The Difference was inspired by Judy Mann's need to find out what she could do to help her own daughter. Where do girls get derailed? How does it happen? Can the young girls of today climb the ladder to adulthood without being silenced and submerged into a male culture? Or will they be forced to spend the decade of their twenties in denial and their thirties in recovery, like generations of women before them? Why, after three decades of feminist fulminations, has so little changed?
To find the answers, Mann immersed herself in a two-year investigation. She interviewed experts who provided insights into all of the cultural cripplers that affect girls from the time they are born. She visited single-sex and coed schools, listened to rock and rap music, read school texts, and talked to parents, psychologists, educators, and scientists researching gender. She traveled back aeons to find out what occurred in the ancient past that led to the imbalance of power that makes today's culture so perilous for girls. She examined the role of political systems and religions in perpetuating boys' sense of entitlement and girls' disabling sense of submission. And she talked at length to her own teenage daughter, Katherine, and Katherine's friends. What she discovered is both eye-opening and profoundly disturbing - but optimistic as well.
Mann offers a new way of raising boys and girls so that they have strategies for dealing with each other that are grounded in mutual respect, not fear of humiliation. She also makes a point that has been largely overlooked: we will never change the outcome for girls unless we change the way we raise boys. The result is personal, engaging, and always heartfelt. More important, Judy Mann demonstrates, constructively and compassionately, what we can do as women, as parents, and as a culture to value "The Difference" and to raise daughters who are as cherished - and empowered - as our sons.