Girl stuff. Periods. Sex. Boyfriends. Cranky parents. Friends who used to be enemies, and geeks who are now friends. And what is going on with the body? What do all these changes mean, and why don't they happen to all girls the same way at the same time?
These are timeless questions for teenage girls, but as each generation of preteens and teens faces different cultural and societal changes and stresses, older guidebooks—while still valid in terms of information offered—read as outdated. This book, with its friendly, blunt-yet-calm approach, offers the teen girls of the generation some clear answers to all those questions and more. The authors, one of whom is a pediatrician and the other an OB/GYN, are both mothers of daughters, giving them a wide variety of perspectives on the adolescent body and mindset.
Countering trends of girls feeling inferior or insecure, the authors use Girlology to urge girls to develop Girl Power: developing control and confidence by understanding the process of change, both emotional and physical, as it affects not only the reader, but the her friends and family as well. The book's frank discussion of female body parts and how they change during puberty, as well as how they function during sex, provides diagrams and straightforward language to answer questions that teens may be too afraid or embarrassed to ask. Terminology is clearly explained, from mundane topics such as body hair removal, to mysterious ones such as sexual organs.
Yet the book also urges girls to trust their mothers (who have likely been through most of these emotional and physical quandaries themselves) rather than trying to face these changes alone. The authors encourage girls to learn how to assess what kind of person they want themselves to be, as well as what kinds of people they really want as friends, beyond the superficial popularity roles.
The highlight of this book is its friendly approach and its "hey, really, this is all normal" tone. It's non-threatening and informative in terms preteens and teens can clearly understand, and provides clear information about the risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as the emotional devastation caused by boyfriends and disloyal girlfriends. If anything, the book verges on too cheerful at times, but that is a minor fault in a book that provides so much excellent information in a readable way.
Today's preteen and teen girls can use all the help they can get, and Girlology is an excellent resource for those wanting information, solace, and help.
-Forward Magazine, October 2005
Amy C. Rea
Holmes and Hutchison are both doctors, one a pediatrician and the other an obstetrician/gynecologist, who provide straight, true facts about the body and sex; guidance about relationships and decision-making; and reassurance for girls that the changes they are going through are normal. The authors encourage girls to develop "Girl Power," which is the confidence to make good decisions and stick to them. Written in a conversational style, this book explains the changes of puberty; how hormones affect the body and the brain; why relationships with parents and friends change during this time; and how it all helps a girl become more independent. The section about the body and how it works includes a detailed explanation of the menstrual cycle as well as all the many parts of sex including foreplay, intercourse, oral and anal sex, orgasm, and masturbation. It also discusses sexual abstinence and the consequences of sex. The section about sexuality and intimacy gives advice on how to tell the difference between a crush and love, reminding girls that they can have sexual feelings without acting on them with a partner. The concluding section helps girls realize that they have the power to make choices that will affect the rest of their lives. All teen girls can benefit from reading this book. The authors are very reassuring while giving factual information to help girls develop values and decision-making skills. The humor and style of writing make this one a fun book on an important topic. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined asgrades 10 to 12). 2005, Health Communications, 249p.; Illus. Charts., Trade pb. Ages 11 to 18.
Deborah L. Dubois
Read an Excerpt
Why Me? Why Now?
Spin, spin, spin. If you are a preteen or teen girl, we bet that's what your head is doing right now!
You are probably whirling in a sea of mysterious body changes, relationship blowups and confusing information. At school and with friends, you hear chatter about periods, gossip about boyfriends and whispers about sex.
And you are probably bursting with questions. What is all this hair in weird places? Exactly how does sex happen, and why would anyone want to do that? Do I use the nasty words I see on the bathroom wall to talk about sex? What's this stuff in my underwear? What's up with my friends? Why do we fight and then make up all the time now? How doyou tell the difference between a "boyfriend" and a friend who's a boy?
How about love and lust? And why don't my parents get it anymore?
Guess what? There's nothing wrong with having questions or wanting to know more—especially when it comes to your body, sex and relationships. All those crazy and confusing questions . . . they're normal!
And you probably are, too! (Do we hear a big sigh of relief?)
Girlhood Is a Gift!
You're a girl. And you are made in an amazing and wonderful way.
Because you are a girl, some things are going to happen to you: breasts,
hips, pimples, periods, crushes on guys, fights with girlfriends, parents who don't get it. You have no choice; they will happen! You are turning into a young woman, and your body and your brain are making these changes because you are developing sexually. So doesn't it make sense that this is the time in your life to learn about these things?
Some things are guaranteed to happen. But there are other girl things you can make choices about—how you take care of your "new" body, how you use your newfound sex appeal, when you will kiss a guy or how you talk about sex to your parents. Even though there are a lot of things happening to you that are out of your control, it's good to know that there are a lot of other things that you can control.
Girlology is going to help you open up your girlhood like a gift. We'll rip off the wrapping paper, explore the mysteries inside, learn facts about
"all things girl" and help you gain the confidence you need to decide what kind of girl you want to be.
So, What Is Girlology?
Before we dive in, let's first tell you what Girlology is not:
• Girlology is not a sex talk like you get at school.
• It's not a science lesson.
• It's not like a lecture from your parents.
All those things can be good, but they are not Girlology. Girlology is different.
Girlology was written by two female doctors who also happen to be mothers of daughters; one of us is a pediatrician (a doctor for children and teenagers up to about 18 years old) and the other is an obstetrician/
gynecologist (fancy words for a doctor who specializes in delivering babies and taking care of girls' and women's body parts that are involved in making babies). Both of us take care of lots of teens who are developing sexually. That means every day we talk to girls thinking about sex . . . avoiding sex . . . having sex . . . confused about sex . . . scared to death about consequences of sex. . . . You name it, we've seen it and talked about it.
We think girls are smart, unique, brave and strong, and we want you to have information that will let all that good stuff shine through!
As doctors, we see girls every day who have the same questions you do. And we see lots of girls and even women who have gotten some really wrong answers! No, your period will not stop when you go swimming.
Yes, you can get pregnant the first time you have sex. No, you are not gay if you look at a naked girl in the locker room. Girlology is about giving you the straight, true facts about your body.
We also treat patients who have made healthy decisions about sex and relationships and others who aren't so happy with the decisions they've made. We want you to be happy with the decisions you make! Girlology is about helping you figure out what's important to you so that you can make decisions you will be pleased with for a long, long, long time.
Girlology is about helping you figure out a lot of things that matter—
your body, your relationships and sex. It may sound scary but it's not.
Girlology is about periods and body parts "down there." It will help you decide how you feel about sex and sexual things. It will help you understand guys and learn how to speak up for yourself. It will help you talk to parents and other adults and gain their trust. Girlology will also teach you how to understand your friends' and family's values and decide what is important to you. All in all, it's about gaining the confidence you need to develop a special type of "Girl Power!"