Meeting at the Crossroads, written by Lyn Mikel Brown and Carol Gilligan in 1992, is about the way in which adolescence presents a crossroads for girls. The researchers found that women presented their stories in very different ways than men did. While men often spoke about their lives without relation to others, women spoke about what the authors call a "relational crisis" (page 2), relinquishing core parts of their identity to conform to gender norms or to please others. By interviewing girls at this crossroads, the authors found evidence that girls give up key parts of themselves and lose the resilience and immunity from psychological depression that they show earlier in childhood. They also are often the victims of sexual abuse at this time. The researchers show through interviews with actual girls that girls suffer psychologically during adolescence and that they often become victims of what others want them to become. By following societal dictates about traditional femininity, such as the idea that girls should be demure, quiet, socially pleasing, good students, and thin, girls experience psychological trauma.
It sounds like your teacher or professor wants you address the implications of this research or what it suggests for future interventions. To do so, you must consider how society can address these problems and make girls stronger as they go through adolescence. One idea is for the educational system to emphasize strong female role models, such as women in politics, business, science, and other fields, in order to counteract the images of women as victims that are often seen in media. In addition, media companies should be encouraged to make movies and shows about women who are not victims and who present a stronger side of being a woman. There are several other types of interventions that you could recommend at the local or national level to start changing the way girls experience adolescence. For example, what do you imagine is the role of the family? How can parents help their daughters experience adolescence in a healthy way that encourages individuality and strength, as opposed to only pleasing others? You might also consider the implications of race and other variables. How does race affect girls' development, and how can society strengthen girls and women of different backgrounds?