by A Girlsource Production Ten Speed Press, 2003 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Jan 30th 2007
Reminiscent of Our Bodies Our
Selves, GirlSource is a book of advice for young women about how to
cope with school, work, relationships, sex, families, and health. It has the
same sorts of information available in other similar books, so what makes it
distinctive is that it is written by teenagers living in the San Francisco area
from a multicultural background. Eight writers are listed as the editorial
team: aged 15 to 19, they include two African-Americans, a Chinese-American, 2
Latinas, a girl from Guatamala, a girl from China, a girl from Mexico, a
Mexican-America, and a Palestinian-American. There are five chapters, on minds
and souls, bodies, relationship, rights, and futures. Each chapter is full of
boxes of information, checklists, quotations from girls talking about their own
experience, definitions, and photographs. The layout is simple and slightly
alternative in style. The advice is nonjudgmental and open-minded: for
example, when talking about whether a girl is ready for sex, it emphasizes
factors such as emotional maturity and the strength of the relationship, and
does not even mention marriage. If a young woman gets pregnant, the authors
discusses the options of abortion, adoption, or carrying on with the pregnancy.
The book also emphasizes protecting against and dealing with rape, harassment,
abusive relationships, drugs and alcohol, discrimination, and family troubles.
The writing is clear and the information seems accurate. At the end of the
book are lists of links and sources, and an index. GirlSource will be
useful to a wide range of young women.
Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities
Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Reviews. His main
research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.