Odd Girl Out, Revised and Updated: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls [ Rachel An American School Board Journal Notable Book in Education. "This is the book we have been waiting for. It's a wakeup call to all of us who care deeply about girls' development. Simmons has given voice to the girls who. Start by marking “Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls” as Want to Read: Dirty looks and taunting notes are just a few examples of girl bullying that girls and women have long suffered through silently and painfully. With this book Rachel Simmons elevated the.

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Odd Girl Out Book

When Odd Girl Out was first published, it became an instant bestseller and this groundbreaking book continues to be the definitive resource illuminating the. Although more than 16 years have passed, Rhodes Scholar Simmons hasn't forgotten how she felt when Abby told the other girls in third grade not to play with . Odd Girl Out is a lesbian pulp fiction novel written in by Ann Bannon ( pseudonym of Ann Weldy). It is the first in a series of pulp fiction novels that eventually came to be known as The Beebo Brinker Chronicles. It was originally published in by Gold Medal Books, again in by.

Plot summary[ edit ] Laura Landon is a sheltered freshman at a fictional university in a midwestern town. Intensely shy and introverted, she is drawn to the president of the Student Union, Beth Cullison. Beth is outgoing and friendly, experienced socially with men, particularly but feels a void in her life. She doesn't understand how the other girls are so fulfilled by the men in their lives, despite having tried. Every time she allows herself to be intimate with one, she breaks it off out of disappointment. Beth shares a room in the sorority house with Emmy, and convinces Laura to pledge the sorority. Feeling a pull to Beth, Laura delights in her presence and experiences jealousy and confusion in her attachment to the older woman. They go on dates together to movies and plays, and Beth considers Laura something of an enigma, unsure of how to reach out to her to get to know her well. Laura finds herself especially jealous of Beth's most recent beau, Charlie, who to Beth's surprise, has awoken some new feelings in her.

Intensely shy and introverted, she is drawn to the president of the Student Union, Beth Cullison. Beth is outgoing and friendly, experienced socially with men, particularly but feels a void in her life. She doesn't understand how the other girls are so fulfilled by the men in their lives, despite having tried.

Every time she allows herself to be intimate with one, she breaks it off out of disappointment. Beth shares a room in the sorority house with Emmy, and convinces Laura to pledge the sorority. Feeling a pull to Beth, Laura delights in her presence and experiences jealousy and confusion in her attachment to the older woman.

They go on dates together to movies and plays, and Beth considers Laura something of an enigma, unsure of how to reach out to her to get to know her well. Laura finds herself especially jealous of Beth's most recent beau, Charlie, who to Beth's surprise, has awoken some new feelings in her. Laura is often so at odds with her unemotional upbringing conflicting with the intensity of the emotions she experiences for Beth that she practices self-injury. Cleis Press edition cover Beth begins to realize what effect she has on Laura and teases her good-naturedly to watch what happens to her, but Beth is taken back by Laura's intense attraction and love for her, and they begin an affair.

This is compounded by her escalating relationship with Charlie, who is frustrated with Beth's vacillating between affection for him and her guilt for hurting Laura.

Beth loses her faith with her sorority and the university when during a sorority costume party, Emmy gets drunk and her boyfriend, Bud, hoists her scantily clad over his shoulder and the top of her costume falls off. The sorority kicks her out after she is caught in the middle of coitus with Bud, after she was told not to see him. Bud is angered by this, and feels partly to blame.

He reassures Emmy and promises to marry her. Sort order. Jan 14, Jane rated it it was amazing. I honestly think everyone should read this book — especially parents of girls.

The premise is that boys tend to be more direct in their aggression - physical confrontation - while in contrast, girls use an indirect approach known as relational aggression. Wikipedia's definition of relational aggression is a form of aggression where the group is used as a weapon to assault others and others I honestly think everyone should read this book — especially parents of girls.

Wikipedia's definition of relational aggression is a form of aggression where the group is used as a weapon to assault others and others' relationships. It uses lies, secrets, betrayals and a host of other two-faced tactics to destroy or damage the relationships and social standing of others in the group. The following is the most vivid. When I was little, I was an incredibly outgoing kid. I would talk to just about anybody, anywhere.

I was very outspoken, too. That all changed in the third grade. Third grade actually started off quite well. There were also other girls in my class whom I easily befriended. One of these girls was K. At the beginning of the year, K became friends with H. My birthday was in September, and that year I had my first ever birthday party.

I invited six girls, and K. We all had a great time. One day in early October, during recess, as I was approaching T. We concocted a plan to have T. We put our plan into action, and that act of retribution was how one of the worst periods of my life began. Immediately, K. She made up stories about us, told lies to other students about us, and once even told lies about me to my mother who was a classroom volunteer. Within a week, my third grade experience had gone from being great to being hell.

Additionally, H. This meant that once a week she and I went to a special Gifted class, instead of to regular class with everyone else. For this, K. In addition to being nerds, she claimed that we were weird, strange, and not the sort of person one should be friends with.

Suddenly no one in my class liked me and H. People whom I had liked now refused to talk to me — or if they did talk to me, it was only to call me names or to threaten me. Then, to make matters worse, I got glasses. I certainly need glasses — and I needed them back then — but nothing gives third graders ammunition like glasses. I was taunted relentlessly, and called Four Eyes more times than I could count.

I had my glasses snatched off my face during recess. I had them held over my head, just out of reach I have always been short. One thing was certain: Several times I was lectured by my teacher for various actions both real and imaginary reported to my teacher by K. By the end of the year I was quiet, introverted, speaking only to my closest friends, and often only when spoken to. I wonder what my life would have been like had K gone into the fourth grade that year.

Or if H. Would I have continued to be gregariously outgoing all through my school years? Would I have lived my life differently? Would I still have become the socially anxious oddball that I am now?

View all 5 comments. Jul 17, Reader rated it liked it Shelves: I picked up an audio book at the library the other day; primarily for my wife. As the father of a new baby girl, I thought it might me interesting to find out about female "alternative aggression".

Interesting is not the word. I am down right frightened. It isn't popular to say this, but I had a relatively idyllic childhood. I wasn't one of the Popular kids, but I I picked up an audio book at the library the other day; primarily for my wife.

I wasn't one of the Popular kids, but I had good friends and I got to do cool things. I had a few run-ins with bullies, but nothing a few brief moments of violence didn't cure admittedly, after 3 weeks of fear. The stories of non-violent bullying among girls contained in this book make me very that is very in italics, underlined, and bolded worried.

I had no idea how traumatic, life altering, and pervasive this alternative aggression is for girls. I tried to listen to it with my wife in the car and she asked me to turn it off because it made her too uncomfortable.

Along with Gift of Fear, I recommend this book to all fathers of daughters. View all 3 comments. Dec 30, Veronica rated it it was amazing.

The newly revised and updated edition of Odd Girl Out is a must have for every person who is parenting or educating a girl. This was the first book I grabbed once my fall classes were over. I think it's because I have a daughter. She's eight and in the 3rd grade and we've already had two incidents involving bullying. The first was in preschool and the second was last year.

Both incidents were handled by teachers are administrators in a manner that Simmons suggests in Chapter That chapter gives some wonderful suggestions on how to set up a school or even a classroom to be as bully-proof as possible.

Obviously no place can be bully-proof, but one thing that Simmons points out is that one way to address bullying is to have a transparent and predictable system of consequences. If a student knows that Sally and Maria are the teacher's favorite and nothing they do gets them in real trouble, that student feels disempowered to act and report bullying she may be experiencing or witnessing. Having a consistent system of consequences also sends a clear message to students who bully that it will not be tolerated.

Simmons doesn't advocate for a zero-tolerance policy that gets 7-year-olds expelled, rather a zero-tolerance policy that is just that, zero-tolerance for bullying a classmate. Three themes really struck me as key things to remember from this book. One is that schools have relied on girls to maintain a certain peace for years. And second is that this peace that we see in girls is really silence. Society teaches girls to silence their feelings in order to "be good.

Not if we decide that it ends today. When we teach our girls to get over it, that "that's how life is, wait until your boss is a bully," we are teaching our girls to ignore that voice in their head and heart that says, "This is wrong. Walk away. Why are women afraid to promote themselves? I know that I can look back at my childhood and know that being "all that" was frowned upon. Pride in one's work could only be taken so far.

Simmons really digs into how promoting oneself breaks one of the cardinal rules of being a girl -- fit in. You can't fit in if you let people know how awesome you are. Simmons updated her book to include a great chapter on cyberbullying.

If you don't have time to read the whole book, skip right to chapter four: But you really should read the whole thing. Warning women reading this will experience flashbacks to high school.

View 2 comments. Mar 07, Rachel rated it really liked it.

Odd Girl Out | Rachel Simmons

Every mother with a pre-teen or teen girl needs to read this book. This book was disturbing for me, both as a parent and as a former girl. I clearly recognized myself as a victim of bullying throughout the book, but it also made me realize that, as a kid, I was also sometimes a perpetrator, which I had never thought about before. Unfortunately it does a much better job of outlining the problem of girl bullying than it does at presenting solutions.

That said, it is helping me better understand my Every mother with a pre-teen or teen girl needs to read this book. That said, it is helping me better understand my daughter's interactions with her peers, and validate her feelings when things aren't going well. Apr 03, Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing Shelves: I still remember the "mean girls" when I was in junior high school. There were three of them, who for some unknown reason made it their mission to make getting an education a living hell for everybody else.

If they weren't throwing old food at me during recess, they'd be passing notes about me to other kids, throwing rocks at my little brother, or pushing me down the staircase on the way to class. Their proudest moment was locking me in the janitor's closet for a whole day. To be honest, I don't I still remember the "mean girls" when I was in junior high school. To be honest, I don't even think they realized what they were doing. It was just a harmless game to them.

But what makes popular girls act so mean, nasty, petty and catty towards each other and towards other kids? Odd Girl Out examines not only the bullying culture, but how it has evolved in recent years from paper notes and hazing, to cyberbullying and hate mail. It answers a number of questions and also looks into the psychology of the queen bee kids, why they strive to be the best even if it means destroying others in their path.

Written simplistically but intelligently, Odd Girl Out is a great resource for parents, teachers, counselors and even other students who might be involved in this kind of behavior. Sep 20, Lynn rated it did not like it Shelves: I consider myself to have been an outcast and a victim of bullying through grade school, but am having trouble relating to the stories in this book.

Maybe I'm part of the problem from this author's point of view, because I wouldn't call these scenarios bullying at all. The people she profiles are friends, but there is a lot of emotional blackmail in these relationships. On page , the author says: I'd planned to organize [the girls'] stories according to the qualiites I assumed girls got pu I consider myself to have been an outcast and a victim of bullying through grade school, but am having trouble relating to the stories in this book.

I'd planned to organize [the girls'] stories according to the qualiites I assumed girls got punished for: I had not expected to find that girls became angry with each other for quite the opposite reason.

They get it for that, too, among the worst. But the author seems to be writing about something else, the in-fighting among the popular crowd, or within any clique. Everyone she profiles had been popular and then became outcast, usually because of jealousy. They turn on each other and ostracize each other, or they start rumors for revenge.

So the book has a point, that there is pattern of anger and manipulation in girls' lives, within cliques. The author explains that relationships are so important to most girls, that the worst punishment is to be ostracized, so alliances and trying to be popular are very important. She explains because the culture doesn't allow girls to be aggressive or violent, girls manipulate instead.

Of course, this tendency is widely known, and "mean girls" is a stereotype. There are some interesting interviews in the book with girls describing what qualities the girls think are ideal skinny, blond and popular and who the "anti-girl" is she is slutty, brainy, and not skinny enough, by the way. It is disturbing to see how girls pressure each other to act within the traditional cultural norm, punishing each other for being mean or slutty. But I feel that this pattern co-exists with other patterns, such as 1 girls who openly bully, mock, tease, and even physically fight, and, 2 boys who are manipulative and back-stabbing, like these girls, instead of physically fighting.

This book does NOT address what I would call true bullying, the victimization of students who are different and weak, people who just want to be left alone. The author seems convinced that there are no such people, that all girls engage in bullying sometimes.

She admits that she herself sold out friends to be with more "popular" girls, and that the young "bullies" she interviewed are really nice, normal girls like herself. But this is not necessarily true, and these girls are not normal. Personally, I am disgusted with almost every girl in this book, and the author. There is no excuse for behaving like that, and there are some of us who did not.

Feb 13, Ellyn rated it really liked it Shelves: This book was recommended to me by my supervisor at my field placement at the Shaker Heights schools. It suggests that girls in our society -- particularly white, middle class girls -- have been socialized to believe that they must be nice and sweet at all times, and consequently, a culture of hidden, silent aggression has developed, often called relational aggression.

The author interviewed hundreds of girls and adult women, and their stories are told throughout the book. It was painful to read This book was recommended to me by my supervisor at my field placement at the Shaker Heights schools. It was painful to read at times and definitely reminded me of some of my own experiences in junior high and early high school.

Highly recommended for anyone who spends time around preteen or teenage girls. Feb 21, Andrew rated it did not like it. Rosalind Wiseman's book is far better. Simmons performs a whole bunch of interviews, but fails to develop anything more than a shallow theory of stunted expression-of-aggression that ticks all her ideological boxes.

The purple prose and emotive language made the book seem like a tendentious polemic. Simmonds filters the information through her theories and personal experience; I've tried to keep an open mind but don't trust that she's given all of the information.

Furthermore her theories are root Rosalind Wiseman's book is far better. Furthermore her theories are rooted only in the interviews and her particular feminist theories - as they say "the plural of anecdote is not data", and there is no reference to other psychological, sociological, economic or biological material. It is as if Simmons has the answers and the book is but repetitions of them. There's nothing to engage in; you can only agree or disagree.

Anyone who has survived middle and high school years has had some direct experience with how girls negotiate relationship conflict. It's vicious and covert. Simmons does a very comprehensive job laying out all the ways in which this happens and how we set them up with this conflicting message that they must always be "nice".

No wonder they take all their aggression underground. Somewhere along the line girls are taught that conflict will result in relationship loss, which is the worst outcome, s Anyone who has survived middle and high school years has had some direct experience with how girls negotiate relationship conflict. Somewhere along the line girls are taught that conflict will result in relationship loss, which is the worst outcome, so they are set up to have friendships in which there is not to be any conflict.

The conflict goes underground and takes root, resulting in the psychological aggression that can devastate someone on the receiving end of it.

Simmons gets to this point half way through the book after many lengthy and detailed examples of real life experiences from girls across socio-economic and racial spectra the racial differences are very interesting. The rest of the book presents practical solutions for dealing with bullying behaviors--especially cyber bullying--training educators and parents to recognize and deal with the covert behavior effectively so that all parties are treated respectfully and problems can be resolved to reach a better outcome.

There are excellent step-by-step tips for parents who are trying to help their daughters through this too. Oh, if my parents had this resource when I was a kid, then I would n't It would be interesting to read a book that addresses negotiating conflict among kids across the gender spectrum. While boys negotiate their relationships differently from girls, they are also on the receiving end of girls' bewildering behaviors that are meant to be decoded when often no one but the girl s knows the code.

With two daughters, I am always wanting them to be around boys and connect with them positively and understand how their natures deviate, but mostly to understand that they are all human beings with the same needs to have connection and belonging. I'll definitely be hanging on to this book as a reference resource. I'd recommend this book for anyone who has children or works with them. Aug 17, Julia rated it did not like it.

In Rachel Simmons' book, Odd Girl Out, she describes some of the stories that she heard while going from school to school to talk about girls who were "bullied.

Despite the fact that this is what to normal people would be a minor incident and the fact that it happened in the third grade, this is something that apparently haunted Simmons for h In Rachel Simmons' book, Odd Girl Out, she describes some of the stories that she heard while going from school to school to talk about girls who were "bullied.

Despite the fact that this is what to normal people would be a minor incident and the fact that it happened in the third grade, this is something that apparently haunted Simmons for her entire life.

Throughout the book, I had to keep reminding myself that this book was published in I don't remember exactly what the situation was like back then, but nothing in this book is anything you probably haven't heard already. It's almost like she's describing, in exact detail, how someone might eat cereal. It's something that's not "hidden," but it's not described in exact detail in a book.

If Simmons considers the stories in her book to be bullying, then I have some personal stories that would blow her away. This book was far too simplistic and whiny for my taste.

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View all 4 comments. This book did open my eyes and not in a positive way. To be honest I was kind of shocked but the author is right about lots of things. Especially how girls use each other and how they do not want to confront others.

Very interesting read. Update May 20 Changing this rating from 3 to 4 because I cannot stop thinking of this book read in !

Odd Girl Out

I of course offered payment for shippin This book did open my eyes and not in a positive way. I of course offered payment for shipping So I am really wanting to re read this. Really such an interesting read.

Update October 14 Just received a copy of this book I ordered through abebooks. Finally I have this book again and can re read. Not at the moment cause I have too much going on in my life but will not wait too long cause it was so interesting. Nov 14, Ciara rated it really liked it Shelves: This book provided some really interesting insights into how girls carry a lot of pressure to be "nice" and "likable" hmm, sound like critiques of fictional heroines anyone has read lately?

The belief that one is supposed to be loved by everyone, all the time, is of course completely incompatible with the need to address differences or express one's own feelings or wishes. When differenc This book provided some really interesting insights into how girls carry a lot of pressure to be "nice" and "likable" hmm, sound like critiques of fictional heroines anyone has read lately?

When differences or needs cannot be expressed in a safe or constructive manner, they're often subverted into something that doesn't necessarily look like what society identifies as "aggression," but which sure feels awful when you're on the receiving end of it. The author talks a fair amount about how we don't even have the vocabulary to describe the kind of clear, yet often ignored or unacknowledged by adults , cruelty to which girls subject each other.

What this book really underscored for me was that we need to be teaching conflict management to everyone from as young an age as possible. Because I haven't run into the problems described in this book only as a child -- I saw a number of them, ugly and close-up, back when I first joined an internet community in It was a real struggle for me and some of the other female members to get past the clash of "I need to make myself lovable to everyone!

But I also need to express myself! I've developed a much tougher hide since then, and, I hope, better skills at conflict resolution and disagreeing with people politely. But it sure would have been nice to have been taught those skills in school, instead of having to figure them out in trial-by-fire as an adult. I recommend this book to anyone who has been a girl or knows any girls. View all 6 comments. May 11, Bora rated it liked it. As someone who has bullied and been bullied the book was a fascinating look and visit back to the world of teenage girls.

Many factorsand theories have been given as drivers of female bullying and this book goes into depth about how we as a society do not allow girls to adequately and healthily express their anger. And moreover that we perpetuate antiquated notions of how girls should behave despite fighting on a daily basis for women's rights in the workplace. Though well intentioned and well r As someone who has bullied and been bullied the book was a fascinating look and visit back to the world of teenage girls.

Though well intentioned and well researched I found the writing to be mediocre and the chapters started to mesh together which happens to be a big pet peeved. Certainly a must read for parents and educators but also for adult women who simply believe in the potential of today's young women.

Jan 07, Pia added it. I grew up reading stories about and trying very unsuccessfully to emulate girls sent to live in attics by evil boarding school head mistresses, but who nonetheless made the very best of their circumstances and were steadfastly good and angelic--never bearing a grudge that they lived in a cold attic with rats as their only friends, wore rags, ate gruel, and performed hard labor. So, this study about girlhood aggression was a refreshing change; disturbing because the aggression is more often tha I grew up reading stories about and trying very unsuccessfully to emulate girls sent to live in attics by evil boarding school head mistresses, but who nonetheless made the very best of their circumstances and were steadfastly good and angelic--never bearing a grudge that they lived in a cold attic with rats as their only friends, wore rags, ate gruel, and performed hard labor.

So, this study about girlhood aggression was a refreshing change; disturbing because the aggression is more often than not against other girls and can turn vicious, but interesting nonetheless. Jun 17, Willa added it Shelves: A month or so ago I heard a news story about a girl bullying episode that ended in tragedy, both for the victim who committed suicide out of despair, and the perpetrators, who were tried in court for their aggression. This haunting story was what made me request several books from interlibrary loan on the subject, and this one was the kind I was most interested in reading -- not a self-help or counseling so much, but written investigatively from an extended series of interviews with girls of var A month or so ago I heard a news story about a girl bullying episode that ended in tragedy, both for the victim who committed suicide out of despair, and the perpetrators, who were tried in court for their aggression.

This haunting story was what made me request several books from interlibrary loan on the subject, and this one was the kind I was most interested in reading -- not a self-help or counseling so much, but written investigatively from an extended series of interviews with girls of various ages from various schools in middle America.

From what the introduction says this book was one of the first written to discuss the subject. The author became interested in the topic after remembering her own early girlhood where several girls taunted and tormented her daily for several months. When she went to look up the research on the subject as a Rhodes Scholar in Oxford, she found Nothing had been written beyond a few brief monographs in small academic journals.

So she set out to remedy the deficit, and since then books about girl bullying have become a small genre. The reason that girl bullying took so long to reach the sociological radar system, she says, is because it is not nearly as obvious as boy bullying, which has been depicted at least since Tom Brown's school days. She writes about how girls can be huddled together in pairs or little groups and look like the best of friends even when they are tearing each other to shreds.

She describes how gossip works as a sort of barter system -- how girls rise farther into the circle of popularity by trading information about their peers, and how girls neatly avoid direct aggression by calling in allies to help them campaign against a victim. Victims are not always or even usually sociallly awkward types who don't fit in.

Often they are new girls who are seen as a threat, or girls who used to be part of the group but were chosen as targets for sometimes very obscure reasons.

One girl described how her victimization ensued after a sleepover in which her friend's brother sat next to her and talked for a few minutes. The author's theory is that society does not allow girls to be openly aggressive. From Day One they are expected to be "nice" even before being talented or intelligent or assertive.

So they have no ordinary outlets for the aggression that every human feels. She describes how girls will let things go with other girls rather than tell how they feel, because the other girl will be hurt and in fact, deeply threatened by being confronted. These feelings build up over time and are often discharged by seeking the help of other friends "Emily is being so mean!

Other girls will get involved out of a kind of loyalty "Did you hear about Emily! So lots of damage can be done without direct responsibility. I had reservations about the theory that society "refuses" girls ordinary outlets for aggression and so even the bullies are in a way victims. I think she is more perceptive when she points out that girls more naturally work in terms of alliances and "befriending" and groups, whereas boys interact more openly. She says how many girls told her "I wish I were a boy" because boys show aggression more openly and simply.

Many researches into bullying behavior did not focus in on girl aggression because of the way the parameters of the studies were set up.

Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls

An example is verbal repartee. Boys will verbally jostle and put down their friends. Studies described this as normal friendly behavior -- anyone who has brothers or sons sees the dynamic. Boys call each other names and put each other down and it's something of a bonding experience. The researchers would tend to put girl put-downs in the same category, as healthy social put-downs.

But when girls put down girls in a joking manner, often it is really not a joke. The victim feels blindsided and then distrusts her own reactions when the other girls say "I was only joking! The author's concern is that the particular dynamic of girl-bullying is almost identical to what goes on in emotional abusive adult relationships. The bullies sometimes act kind to the victims in between being abusive. Bullies are often charming, attractive girls, the kind that teachers and parents love.

The bullying isolates the victim from support and also messes with her very perceptions so that she blames herself and accepts the torment as justified. The book is not a self-help manual like some of the other ones that arrived from the library.

Though it does include some suggestions for parents and teachers in one of the later chapters, it is mostly descriptive. As such, it is convincing in its case that girl bullying is no less hurtful for being covert and indirect. Several of those interviewed for the book were adults who still have vivid memories of their schooldays and often expressed that their lives were permanently affected by what happened in junior high.

Jan 20, Kolbie rated it liked it.

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