POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Vassar alumna Rachel Simmons will discuss her best-selling book Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression Among Girls (2003), and her follow-up work Odd Girl Speaks Out: Girls Write about Bullies, Cliques, Popularity, and Jealousy (2004) on Wednesday, March 8 at 7:00 p.m. in Taylor Hall. This event is free and open to the public, and a book signing will be held immediately after.
Simmons, a 1996 women's studies and political science graduate of Vassar, began researching female aggression while a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. She eventually interviewed more than 300 girls in 10 different schools for Odd Girl Out, and found that the "good girl" role in society prevents girls from outwardly expressing such emotions as competition, jealousy, and anger. Lacking this social permission, girls develop what Simmons calls "a hidden culture of silent and indirect aggression."
Susan Wellman, president of the Ophelia Project, a national organization advocating healthy teen relationships, describes Odd Girl Out as, "… the book we have been waiting for. It's a wakeup call to all of us who care deeply about girls' development. Simmons has given voice to the girls who struggle every day with friendships. She has uncovered a hidden world of aggression that unfolds behinds adults' backs."
In Odd Girl Speaks Out, Simmons compiled a range of responses to her initial work, and was praised by ElleGIRL magazine for "… a heartening book, and a tonic for these politically polarized times." The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times have covered Simmons' work, and she has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today, Dateline NBC and National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation. Odd Girl Out was also adapted into a Lifetime Network television movie, which premiered in 2005.
Simmons is currently the director of The Girls' Leadership Institute, sponsored by the Empower Program, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing youth violence through education. She also continues to be a frequent public speaker, and a consultant to schools all over the country.
The Women's Center, Blegen House, and Women's Studies Program at Vassar are co-sponsoring this event. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should call the Office of Campus Activities, at (845) 437-5370.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.