Publication Date: March 30, 2021
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For readers of Maggie Nelson and Leslie Jamison, a poignant, universal story of the forces that shape girls and of a world where women are rarely free to define themselves.
In her dazzling new book, critically acclaimed author Melissa Febos examines the narratives women are told about what it means to be a girl and the realities of growing up female in a world that prioritizes the feelings, perceptions, and power of men at girls’ expense.
Febos was eleven when her body began to change, and almost overnight, the way people spoke to, looked at, and treated her changed with it. As she grew, she defined herself based on these perceptions and by the romantic relationships she threw herself into headlong. But in her thirties, Febos began to question the stories she’d been told about herself and the habits and defenses she’d developed over years of trying to meet others’ expectations. The values she and so many other women had learned in girlhood did not prioritize their personal safety, happiness, or freedom, and she set out to reframe those values and beliefs.
Blending investigative reporting, memoir, and scholarship, Febos charts how she and others like her have reimagined relationships and made room for the anger, hurt, and grief women have long been taught to deny.
Fierce and breathtaking, written with Febos’ characteristic lyricism and searing insights, Girlhood is an anthem for women, a powerful exploration of the forces that seek to confine them, and a searing study of the transitions into and away from girlhood on a lifelong journey of discovery.
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