“Girls Uncovered: New Research on What America’s Sexual Culture Does to Young Women” is a book that champions the need for young women to preserve their purity. The book reiterates that girls need to take control of their sexual conduct for them to be able to enjoy a fulfilling womanhood. The book is very relevant especially in an era where heightened sexual activity dominates teenagers’ lives.
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“Girls Uncovered” is authored by Freda Bush and Joe Mcilhaney. Both authors are pediatricians and they have substantial experience when it comes to raising girls. This book is written as a guide for parents who are in the process of raising daughters.
The book offers statistical and research-based evidence that enables parents to give their daughters advice that is relevant to the current sexual culture. The authors successfully delve into the sex topic in a straightforward manner. The book’s main goal is to present the benefits of abstinence to young girls, and show how this abstinence can be achieved.
The opening chapters of “Girls Uncovered” cover statistics that concern the aspirations of young girls. According to the authors, most girls express the need to have a stable marriage and a career when they grow up. The book continues by showing how engaging in early sex can have detrimental effects on these aspirations.
Among the adverse effects of premarital sex that are discussed in this book include; sexually transmitted diseases, physical scars, emotional scars, and teenage pregnancies. The authors focus on all these factors in detail except for abortion, which is barely mentioned in the book.
In addition, the authors take time to address some of the common misconceptions about sex. For instance, the authors fault the notion that girls and boys are affected in the same way by premarital sex. The book covers the emotional, hormonal, mental, physical, and psychological aspects of premarital sex.
One of the strong points of this book is that the authors stress on the need for parental involvement when raising daughters. According to the authors, girls are more likely to be misguided than boys are1. This is why girls need the input of both a father and a mother when it comes to receiving advice. The advocacy of parental responsibilities is the hallmark of this book.
The role played by a complete set of parents in a girl’s life is emphasized in this book. The involvement of parents in a girl’s life can be assumed to apply to boys also. The fact that the authors focus on girls as their main subject nullifies the need to mention the role parents play in a boy’s life. The book nobly urges parents to assume a meaningful position in their children’s lives.
This concept seems foreign to several modern parents. Most modern parents are eager to delegate this role to teachers and nannies. This book does not advocate for tyrannical parenting but it champions for willful involvement by parents. The authors are also able to avoid portraying this involvement in a ‘legalistic’ manner. However, parents are urged to take genuine interest in the lives of their female offspring.
For instance, the authors suggest the use of honest and open communication. In addition, parents are required to respect the unique needs of their daughters during this interaction. The authors are able to sustain this tone throughout the book and this makes the book more solid.
The book’s chapter on emotional attachment is particularly interesting. In this chapter, the book makes reference to a hormone known as oxytocin. According to the authors, oxytocin is a hormone that is responsible for the bonding that occurs between mother and child2. The authors note that this hormone is also produced during sexual encounters.
This means that the concept that a sexual encounter can exclude emotional connection is a fallacy. This chapter cautions the ‘hook-up’ generation against trivializing sexual encounters. For example, the book lists several emotional miscommunications that can result from casual sexual encounters.
The emotional attachment subject stands out because it contradicts the manner in which sex is portrayed especially by the new media. Televisions and films often depict sex as a casual fixation that is not related to emotions.
There are very few weaknesses in this book because the authors have done a good job in presenting a solid argument. The few issues that surface in this book are almost negligible. First, the book’s title bears some weaknesses. For instance, the title does not assume a proper book-title version. The long nature of the title is more befitting for an academic paper than it is for a book.
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A shorter and more precise title like “America’s Sexual Culture: Impact on Young Women” would have made a more significant impact. In addition, “Girls Uncovered” sounds more like an obscene film parody. Conducting an internet search using this title proves this point further. The other weakness is that the book tends to be a bit repetitive. The authors seem to be trying to fit a little information in a big space.
This makes the book repetitive in a few instances. For instance, some chapters are longer than they should be. This repetitiveness makes the readers feel as if they are in another boring parental seminar. The authors should have protected the integrity of the book by ensuring that they get straight to the point without elongating issues.
American parents are bombarded with various issues that have to be put into account when raising teenagers. There is a lot of information pertaining to parenting of teenagers and parents sometimes have trouble navigating through it. For instance, the media is filled with psychologists who claim to have the answer to effective teenage parenting.
However, the practical application of these theories often falls short of parents’ expectations. This is especially true for parents who have to raise girls. The authors of this book advocate for abstinence. Most girls’ parents in America have given up on abstinence and they have instead chosen to pursue alternatives such as teaching their daughters safe sex methods.
Other parents have accepted that the modern world cannot accommodate abstinence. These defeatist attitudes have dominated American parenting. “Girls Uncovered” presents research of what the defeatist attitude produces. Some parents do not even bother trying to pursue the abstinence option. The authors outline the various benefits that come with abstinence as an incentive to the complacent parents.
In America, it is almost impossible to separate abstinence from religion. Most people are of the opinion that the only reason girls abide to abstinence is because a particular religion forces them to do so. The link between religion and abstinence is also solidified by the fact that the abstinence message is often carried by pastors and other church leaders.
However, there is a difference between the abstinence message contained in this book and the one that is usually conveyed by religious leaders. Religious leaders urge girls to uphold abstinence and earn heavenly rewards. The message in this book is that girls should uphold abstinence and reap its benefits almost instantly.
Therefore, girls who have no interest in religion always mistake the abstinence message to be part of the gospel and they are likely to dismiss it. It is up to religious leaders to change the tone of their message. Their message should start with the instant benefits outlined in this book and then finish with the big picture.
The religious message should show that it benefits both the body and the soul to pursue abstinence. In addition, the message should not be confined to churches but it should also be spread out to other areas in the community.
This book can be instrumental in instilling a sense of accomplishment among its girl-readers. Most girls often feel like they are ‘missing out’ by practicing abstinence. However, the authors detail very realistic benefits that come from abstinence. Emotional health is very closely related to spiritual health.
This means that readers of this book will grow spiritually after having to grow psychologically and emotionally. Disciples of Christ need all the emotional growth they can get in order to get them to grow spiritually.
This book has the potential to benefit various groups of readers. Parents and young girls are most likely to find this book helpful. The authors of this book are able to demystify the American sexual culture and propose a complete overhaul of the culture.
The book also acts as a morale boost for those girls who have chosen to abstain from sexual activities. Among the various issues that need to be changed in the American society, sexual culture is the most urgent one.
Mcilhhaney, Joe, and Freda Bush. Girls Uncovered: New Research on What America’s Sexual Culture Does to Young Women. New York: Moody Publishers, 2012.
1 Joe Mcilhhaney and Freda Bush, Girls Uncovered: New Research on What America’s Sexual Culture Does to Young Women (New York: Moody Publishers, 2012), 18-19.
2 Joe Mcilhhaney and Freda Bush, Girls Uncovered: New Research on What America’s Sexual Culture Does to Young Women (New York: Moody Publishers, 2012), 70-71.