Author & founder of The Ivy Green Educational Consulting, Ana Homayoun, has just released her follow-up to That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week. In her latest book, The Myth of the Perfect Girl, Homayoun delves into the often discussed, yet still somewhat taboo subject of being a young girl in junior & high school. While it has never been an exact trip to paradise during those years, she covers how much tougher it has become, mostly with the exciting yet sometimes dominating & pressure of social media.
In Chapter 1, she covers & unfolds the myths of being The Perfect Girl; the billion dollar industry that the SATs have become, & the pressure on girls (& boys) to do so highly on them; the early on set of puberty & how young women are forced to feel they need to be sex symbols or are un-worthy by the time they’re 13 (I remember Britney Spears hitting the scene at the tender age of 16, just a bit older than me & I certainly felt the ‘pop tart prettiness’ pressure); The good, the bad….& the TECHNOLOGY available to us all now, what we used to easily spend an entire weekend studying for a test, now can easily be researched in a matter of minutes thanks to Google, & the humiliation girls feel when boys break up with them via a text, forcing the poor girl to update her Facebook relationship status. The author notes trying to interview a girl who has just had this scenario occur to her; she was nearly unable to complete her interview as she was looking at her cell phone every two seconds, wondering who had noticed the status change, or hoping the boy would write her. Reason 4 she discusses the un-healthy physical & mental state of many females; with anorexia, the need for stress centers & quick fixes such as alcohol & drugs, becoming the norm. Reason 5 really struck a chord with me, the ultimate myth: being told you can & should have it all, or else you’re a failure. Girls are supposed to get great grades, go to a top college, know every single thing they want to do in life, accomplish the to-do list, or they will have failed in life.
While the term multitasking is often thrown around in our society, Homayoun speaks of a fellow author who uncovers that the brain is actually NOT meant to do multiple things at 1 time; noting that girls often say they end up writing the song lyrics they’re playing while attempting to write a report. This sounds a lot like me as my mental stress sky rockets when having to cover a lot at once, not that it is necessarily something I can get around, but even at my age & being on my own, working, going to school, dating, making connections for the blog & so on, there are days I feel guilty if I need a mental health day…or, if my body feels ill & I am forced to slow down. Reading this book was a great reminder that it is ok to be on the go, but you DO need those off days.
As the book progresses, Homayoun covers great exercises for parents to use in relating to their daughters, & helping them not only succeed, but keep their head on straight. One thing she emphasizes on is SLEEP & I think that couldn’t be more true! Even though it can be hard, especially when you need to cram for tests or getting things done, sleep is pivotal & especially those lazy Saturdays sleeping in…those are very encouraged.
The Myth of the Perfect Girl is a great, informative read, even if you do not have a daughter, like myself. I still feel like that adolescent woman who is “everybody else’s’ girl” some days & this book is a reminder at how far we have come by the time we reach our 20s, but, how important it is to find that balance in your teens.
*Disclaimer: I was provided with an advanced copy to review. All opinions are my own & I really enjoyed the book.