At Motherwell, we love writing that evokes the complexities of modern-day parenting. So it was no surprise that Peggy Orenstein’s widely-acclaimed book Girls & Sex, a bold and original commentary on female adolescent sexuality, resonated with us on many levels. We also realized that the ideas Orenstein addresses—empowerment, objectification, consent, coercion—spoke deeply to our writers and readers as well.
This week, in tandem with the UK release of Girls & Sex, we are collecting four Motherwell essays, including one by Orenstein herself. Each piece directly relates, in some way or other, to the themes of the book: whether you are wondering what to tell your daughter about why women remove their body hair or how to deal with it when your tween comes home talking about porn or whether the games your little kids play are sending the wrong messages about consent. This series is for anybody who has a daughter they want treated with dignity and respect…or a son they want treating someone else’s daughter the same way.
Girls & Sex, a Motherwell original series, featuring:
What the Dutch can teach us about our daughters and sex, by Peggy Orenstein
While American parents are talking to their daughters about the risks of sex, the Dutch are talking about the joys of intimacy.
If you give a pig a porno, by Francie Arenson Dickman
What do you say when your tween comes home talking about Princess Leia porn? A modern-day parody.
What we tell our daughters about body hair, by Lauren Apfel
What grooming habits is my daughter going to learn from me, and what will I say to her about why she might be expected to shave her legs but her brothers won’t be?
Games our kids need to stop playing, by Gail Cornwall
There are many subtle ways in which we teach our children it’s okay for someone to take what they want from another’s body.