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by MaryLou Singleton / Deep Green Resistance

Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher, Ph.D.

I’m re-reading Reviving Ophelia and wish everyone else would do the same. It’s breaking my heart, reading how not that long ago psychologists thought destroying gender stereotypes was the best way to help girls survive adolescence. Now people celebrate giving girls testosterone and double mastectomies. And as if my heart weren’t aching enough, I find this in the last chapter:

In America today the number-one cause of injury to women is battering. Women are kidnapped and murdered in numbers that were unthinkable in the fifties. It’s hard for girls to grow into independent, autonomous people when they are fearful for their physical safety.

This vulnerability curtails the freedom of every young woman. For instance, Tammy Zywicki, a Grinnell student, was kidnapped and murdered when her car broke down on Interstate 80. One of her friends, Natasha Spears, pointed out that our society’s current response to safety issues is to restrict the freedom of women. She noted that first women were urged not to walk by themselves, then not to live by themselves and now not even to drive by themselves. She said, “When I was in junior high I had more freedom than I have now.”

Rest in Peace Tammy.