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Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween
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Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  490 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2014
 All-pink aisles in toy stores, popular dolls that resemble pole dancers, ultra sexy Halloween costumes in tween sizes. Many parents are increasingly dismayed at how today’s media, marketers, and manufacturers are sexualizing and stereotyping ever-younger girls but feel powerless to do much about it. Mother of two Melissa
Paperback, 239 pages
Published January 1st 2014 by Chicago Review Press
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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May 23, 2014 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book more than I did. If it had delivered as the title promises, I'm sure I would have been able to give it a higher rating because being able to "fight the stereotyping and sexualizing of girlhood" is something I feel very strongly about. However, this book ended up falling short for me. Yes, there are some good tips, but most of the tips are simply good parenting, for girls AND boys (for example, buying toys that encourage free play and creative thinking rather than somet ...more
Kasey Jane
Mar 01, 2014 rated it liked it
How to Read About Parenting for Nonparents:
Two Parts Preaching to the Choir
One Part Uncomfortable Truths
Add a dash of Things Are Worse Now Than They Used to Be

Shake until comfortably mixed. Allow to rest until it pops up in weird places like the grocery store and magazine advertisements. Shake head. Drink cocktail. Be thankful that you're childless.
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
I have two young daughters and while I really wanted to like this book I found it to be painful. Early on in the book the author talks about not being draconian or obnoxious but the whole book are those two things with an added dose of sanctimony. I get it - media can be bad - but this alarmist attitude is based on zero academic data - but her families feelings on issues. I was hoping for more with actual study to it. She has a lot of letters from professionals in the field but the book is mostl ...more
May 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
Quite honestly I can't read another page of this. I'm shocked that a mother with both and son and daughter would write this. While I see the importance of desexualizing "girls", she still feeds into the abyss of gender tropes (as a mother of both I'm well aware that we sexualize ALL children. Yes, boys too.) and stereotypes. I want to finish it only because I've wasted $18 on this book, hoping I would find one nugget of something new. Nope. Anyone who has invested time in gender studies knows al ...more
Mar 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
I found none of the information in this book new or groundbreaking and practically insulting. I could barley get past the prologue where she concludes that, even before she had a child, she had the "parenting thing in the bag" since she spent time as a babysitter, camp counselor and nanny. This know-it-all arrogance flows through the whole book. Any advice she offers either comes naturally or has been widely discussed among moms. She seems to spend more time promoting her brands than offering an ...more
Brandy King
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am a long-time follower of Melissa Atkins Wardy's work, a frequent participant in her Facebook community at Pigtail Pals Ballcap Buddies, and an academic with a background in media research. I had high hopes for this book and was excited that she would finally have all her thoughts written down for people who are new to the issue of media's influence on children. But I was worried that since I've been immersed in these issues for over a decade, this book would not offer me anything new.

I am h
Emily Merrell
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
There are a lot of good books (Cinderella Ate My Daughter and Packaging Girlhood, for example) that give us facts about the early sexualization and stereotyping of young girls. But it's hard to know what to do to protect our daughters from this type of media. This is a great guide for parents with many real-world examples. There are terrific suggestions for starting conversations and reframing the way we speak to girls. I enjoyed this book and found it helpful. ...more
Courtney Sieloff
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a really fast, fun read and provides a lot of insight into a topic that can often be ignored under the mast "Girls will be Girls." Instead, this book offers tips on how to really look at the cultural influences surrounding childhood and how to be prepared to parent in a way that many of us want to. It's feminist without being "scary" for those who might be afraid of the word, and informative without lecturing. And the best part - and perhaps an unintended consequence - is that this book ...more
Mar 03, 2014 added it
I enjoyed this book. I can't remember who recommended it, but it's applicable to boys too. I like her approach, which is based on respect and graciousness. ...more
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween is a practical, from-the-trenches advice manual for parents who want to push back against the current "pinkification" (and commercialization) of girlhood. It can often be overwhelming for parents who want to preserve and foster their girls' independence, creativity, and whole selves to know how to stand up against mainstream American culture. The strength of this book lies in its concrete id ...more
Nancy Young
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book caught my eye at the library in the new arrivals section. I am so glad I picked up this book! If you have girls in your family, or work with them in any capacity- you should really read this book. It is not about teaching our daughters to shun make-up and burn their Barbies- but about letting THEM choose what toys, colors, interests, etc they want to have. Why should little girls be limited to princess toys while the boys get to have cool Lego sets? It is all about marketing- and WE sh ...more
Malin Friess
May 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
I have two daughters (8 and 12...and Wardy's daughter is named Amelia just like mine) and find myself frequently pushing against the princess stereotype. We do a lot of hiking, biking, visiting museums...even though the girls would often rather be dancing, singing, or watching disney princess videos.

But Wardy takes things to far..

-We have a communal dress-up box and there are no rules who wears what.
-We have rainbow-colored cups, bowls, plates, and silverware that are character free
- I make sure
Jamie McQuiggan
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I took a long read on this book. At times it made me angry (why is the world out to ruin girlhood?!) and at times it made me feel empowered to do better (like speaking out against companies that make horrendous gendered toys & clothes) I found a lot of valuable talking points here for kids, how to discuss the issues that naturally come up (so-and-so said Star Wars is a boy thing, or this toy is pink so it's for girls, etc)

I enjoy Wardy on Facebook a lot-useful and timely discussions and this bo
Dec 12, 2014 rated it liked it
In this book on the perils of modern girlhood, Melissa Atkins Wardy announces the goal of “redefining girly” so that girls can understand that “there are infinite ways to be a girl” and feel free to “choose their own paths,” and she sets out to provide “a tool kit of really practical, parenttested, and proven strategies and ideas from a mom in the trenches, help for parents to navigate through all this with their families and also practical things you can do right now to effect real change in th ...more
Oct 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Around the time my son O turned two, I noticed a shift happening in the way people spoke to him. Prior to that point, people tended to compliment his impossibly blue eyes with their long eyelashes, his sweet smile or his all-around adorableness, which, as his mother, I can objectively tell you with zero bias was off the charts. It was exactly what you'd expect someone to say about any baby, really, since a baby's entire appearance is craftily formed to appeal to adults so you don't throw them ou ...more
May 07, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm going to start with a caveat: I don't have children of my own. I am from a large family, I have done a lot of babysitting and nannying stints, but a mother I am not.

However, I am a big fan of Wardy's work on her blog, and a fan of many of the "Letters from Experts" that contributed to this book. This is a formal overview of the day to day work that Wardy does on her blog. I don't agree with her 100% of the time (things get a little slut-shame-y, which I'm not a fan of, she seems a little too
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
While I agree with the premise of this book, I just don't find it to be that helpful. The author pushes her own website/store as an alternative to "media" about young girls, which makes it feel a lot like she's trying to sell something herself. She is also not entirely sex positive and engages in some slut-shaming of her own (I believe the phrase "cheap hooker" is used).

That said, there are some truths here that more people probably should be aware of about marketing and gender, especially pare
Leila Danielsen
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think most people who pick this book up do so because they're already thinking along these lines; they already want to redefine "girly." So much of it is common sense. But it's great to see it laid out in a smart, easy to follow manner. And the tips on resources were great! All in all, I really liked this book and felt even more confident about the decisions my husband and I are making in terms of raising our daughter. I know I'll be referring back to this book throughout the years. ...more
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Typical popular nonfiction- fluffy with little substance. Sad since the premise has potential.
Jessica Charlton
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was curious to read this book after bringing my infant daughter into a kinder class wearing her black and yellow truck shoes. I literally had kids lining up to tell me she was wearing boys' shoes! *Gasp*

Ms Wardy is absolutely correct about the importance of media literacy. At this point in time teaching our kids how to think critically is just as important to their safety as teaching them stranger danger. Which is why I didn't like this book. It's basically an 11 chapter sales pitch for the au
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Great concept with a mediocre execution. I completely agree with the reviewers who mention the excessive talking points in the book, which are impractical and unrealistic. I would love to have more scientific facts and actual studies listed in here. I also think an update would be great- in the 5 years since this book was published, we have made a little progress in some of the things the author mentions (like more STEM things available for girls, Target removing gender indicators from their toy ...more
Kasey Dietrich
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's so rare when conservative tinfoil-hat-wearing, religious protective parents and new-agey, hippie SJW protective parents can agree on something. This seems to be one of those things. Huzzah! This book was odd since I agreed with most of it, and it's a modern book... strange. There are a few things in here I would reword or I don't agree with, but that's cool with me. There were some great ideas on how to dress, relate to, teach and play with your children so that greedy corporate tycoons don ...more

To be honest I wanted to like this book. The first chapter was great. As out went on though I just couldn't relate. It seemed to me the author was imposing her own women centric values on her daughter even as she was saying she hoped too be gender neutral. Which causes me to ask can she even be neutral?
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book had so much potential. There is a huge problem with the sexualization of childhood, especially girls. But the book came across as sanctimonious and patronizing. There were some good points about clothes and media, but way more time was spent venting about Barbie and Disney Princesses. I ended up skimming the last two chapters because I was annoyed with the attitude.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, but I didn't find anything helpful or new. I found some of the examples for phrasing when raising issues to be patronizing. Was also annoyed by the number of times the author chose to reference her website, products, and her other undertakings. ...more
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a book that I will continue to flip through occasionally until I finish. I was really intrigued by the cover and title and the intro drew me in right away. I did take some valuable lessons away from this book, but I did find a lot of it common sense and also a bit extreme at times.
Laura Davis
Aug 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents; feminists
This book is a good read, even if you're not a parent. However, the lack of quantifiable data (data w/stats and numbers) leaves something to be desired. At times it can feel as if that one parent on the PTSA is lecturing you, but is still a good read. ...more
Jonathan Cromwell
There's some valuable insight in this book and some good ideas, but it feels like a compilation of padded out blog posts. This could have easily had its length cut in half and it would have been a better book for it. ...more
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
It’s truly disappointing that this book didn’t deliver on its promise because the idea is great. If you want to listen to a mom bragging about her kids and parenting style in a way that felt sort of unbelievable read this.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great book with wonderful resources and examples of how to advocate for girls being children and not miniature women.
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