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How Teen Girl Culture Compares In America

© 2002 by Lauren Greenfield
When it was first released in 2002, Lauren Greenfield’s photography book Girl Culture won accolades for its strikingly honest look at girls and young women across America. Capturing the way girls are influenced by pop culture and how it affects their self-esteem, the incredible images cover subjects ranging from eating disorders to popularity, and the real-life cast of characters include pageant princesses, self-harmers, spoiled rich girls and loners.

Now the book is being re-issued, and the photographs are more relevant than ever. Over 100 pictures are accompanied by 18 interviews with some of the subjects, and there’s a new introduction by social and cultural historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg.

In an interview upon the book's original release, Greenfield tried to explain her intentions:

“I think by isolating these very specific and sometimes extreme moments, that reveal something about the culture, people seeing those together, makes them think about things in a different way. You might know how Britney Spears influences your daughter and so you let her wear a belly top because that’s what all the girls want but then you think ‘Well what does this really mean?’ And I don’t think we always do that. What are we really saying? What does this symbolise?”

© 2002 by Lauren Greenfield
As well as Greenfield’s work appearing in publications such as The New Yorker, National Geographic and Harper’s Bazaar, she has gone on to forge a successful career as a documentary filmmaker, her work including the award-winning The Queen of Versailles. She is also responsible for the viral campaign hit #likeagirl, in which she repositioned the phrase ‘like a girl’ from being a negative comment to a compliment.

With its vivid, almost gaudy colour palette, it is both a celebratory and sympathetic look at the isolation, joy and frivolity of being a girl. Something that rarely changes over time.

Girl Culture
by Lauren Greenfield, published by Chronicle Books (£30.00)