Teenage girls today are bombarded with images of beauty as they relate to television, movies and magazine covers. Real beauty comes from within, but understanding that often eludes even older women who have a lifetime of experience. The voices of young women who are struggling to understand their inner beauty and learning to share it with their world are the voices we read in this text.
Jainaba is an African girl who has traveled to America from Gambia. In her U.S. school, she is often told that she is not beautiful because she does not conform to the expectations of American culture. But Jainaba has the support of her family and confidence in herself that allows her to see her inner beauty.
Sara, a 17-year-old Mexican American, tells of her fall into bulimia because of the pressures she endures from this culture of beauty. On the next pages, Dana tells the reader that her eyes are crooked but “my heart is straight.”
Editor Woody Winfree has gathered forty-six teenage voices that speak out about the culture of beauty and how its expectations have molded their lives, sometimes to conform and sometimes to rebel. The articles are brief, limited to a single page, with an accompanying illustration. The book is tightly bound, and the pages are of a card-stock weight.
Another title on this subject, written by the teens themselves, is RED: The Next Generation of American Writers—Teenage Girls—On What Fires Up Their Lives Today, edited by Amy Goldwasser. Ms. Goldwasser has gathered comments on this topic and several others from the teens that are living it. Either of these titles will be a welcome addition to the high school curriculum.