"Mainstream pop culture can’t be ignored, but, more important, it shouldn’t be—that’s where we all find our ideals and our cultural beliefs played out and reflected, and it’s only going to continue. If politicians and the news media are going to treat fictional characters as stand-ins for real women, it’s up to us to figure out how to make those stand-ins more lifelike."
"Puberty is a time when girls by anatomy become girls by imperative, socialized into a world where we’re supposed to be more excited about a big box of maxi pads than about, say, the wonders of the solar system. Tomboys are instructed to be more ‘ladylike.’ Boys are transformed from buddies into people we’re supposed to either stay away from or develop crushes on. Instead of digging on our own unique qualities—our ability to draw or skateboard or double Dutch—we start focusing our energies on fitting in with everyone else, zooming unhappily in on our perceived shortcomings with the precision of the Hubble telescope… girls’ self-esteem plunges at puberty."
"There is a dangerous myth going around this country that sexism doesn’t exist anymore, that we have gotten past it and that ‘alarmist’ feminists are an outdated nuisance. Warnings like, ‘Oh, watch out—here comes the feminazi!’ abound in our culture, as if for a woman, entitling yourself to an opinion puts you on par with followers of the Third Reich."