I'm reluctant to nitpick a mostly favorable review in the Wall Street Journal, and yet here I go. My suggestion to please via apple pie instead of doling out unwanted sexual favors was not "cheerleading"--it was a joke! I realize that not everyone will share my sense of humor, and that's fine. But when Pia Catton calls the girls I interviewed "examples," and questions how much impact they can have, I see that a clarification is in order.
The reason I traveled around the country to speak to these young women, in person--as opposed to sitting back and accumulating examples from newspaper clippings, which would have been far simpler--is because I believe that they represent much more than mere examples.
They're role models.
How much will they change society? To the degree that we let them, to the degree that we appreciate them. If we just smirk at them and move on then no, society will not change.
But if we pause to listen to what they have to say, and take them a little more seriously--enough to call into question, perhaps, our own preconceptions about "good girls"--then our society will be a more humane one.
And maybe the next girl who is on the cusp of giving in to peer pressure will decide to stay true to her hopes instead.