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Girl Culture

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,185 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Renowned photographer Lauren Greenfield has won acclaim and awards for her studies of youth culture. In Girl Culture, she combines a photojournalists sense of story with fine-art composition and color to create an astonishing and intelligent exploration of American girls. Her photographs provide a window into the secret worlds of girls social lives and private rituals, the ...more
Hardcover, 155 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Chronicle Books (CA) (first published 2002)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  1,185 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: photography, feminism
Amazing photographs of and insightful essays by/interviews with girls: Girls at a weight loss camp, quinceañera girls, girls going on first dates, actresses in porn films, girls putting on make up, young girls playing dress-up, heavy girls, scrawny girls, buxom girls, fit girls at the Fitness America competition, girls with pink painted toes, girls kissing themselves in the mirror, girls with eating disorders, popular girls, lonely girls, sad girls, happy well adjusted girls, dancers, Cindy Marg ...more
Apr 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
God damn girls are fucked! We are so awesome and amazing yet feel so shitty about are selves and are constantly sexualized as this book documents the difficulties of being a teen girl in America. The pictures are beautiful and very telling. It makes me kind of sad, but is really honest and unique as well.
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
I have a new found understanding and respect for how deep and damaging the messages we send to girls in our culture can be. Lauren Greenfield does a brilliant job of taking an intimate journey into the experiences of girls in the American culture without interpreting what she finds. Instead she lets the pictures and personal narratives of the girls tell the story in its rawest and most moving form. It is impossible to walk away without recognition of the subtle and overt ways the spirit and valu ...more
Jun 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
A very insightful and important piece of work. Every woman should see a copy of this. Photographs paired with stories of women and girls about their bodies, sexuality, beauty and how it is affected by culture. I had it on my coffee table for a long time and all my guests (men and women) would pick it up and become completely absorbed. I had to sit and wait until they were done so as not to disturb their reverie.
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“In this work, I have been interested in documenting the pathological in the everyday. I am interested in the tyranny of the popular and thin girls over the ones who don’t fit that mold. I am interested in the competition suffered by the popular girls, and their sense that popularity is not as satisfying as it appears. I am interested in the time-consuming grooming and beauty rituals that are an integral part of daily life. I am interested in how girls’ feelings of frustration, anger, and sadnes ...more
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-non-fiction
Love this book sm. Made me feel less alone about having insecurities regarding my body. Knowing that I'm not the only one makes me feel less alone. Knowing that there are companies, marketing teams and many other people who find ways to make me despise myself is actually comforting. In the sense that the problem doesn't lie in me. My body is fine and others want ME to hate it for THEIR own benefit. Therefore, I don't have to listen to them. The problem is beyond me that I, in fact, have nothing ...more
Jul 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I heard about this through a Girl Scout puplication. It is intriguing. For anyone who thought, like me, that women have come a long way, this book will make you realize that we still have a long way to go. Greenfield presents this in a very non-judgemental way...she shows us both how we are objectified and how we ask to be objectified. The book is mainly pictures, with some paragraphs in the voice of the girls and women pictured.
This was a tough book, for a photo essay one. So many girls my age (19 at the time) or far younger struggling with body image, sexuality, abuse... one of the ones that pushed me towards wanting to be a photographer, though!
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A collection of photos and stories, highlighting different american girls and women and documenting the struggle of being one of them. It gives insights of what high school girls, atlethes, strippers, girls at weight loss camps, anorexic girls or even an 6 year old and more may think about beauty and what it means, for them, to be a girl or a woman.

While reading all the stories I wondered who I would be, if I would've grown up in a different body or environment. What would my beliefs in beauty,
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“girls rule better. I love girls. they rock. and they rule and boys drool. I love being a girl. i’m proud to be a girl, ‘cause girls do whatever so good.”

lily, age 6
I got this book after being blown away by Greenfield's documentary "Queen of Versailles" and realizing that I was already familiar with her work from her documentary "Thin" (which is available on YouTube). I wish I could give this book to every single person in America, including myself about 10 years ago. In this book, Greenfield turns her lens toward the commodification of the female body and female rituals, and boy does she nail it. The stunning photos are amplified by raw personal narratives ...more
Rachel Smalter Hall
This book was just utterly and completely fascinating. It has some flaws (e.g. it centers whiteness, how very '90s), but I enjoyed every single second I spent with it.

I went into this book with no expectations. I wasn't already familiar with Lauren Greenfield's work, and I had planned to just leaf through Girl Culture's images like a coffee table book. But then the interviews completely sucked me in.

The voices of the women she talks to are just... fascinating, contradictory, confident, insecure,
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Photography buffs and social issue inquirers
This book is a disturbing and brillant perspective on the influences impacting women and girls' image. Her photographs are full of color and extremely engaging. I had no idea there were still "finishing schools" around today! ...more
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves
She really understands her subject. The kids speak for themselves. It's hopeful and bleak. ...more
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
This collection of photography and essays/articles about girls and young women is fantastic but also incredibly depressing. I can't imagine how hard it would be to raise a young girl right now. ...more
May 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, gender
NOTE: I have not read this book (yet) -- I saw many of the photos and accompanying text as a museum installation and thought it was amazingly well done.
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Depressing and enlightening...
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Greenfield's collection of photographs and testimonials about modern American Girlhood made me incredibly sad. An informative read for anyone raising young women today. ...more
Definitely the first photojournalism book I ever loved. It changed the way I saw myself and my world.
Feb 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
The stunning photographs of young women, interspersed with a few celebrities, are juxtaposed with essays told in first person by some of the girls themselves. Commenting on topics ranging from exotic dancing to weight-loss camp, competitive swimming to a high-school dance, these ladies are alternately self-assured and searching, confident and struggling to figure out what it means to be a woman in today's society. The images are important for the glimpse they give into the real thoughts of these ...more
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Lauren did an amazing job capturing the feelings that girls go through even though these images were taken sometime ago I still feel that any girl/woman can derive feelings and connection which these. I was lucky enough to get to meet and hear a lecture from this photographer, it's always interesting to hear what the photographer has to say about there work, I would recommend anyone that has a change catch one of her lectures. ...more
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Lauren Greenfield's book offers a look into the lives of young women across the country. I first came across this book in my freshman year of college and had been doing a lot of reading about body image in women and found the writing and photographs in this book fascinating. Greenfield captures the essence of youth beautifully. ...more
Some shocking photographs, some ordinary ones of everyday girls and women going about their lives. Some of the women pictured write short excerpts talking about their lives as women. Very focused on modern day culture and the impact it has on women and even young girls today. Beautiful photographs.
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
So good. A collection of photos about (duh) being a girl. Girls with eating disorders, bodybuilders, popular middle schoolers, weight-loss campers...
Tons of amazing pictures about awkwardness, insecurity, jealousy, pride, strength, and the attempts to shakily construct a self-image.
Erin Sweet
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an eye opener for people living in America. Standards are harsh and this book points out the standards that we impose upon the females in society. Like I said: eye opener.
I loved Lauren Greenfield's THIN and decided to give Girl Culture a go and ended up loving it too.
Nov 15, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, sociology
The wee little girl stuff bothered me the most. The swimmer's viewpoint was pretty inspirational. ...more
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
AMAZING. I give it 7 thumbs up.
May 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: photo
I want to like Lauren Greenfield more than I do because she's tapped into an important subject. Maybe her work is too commercial for my tastes. ...more
Apr 17, 2009 marked it as to-read
from spring '09 Women, Development, and the Journey seminar ...more
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Erin by: self-chosen for developmental psych project
Highly recommended for anyone interested in what it's like growing up female in the United States.

The "I accept myself" photograph - that's where it's at.
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Lauren Greenfield is an American artist, documentary photographer, and documentary filmmaker. She has published three photographic monographs, directed four documentary films, exhibited in museums, and published in magazines and other publications.

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