A new book by a psychologist from the University of California, Berkeley, highlights the alarming rate of pressure that young girls go through to look glamorous, score great marks at school, start building a career for themselves and even have a great social life in the meanwhile. This book, “The Triple Bind: Saving our Teenage Girls from Today’s Pressures,” is authored by Stephen Hinshaw and Rachel Kranz.
These authors state in their book that, teenage girls receive mixed messages to be ambitious, glamorous, effortlessly thin, etc. which in turn leads to binge eating, depression, self-mutilation, and may be even suicide.
Hinshaw says, “Given the unprecedented advances for women, it is the best of times to be a teenage girl. But it is also the worst of times, because many in this generation are experiencing depression earlier and are more vulnerable to serious mental health problems.”
In the book Hinshaw states that, “The Triple Bind is why girls who might have accepted or even celebrated their size 10 bodies a generation or two ago now feel disgustingly fat if they’re not a size 2 or 4. It’s why girls who might not have been all that interested in boys at ages fourteen and fifteen now insist on having steady boyfriends by ages eleven and twelve.”
The phrase, “triple bind” in the title of the book, is a play on the phrase, “double bind,” which was given by the 1950s scientists who had analyzed the conflicting messages given to children by grownups. Here, “triple bind” indicates teenage girls who are facing even more conflicting messages than before, which leads to a feeling of disappointment if left unfulfilled.
Hinshaw suggests parents, “not to succumb to the overwhelming social messages of insisting on top grades, top teams, top everything all the time.” He recommends young girls to divert their attention from themselves to bigger issues like volunteering work at environmental rights organizations, animal rescue shelter, or programs for at-risk youths, etc.
He points out that volunteering work may aid in broadening the perspective of those teens who are obsessed with their own failures and imperfections. He advises parents and schools to resist putting anymore pressure on children to add to their list of achievements and enhance their resume’s with even more extracurricular activities.