Sexism & Sensibility

Sexism & Sensibility

Raising Empowered, Resilient Girls in the Modern World

About the Book

An invaluable guide to understanding and dismantling sexism for parents trying to raise confident and powerful girls in a culture that often demeans them.

“Seasoned and sensible guidance on the toughest topics in raising girls: misogyny, objectification, body image, confidence, harassment, sexual development, and more.”—Lisa Damour, PhD, New York Times bestselling author of The Emotional Lives of Teenagers

The world is full of mixed messages for girls: Stand up for yourself but do it softly. Be independent but not single. Love your body, just make sure it’s waxed, bleached, and thin. And then there are the more overt hostilities: being talked over, paid less, touched without permission, and having politicians debate their right to bodily autonomy. Many parents find it simpler to affirm girls’ strength than to address these distressing experiences directly. But with girls’ skyrocketing rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide, parenting them in this culture presents an urgent challenge: How do we teach girls to recognize and cope with these realities without crushing their optimism and belief that they can incite change?

Jo-Ann Finkelstein, a Harvard-educated psychologist, has more than two decades of experience working with girls, helping them find resilience in the face of toxic messages about beauty, sex, and femininity. In Sexism & Sensibility, she draws on real stories from her practice to unpack the effects of sexism in its many guises. Going beyond girl power and full of smart, constructive ways to help girls make sense of things, it includes 

• how to talk about misogyny, gender stereotyping, objectification, and consent—at different ages
• strategies for fine-tuning our daughters’ natural “sexism detectors” and safeguarding their self-esteem 
• ways to help girls spot and contest the microaggressions they face in school, in the media, in relationships, and in public
• how to recognize and combat sexism in our own parenting

We can’t shield our daughters from gender bias and sexism, but we can make sure that they are more prepared to handle it than we ever were. Sexism & Sensibility is an eye-opening and essential resource for proactive parenting.
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Praise for Sexism & Sensibility

Sexism & Sensibility offers seasoned and sensible guidance on the toughest topics in raising girls: misogyny, objectification, body image, confidence, harassment, sexual development, and more. Full of realistic and reassuring guidance, this engaging book should be required reading for anyone who is raising, educating, or caring for girls. I am thrilled for the families and girls who will benefit from Dr. Finkelstein’s wisdom.”—Lisa Damour, PhD, New York Times bestselling author of The Emotional Lives of Teenagers
“Refusing to settle for easy answers, Jo-Ann Finkelstein uses fascinating real-life examples from her therapy practice to show how sexism is in no way a thing of the past. In Sexism & Sensibility, she empowers girls and their parents to tackle the misogyny that still lurks in the shadows of everyday life. A must read—not just for parents of daughters but for anyone with an interest in the future of women and girls.”—Ruth Whippman, author of BoyMom and America the Anxious
“An insightful, relevant, and compassionate book, Sexism & Sensibility will empower parents to navigate their thorniest questions about raising a generation in today’s socially conscious yet backlash-prone times. Revealing how deeply-ingrained gender norms can harm our children’s self-esteem and limit their potential, it offers a roadmap to heal ourselves and liberate our kids.”—Devorah Heitner, PhD, author of Growing Up in Public
“Jo-Ann Finkelstein is an expert at explaining the insidious ways that our daughters will bump up against gender expectations in their lifetimes, but it’s her insights on the ways that these expectations impact our parenting that are truly eye-opening. Sexism & Sensibility is essential reading for new parents everywhere.”—Rosalind Wiseman, New York Times bestselling author of Queen Bees and Wannabes
“A vital addition to the literature about the desperate state of girls in our toxic culture. Dr. Finkelstein offers a light to illuminate this dark landscape and a map to navigate it. In an engaging style, rich with stories, she encourages us to challenge the stereotypes and the sexism that wound and too often destroy our girls (and boys too) and gives us concrete strategies for action and resistance. Her wisdom has never been more necessary.”—Jean Kilbourne, EdD, award-winning documentary filmmaker of Killing Us Softly and author of Can’t Buy My Love
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About the Author

Jo-Ann Finkelstein, PhD
Jo-Ann Finkelstein, PhD, a clinical psychologist, trained at Harvard University and Northwestern University and now maintains a private clinical practice rooted in an understanding of how bias, social justice, and mental health intersect. An expert blogger for Psychology Today, her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, The Harvard Business Review, Women’s Health, Oprah Daily, and on HuffPost and CNN. Her writing has appeared in Ms., Your Teen, and Medium, among other publications. Dr. Finkelstein has served on the board of the Chicago Chapter of the National Organization for Women, volunteered for Planned Parenthood PAC, and was an organizer for the Chicago Women’s March. She lives in Chicago, Illinois. More by Jo-Ann Finkelstein, PhD
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