Excerpted from Lyn Mikel Brown‘s article on the SuperGirl Dilemma. The full article can be found to the right. Please share your comments!

In the early 90’s, when Carol Gilligan and I wrote about the tyranny of nice and kind and the pressure girls felt to be perfect, we were illuminating the ways conventional femininity worked to shape girls’ desires and relationships. Listening to educationally privileged girls, mostly white and middle class, we found that all too often the girls who excelled in school, who looked put-together, who sang in school choirs, volunteered in their communities, and smiled a lot were in various kinds of psychological trouble. A few stalwart resisters—some white and middle class, but mostly working class girls and girls of color–suggested this did not have to be the developmental trajectory, but for the girls who bought the ideal, it didn’t feel like a choice.

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