What your mother didn’t tell you

Here is my updated summary of the book I am writing. I am almost done and looking for an amazing publisher. I am sure it will be a best seller! (in all modesty!)



 by Maureen F. Fitzgerald, PhD [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][12 Nov 13]

 Why read this book?

 Although there is a lot of talk these days about “girl power,” the statistics clearly show a different picture.  Hidden deep below the smiling faces of young girls remains stories of loss of self-esteem, depression, self-abuse and perfectionism. And worse yet, girls don’t complain. They hunker down, work even harder, seek counseling and in some cases, take their lives. We tell them “it’s just a teen-girl thing” and they will get over it. But they don’t. Girls continue to struggle well into their adult years.

 So, what’s really going on? What’s really causing clique-exclusion, mean girls, popularity contests and eating disorders? Most of us think that girls are to blame. They point to hormones, relational aggression, immaturity, jealousy and even promiscuity. They think that girls make bad choices or hang out with the wrong crowd. Girls, we are told, lack resilience and need to develop self esteem and better boundaries to prevent problems. These myths are causing girls not only work themselves sick but make them feel like they are going crazy trying to reach impossible standards of perfection.

 The real culprit, that we fail to see, is a deeply hidden secret.  Girls suffer, not because they are genetically incompetent or weak, but rather because we as a society tell them day-in and day-out that they are NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Girls are not good enough to simply be smart. They must be athletic and brilliant musicians as well. They must be beautiful, slim and sexy. But not too sexy or they will be slutty. And not too smart or they will be seen as “full of themselves.”

 These conflicting and confusing messages become loudest just when girls enter the vulnerable teen years. As they look around girls become acutely aware that males have privileges that they do not, that they live in a male-centered, and where only the popular, sexy and brilliant girls survive. So it’s no surprise when girls work overtime at becoming something they are not, eventually lose themselves and try to control their world by competing for attention, zoning out or taking dangerous risks.

 This book tackles the so-called “girl problem” and turns it on its head. It shines a bright light on the real culprit: a whole culture and belief system that holds girls back – a culture that actually dis-empowers girls.

 Dr. Fitzgerald guarantees to change the way you see the world and provides you with a new set of lenses (maybe not rose-colored) that you can share with girls so they too can see the multitude of damaging and degrading messages – from magazines, television, movies, and even parents and teachers – telling them they are not good enough and must be something “more.”

 With an intelligent and compassionate voice, Fitzgerald offers the latest research and concrete advice on how to raise girls to truly be confident, courageous and powerful. She combines her own experience as a lawyer, gender expert and mother to describe the many pressures and expectations placed on girls and how they are rooted in outdated beliefs.

 You will learn strategies, to not just empower girls, but to help daughters, sisters and fathers make the world more hospitable for girls.

 How to read this book

 This book has the following three parts.

Part One is about noticing and challenging Girl Expectations. Focusing mostly on the childhood years, this part explains why the issues facing girls have been keep underground and how to begin to see what really going on.  It alerts parents to their own personal biases and way we treat girls and boys differently and de-value things that we label “feminine.” It teaches how to notice the hidden cultural rules including sex-roles and stereotypes and how they actually disempowers girls – often causing them to fight back or crumble. It alerts readers to massive propaganda that keeps us all thinking that it’s just a teen girl thing and that girls will somehow grow out of it. But they don’t.

Part Two is about recognizing and dealing with Girl Pressures. Teen girls face shockingly high expectations. From beauty, body image, academics, sports and even their friendships.  We teach girls that to be successful and happy they must be beautiful, sexy and pleasing to males. Parents learn about the corrosive power of day-in-day-out images that consist of a full diet of female hating, violence and silencing. Girls escape to the world of school and face another hidden curriculum, bullying, cliques and peer pressure – girls simply trying to gain a sense of control and power. It’s no surprise when girls camouflage or act in risky ways,

 Part Three is about enhancing girls’ Resilience and Self Esteem. The secret to dealing with the barrage of negative messages is not simply to develop tougher skin. It’s about helping girls love themselves as females in a world where they are often seen as second-class citizens. It’s about noticing the way that entire industries, not a few mean-hearted individuals, make girls feel ugly and ashamed of their own bodies. So speaking up is almost as important as keeping away from the harm. Self esteem is also about value the feminine, menses, intuition and relationships. A resilience tool kits also  includes speaking authentically and resolving conflicts peacefully without feeling weaker.

 What’s in it for you?

After reading this book you will see your daughter in whole new light – within the context of her pressure-filled and highly sexualized world.  You will learn:

  • How parents raise girls and boys differently
  • How teachers inadvertently hold girls back
  • How girls fall victim to popularity contests
  • How the media sexualizes, demeans and stereotypes girls
  • How girls unwittingly hold other girls back
  • How cliques actually benefit your daughter

For mothers

As a mother, you will likely begin to notice more things about your daughter. You may begin to speak to her differently or hold her differently. You will likely begin to talk to her about things that you have also experienced, as a woman, like power imbalances in relationships and how to speak up when others would rather you stay silent.

Over time, you will have a much richer relationship and may feel more like a life-guide as you begin to make sense of your own life and are able to tap your own wisdom. And if all goes well, you will be able to truly empower her so that she can make her own wise decisions and life choices, long after you are gone.



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