, women began attending college, working in fields they had never before, etc. And since women are indeed equal to men, it seems to be the radical extremity of men assumed that this is synonymous in consent to everything. In social media, if a girl is dressed in a provocative manner, it "must" mean that she is thinking exactly what the boys are who are liking her picture and then "sliding into her DM's." So, how can we as both men and women solve this problem? Sales poses pessimism as a way to avoid coming up with a solution. After including a fascinating research by using a variety of young girls speaking powerfully about this topic, she offers them no solution. Will the situation change? I believe that it will change as it evolves, but overall, no. In our culture, children are growing up younger and are therefore privy to a lot more dangers. It is easier for a young adult to be responsible while handling situations, people, and what they post on social media simply because their brains are more developed. And even then, sometimes they do not. There are a few options that both sexes can adhere to, to make this problem less detrimental to our psyches: 1. Post what expresses your passion and not what expresses your body or a message for another person. (If you happen to look good, you cannot help that.) This way, feelings are not hurt and the message is always clear. If a girl enjoys applying makeup or dressing in bikinis, crop tops, etc., then this is her release of art, not her body. 2. Be clear with what you want with someone. If they are bothering you, tell them to stop; if you want something from them, inform them of that as well. No one actually has time for games. Of course, if a person wants more than a hookup and is respectable, they would never ask someone out over social media anyway. 3. If there are qualms about something, it was probably well-founded. Seek out the person in-person. If there is any question of whether what this person did was well-intended or not, it is not a good idea to respond until there is an in-person confrontation. This way, if someone is going to take out vengeance for not conforming, they will not have an excuse to lighten their actions. Sales' book reminded me of a lot of situations I have dealt with over the years and helped me understand the feelings I have had. I am glad to have read it before going out into a less sheltered world. It has also taught me why I have always felt left out--despite my insecurities, I respect myself and not everyone likes that--and it has taught me to respect myself even more. It is a bit disheartening to actually see the sexism because I can literally see everyone dealing with it (mostly my girl friends). However, it is good to have this awareness so that I understand why certain situations are happening and to how to avoid them. It is unclear for which crowd this book was marketed for. Most teens would never read nonfiction, especially nonfiction that might appear to criticize what is their lives. (Although upon further inspection, almost everyone I know would agree with what this book says.) But it did impact me. I also do not think parents should read this because it will just cause them anxiety. Baby Boomers would struggle with the generation gap and inevitably blame the children and social media. Perhaps the best crowd for this would be graduate students, who can understand this while having retrospect of an adult with full faculties about them. Having read this book, I am inspired to start a newer wave of feminism that puts value more on the art of appearance than appearance itself. I am so glad to have read this before beginning to make adult decisions. From this point forward, I plan on respecting myself completely and putting the emphasis on my worth from many qualities, especially by being a kind person. I hope to make a difference in others' lives by becoming aware even if they are ignorant!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    As the mother of an eleven-year-old girl, I found this book frankly horrifying. The primary thesis is that the widespread availability of online porn has changed how boys and girls interact with each other, and created specific social pressures on girls to act more sexually in order to retain their popularity. The book is organized for maximum shock value, starting with 13 year olds who hang out (in real life) in empty houses after school while their parents are at work, drink vodka, smoke weed, As the mother of an eleven-year-old girl, I found this book frankly horrifying. The primary thesis is that the widespread availability of online porn has changed how boys and girls interact with each other, and created specific social pressures on girls to act more sexually in order to retain their popularity. The book is organized for maximum shock value, starting with 13 year olds who hang out (in real life) in empty houses after school while their parents are at work, drink vodka, smoke weed, and grope each other. Online, the boys ask girls for nude pictures of themselves, and the girls don’t know how to handle the request; if they object, they are laughed at, and if they send pictures, the pictures live forever and damage their reputation. Older girls are depicted as taking pornographic pictures of themselves for their Instagram accounts, looking up to the Kardashians, and spending hours editing their online feed and counting each other’s likes. Oh, and sending nude pictures of themselves to boys, which the boys exchange with each other, so that the pictures live forever and, yes, damage their reputation. Sales has gained notoriety by writing about the most extreme examples of teenage acting out, and she bolsters that reputation here. She has conducted interviews with 200 girls from across the country. While that is not a small number – and certainly a feat of reporting – I am wondering if a self-report bias may have influenced her results. How did Sales find her interview subjects? Did she recruit those who were particularly affected by social media? Did she leave out the girls who check their smartphones less frequently and who have more common sense? And what happened to all the phone contracts that allow parents to check their children’s phones? Boys also come across extremely poorly. By and large, every single boy she profiles is reduced to a simplistic cad who thinks that sexual harassment is the best way to interact with girls. I really am not exaggerating; there is simply no nuance in her description. I don’t want to think that the teenage world is exactly as she describes it, so perhaps I am looking for reasons to doubt her portrayal. However, it just can’t be as cut and dry as she is making it. So – yes, I’m taking this seriously, and I have had a few discussions with my daughter about the appropriate use of social media. However, her writing also seems designed to generate a certain amount of hysteria. Could it be to get attention and sell books?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I'm giving this four stars for the fact that every parent absolutely needs to read (or skim) this. From a writing perspective though, I got very very tired of the endless stories about social media use. This book would have been greatly improved by more thoughts on how we should speak to kids, how we should monitor their social media, and how we can more effectively parent in the age of social media. THAT SAID, read it. PLEASE. Boy parents, read it to talk to your sons about consent and not sendi I'm giving this four stars for the fact that every parent absolutely needs to read (or skim) this. From a writing perspective though, I got very very tired of the endless stories about social media use. This book would have been greatly improved by more thoughts on how we should speak to kids, how we should monitor their social media, and how we can more effectively parent in the age of social media. THAT SAID, read it. PLEASE. Boy parents, read it to talk to your sons about consent and not sending dick pics (NO ONE WANTS THEM) and how to treat women with respect and dignity. Girl parents, read it to talk to your daughters about their self worth. I think any parent reading this will FREAK THE FREAK OUT at the horrifying examples and it will certainly ensure you will want to have some serious talks with your kids before letting them onto social media. I did like her ending, where she said we need to talk to girls about being feminists but I will push it further- we need to talk to our boys about this just as much.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    Really fascinating view into young people's relationship with social media, covering everything from online porn to YouTube stars. I especially loved the conversations with real teens. It was intriguing how the girls talked about "other girls" more than themselves, when they would reveal (in moments of weakness) that they often did the same things the "other girls" did. The teens showed a remarkable level of self awareness and obliviousness in equal measure. Really fascinating view into young people's relationship with social media, covering everything from online porn to YouTube stars. I especially loved the conversations with real teens. It was intriguing how the girls talked about "other girls" more than themselves, when they would reveal (in moments of weakness) that they often did the same things the "other girls" did. The teens showed a remarkable level of self awareness and obliviousness in equal measure.

  19. 4 out of 5

    reading is my hustle

    This is a downer. And exaggerated. I just don't buy that all teens are hypersexual. Social media obsessed? Probably. There is more to them than what this book asserts. Teens are complicated and this is anecdotal. This is a downer. And exaggerated. I just don't buy that all teens are hypersexual. Social media obsessed? Probably. There is more to them than what this book asserts. Teens are complicated and this is anecdotal.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan Iskowich

    Despite the word Girls in the title, I would suggest that this book should be required reading for all parents of tweens and teens as it shows us how social media has become such a dominating force in the lives of today's youth and how that can be both good and bad. Although obviously this book focuses mainly on the bad aspects of social media. While reading this book many, many emotions popped up for me. First there was a lot of anger as the book really dives right into the hyper-sexualized wor Despite the word Girls in the title, I would suggest that this book should be required reading for all parents of tweens and teens as it shows us how social media has become such a dominating force in the lives of today's youth and how that can be both good and bad. Although obviously this book focuses mainly on the bad aspects of social media. While reading this book many, many emotions popped up for me. First there was a lot of anger as the book really dives right into the hyper-sexualized world we live in now and how this is negatively impacting young girls, younger than you would imagine. My anger was of course mostly directed at the males, as social media is a very male dominated field (really men, you can make apps that allow people to post nudes and swipe left or right, yet you can't figure out code to ensure that people are consenting to have their nudes posted for the whole world to see. Or to filter out porn so elementary school kids can't view it!). And Ms. Sales links so much of the issues back to how commonplace and acceptable porn is now days. Then this brings up the whole issue of, if you dislike this, then you are a prude and/or anti-porn. Really, its prudish of me to worry about studies that say as many as 90% of adolescent boys have seen porn before they turn 18, as young as age 6? It's prudish of me to not want kids to see child porn, snuff films or stomp films and general violence against women? Also, I would argue that boys watching porn is as problematic as it is on girls, as this is often how boys receive their sex education, so they will grow up believing that ALL women enjoy violent sex, and they will have a very distorted view of reality when it comes to sex. Another emotion that popped up was sadness that today's youth just can't seem to live tech-free. So many girls interviewed during this book commented on the stupidness of social media, yet they also said that they just can't seem to live without it. Then there is also the loss of closeness with others since today's youth is much more comfortable talking to each other via tech rather than in person. This has also, in my opinion, led to a great loss of empathy which allows for the cruel cyberbullying to go on, and also the sexism and posting of nudes without the other's consent. It was eye-opening to me to learn that a lot of today's youth actually date on-line rather than really meeting up and doing things face to face, unless its sex of course. The last emotion that popped up for me was hope. Hope because, as I said before, there are those youth that understand the downside of social media and are trying to find a balance, and I do believe that the novelty will start to wear off so the next generation will hopefully not feel like they need to be on their devices 24/7 anymore. Yes it does seem to me that the book is pretty slanted and there is just horror story after horror story about the pitfalls of social media and what it can do to today's girls. However, I do believe that this slant is needed to serve as a wake up call to parents who want to live with their heads in the sand and not recognize the problems. Second, it focuses mostly on girls, seems to put a lot of blame on boy's without delving too deeply into how social media is also negatively impacting their lives. Now again, I think that this is necessary because women do place so much on how others, particularly boys, view them so the impact is greater on them. However, it is, in my opinion, a must read book that will hopefully open a large dialogue for all of society to learn how to come back to real closeness, empathy and general equality.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Bookish

    American Girls was mentioned in an article I read recently, and I was curious enough to snag a copy from the library. It was not worth the time I invested in it. This is a 416 page book and I can sum it up with one sentence: young people no longer have relationships, and porn and smartphones are the root of all evil. I’m 28, so I’m a little out of the age range that Sales is talking about in this book, but I know and talk to a lot of younger people, and the culture she is portraying in this book American Girls was mentioned in an article I read recently, and I was curious enough to snag a copy from the library. It was not worth the time I invested in it. This is a 416 page book and I can sum it up with one sentence: young people no longer have relationships, and porn and smartphones are the root of all evil. I’m 28, so I’m a little out of the age range that Sales is talking about in this book, but I know and talk to a lot of younger people, and the culture she is portraying in this book is not one that I recognize at all. While she touches on a lot of very real issues, such as sexual harassment online, an unhealthy amount of time devoted to social media, and lowered self esteem triggered by comparing our real lives to the filtered, unrealistic version that others put online… most of her concerns feel completely overblown. It also feels like Sales lacks any self-awareness at times. At one point, she remarks that teenage sexual exploration has always made adults uncomfortable, despite it being a normal and natural part of adolescence. This remark is made amidst pages upon pages of hand-wringing over teenage sexuality and how it signals the end of romance as we know it. Hookup culture reigns supreme and relationships are dead to American youth, to hear Sales tell it. This is all purely anecdotal, of course, and it doesn’t remotely match up with the anecdotes from teen girls in my own life. These girls date. They have steady boyfriends. Sales is also highly critical of sex positive feminism. While I don’t think that movement (or any movement, for that matter) is infallible, Sales’ criticisms simply read as more hysteria over teens being sexually active. All sexual activity and expression is purely for the benefit of the boys, apparently. Sales seems to think that sex positive feminism is simply a wolf in sheep’s clothing dedicated to tricking teen girls into seeking empowerment through fulfilling the needs of teen boys. Basically, Sales seems to be so hyper-fixated on social media and online pornography that she’s determined to paint a picture that shows how they are responsible for nearly all of the ills in today’s society, even those she has to make up whole cloth (i.e., dating no longer exists). I went into this book expecting to agree with a lot of Sales’ points, so I think it’s telling just how flat it fell for me. Do teens spend too much time on social media? Yes, I’m sure, as do most of the rest of us. Is “hookup culture” a thing? I’m inclined to think not, and studies seem to suggest that hysteria around this issue is overblown. If you’re looking for a thoughtful exploration on teen use of social media and/or modern sexuality, I’m sorry to say that you won’t find it here. You can read all of my reviews on my blog, Jenna Bookish! Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura Ann

    After reading this book I felt both in cognizant, helpless and sad. I understand a little more about how social media was positioned, how effective it is (it's not going away) and how it has perverted, leaked and poisoned the social consciousness. It is the perfect storm. Many teens with hormones raging and social pressures to fit in are sucked into another world of sexting, dating (without interface) and "hooking up" without care. I'm from another generation, so I can not understand the narciss After reading this book I felt both in cognizant, helpless and sad. I understand a little more about how social media was positioned, how effective it is (it's not going away) and how it has perverted, leaked and poisoned the social consciousness. It is the perfect storm. Many teens with hormones raging and social pressures to fit in are sucked into another world of sexting, dating (without interface) and "hooking up" without care. I'm from another generation, so I can not understand the narcissistic posts, the obsessive, compulsive waist of time on following every move people make (who really cares, such a waist of time). But... "if you don't chat you're left out of the conversation. And then you don't have any friends." (So sad). Every text, every "Like" is their life.. real drama. (Real sad). My generation promoted "marching to a different drum" and equality. Boys dated, relationships had a natural progression. There was a moral code (remember that?). We have strayed so far from feminism, equal rights and common sense. A LOSS OF WHAT MAKES US HUMAN... a human connection. Barbarian Times of "hos" and "savages," Hedonism, filled with hate. My goodness... MY goodness!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I really loved this book! I think it is a necessary crash course in teenage behavior for parents (especially) or anyone who works with teenagers because too often, parents and adults are oblivious about teen social media behavior and how damaging and dangerous it can be. I was a little disappointed about how short the conclusion was relative to other sections of the book, but I think the author shared some great constructive suggestions for moving forward. I also only gave this book 4 stars beca I really loved this book! I think it is a necessary crash course in teenage behavior for parents (especially) or anyone who works with teenagers because too often, parents and adults are oblivious about teen social media behavior and how damaging and dangerous it can be. I was a little disappointed about how short the conclusion was relative to other sections of the book, but I think the author shared some great constructive suggestions for moving forward. I also only gave this book 4 stars because it felt quite repetitive, especially throughout the 15-17 chapters.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This book was okay. I feel like it got really repetitive after a while and I felt like I was reading the same stories/problems/suggestions, etc, over and over again. However, the topic and research is really, really important. You could definitely read the first 150 pages of this book and come away with a lot.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Nauseating at times, yet fascinating. To quote a line from the conclusion... "put down the phones and pick up a book." I thought I had an understanding of the impact of social media and the development of girls but I was wrong. Nauseating at times, yet fascinating. To quote a line from the conclusion... "put down the phones and pick up a book." I thought I had an understanding of the impact of social media and the development of girls but I was wrong.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    Wow. This was really good, but also one of the most depressing things I've read in a long time. Wow. This was really good, but also one of the most depressing things I've read in a long time.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    Wow! How things have changed since the 1970's when I was a teen! Back then, you might go on dates with several guys a week and hope for a kiss. Then, you willed the phone to ring. There were no cell phones or answering machines. Today's teens don't go on dates, they just hook up (have sex.) The author of this book is an award-winning journalist and author known for reporting on youth culture. Nancy Jo Sales spent two and a half years interviewing teens between the ages of 13-19. She spoke to gir Wow! How things have changed since the 1970's when I was a teen! Back then, you might go on dates with several guys a week and hope for a kiss. Then, you willed the phone to ring. There were no cell phones or answering machines. Today's teens don't go on dates, they just hook up (have sex.) The author of this book is an award-winning journalist and author known for reporting on youth culture. Nancy Jo Sales spent two and a half years interviewing teens between the ages of 13-19. She spoke to girls from various socioeconomic background, races and sexual orientations. She reports that in 2015, 88 percent of American teens ages 13-17 had access to a mobile hone and 73 percent had smartphones. Twenty Four percent were online "almost constantly." Because so many kids have smartphones and/or tablets they have easy access to the internet which means access to porn. Much of today's porn includes violent sex including rape and gang rape. So many kids are watching porn today, that they are desensitized to it. Teen boys think nothing of asking girls for nude photos and the scary thing is, many girls comply with these requests. The girls don't want the boys to think they are prudes. The boys also send girls photos of their genitals, even girls they are not involved with in any way. Besides this troubling aspect of cell phones, teens are also obsessed with instagram, twitter, facebook, tinder, etc. Teen girls spend an inordinate amount of time taking sexy selfies to post online. They then have to constantly keep checking their on-line accounts to see how many "likes" they receive. It seems that today's young men do not really respect girls. The guys sees primarily interested in how "hot" a girl appears. This is affecting the way girls view themselves as well, with many girls suffering from low self esteem. This book opened a world to me that I knew nothing about - kids watching porn in school, sites on the internet devoted entirely to bullying other teens, kids trading nude pictures for alcohol, a total loss of innocence and childhood (since some of these behaviors begin by age 10.) If you have a teen girl in your life - this is a must read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I think this ran a little long, though a lot of the content was interesting. Sales talks with teen girls around the US (primarily in cities or suburbs) about what life on social media is like, the sorts of pressures they face, and about "hookup" and rape culture. There's a lot that's not explored, in favor of giving the girls' space to share, but I think it loses a lot of POW that could be included with the exploration of what life is like for those girls who aren't part of social media culture I think this ran a little long, though a lot of the content was interesting. Sales talks with teen girls around the US (primarily in cities or suburbs) about what life on social media is like, the sorts of pressures they face, and about "hookup" and rape culture. There's a lot that's not explored, in favor of giving the girls' space to share, but I think it loses a lot of POW that could be included with the exploration of what life is like for those girls who aren't part of social media culture (especially poor kids, ESPECIALLY them -- danah boyd does this well in IT'S COMPLICATED -- and there's virtually no talk about girls who aren't straight, except for the one trans girl who gets featured). What I did appreciate about this book was it gave me a lot to think about social media, about the ideas of fantasy vs. reality, about sharing vs. experiencing, basically a lot of stuff I think about but haven't necessarily had the language to think about it with. A worthwhile "borrow" of a read. I don't think it's the best, nor do I agree with a lot of stuff (and at times Sales falls into not giving context at all in favor of generalizations) but it's an eye-opening look at the pressures girls face thanks to social media.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mallory

    OCTOBER 2016 BOOK CLUB: I've been absolutely captivated by this book this past week. It truly made me reconsider the entire structure of our society and my role in its downward spiral. I strongly recommend this book to everyone, but especially mothers, fathers, future parents and anyone who works with youth and teenagers (whether in education, medicine, etc.) Sales' research and observations pose many significant questions I hope that we can soon find answers to and help prevent a more disgusting OCTOBER 2016 BOOK CLUB: I've been absolutely captivated by this book this past week. It truly made me reconsider the entire structure of our society and my role in its downward spiral. I strongly recommend this book to everyone, but especially mothers, fathers, future parents and anyone who works with youth and teenagers (whether in education, medicine, etc.) Sales' research and observations pose many significant questions I hope that we can soon find answers to and help prevent a more disgusting and degrading culture than we already have.

  30. 4 out of 5

    ashes ➷

    One of the best books I've ever read. Point blank. It's important, accurate, and extremely necessary; Sales is one of the most compassionate and clever authors I've read in a while, and turned a worthwhile discussion into a fascinating narrative. Don't listen to the claims that it's 'not sex-positive'; Sales works with real narratives, real statistics, and a non-judgmental eye to describe a variety of opinions, most often using the words of the girls themselves to describe their effects. One of the best books I've ever read. Point blank. It's important, accurate, and extremely necessary; Sales is one of the most compassionate and clever authors I've read in a while, and turned a worthwhile discussion into a fascinating narrative. Don't listen to the claims that it's 'not sex-positive'; Sales works with real narratives, real statistics, and a non-judgmental eye to describe a variety of opinions, most often using the words of the girls themselves to describe their effects.

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