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Adolescent girls are barraged with conflicting messages about what it means to be female. In an often hostile culture, they are subject to being exploited, harassed, manipulated, or even abused physically and sexually. In Beyond Nice, author Patricia Davis explores the role of spirituality in teen girls. Based on more than 100 in-depth interviews with girls from a variety of religious, ethnic, and regional backgrounds, Davis shows how religion actually functions both to help and to hurt in girls' search for authenticity. As she characterizes girls' ideas about God, spirituality, sexuality and bodies, and violence, Davis' interviews convey articulately and deeply how spirituality concerns girls' surmounting hurdles to ground and affirm what they become.
Format: Paperback Number of Pages: 96 Vendor: Augsburg Fortress Publication Date: 2000
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches) ISBN: 0800632567 ISBN-13: 9780800632564 Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.
In this sensitive and discerning book, based on more than 100 in-depth interviews with girls from a variety of religious, ethnic and regional backgrounds, Davis shows how religion actually functions both to help and to hurt in girls' search for authenticity. As she characterizes girls' ideas about God, spirituality, sexuality and bodies, and violence, Davis's interviews convey how spirituality concerns girls' surmounting hurdles to ground and affirm what they become.
In this denuded dissertation, Davis eschews sustained analysis and engagement
with relevant scholarship in favor of excerpting interviews she conducted over
four years with adolescent girls about church and spirituality. Reading more
like an extended journalistic feature than qualitative research, this book
targets an audience of church workers seeking a better understanding of
adolescent girls. Five topically organized chapters feature quotations from
girls about God, their churches, sexuality and violence. In the first chapter,
Davis explains that her responsibilities as an interviewer include sharing
girls' insights without putting her own spin on them. This may explain why she
does little more than quote and rephrase what informants tell her.
Unfortunately, this strategy does not erase her influence, but rather allows it
subtle power. For example, her chapter about violence highlights a tendency she
has noticed among adolescent girls to protect others but not themselves. While
Davis does voice some concern about this, her troubling admiration of such
self-abnegation is evident as well. She seems to be rewriting an old feminist
story, in which women are equal parts noble, innocent, victimized and wise. For
a book that transcends these clich s in its exploration of girls coming of age
in spiritual communities, see Carol Lakey Hess's Caretakers of Our Common
House. Davis's book may serve her fellow church workers adequately, but her
shallow valorization of girls does not, despite its title's promise, venture
far beyond nice. (Dec.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.