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The Frailty Myth

Redefining the Physical Potential of Women and Girls

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Paperback published by Random House Trade Paperbacks (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book
Can women be equal to men as long as men are physically stronger? And are men, in fact, stronger?
These are key questions that Colette Dowling, author of the bestselling The Cinderella Complex, raises in her provocative new book. The myth of female frailty, with its roots in nineteenth-century medicine and misogyny, has had a damaging effect on women's health, social status, and physical safety. It is Dowling's controversial thesis that women succumb to societal pressures to appear weak in order to seem more "feminine."
The Frailty Myth presents new evidence that girls are weaned from the use of their bodies even before they begin school. By adolescence, their strength and aerobic powers have started to decline unless the girls are exercising vigorously--and most aren't. By sixteen, they have already lost bone density and turned themselves into prime candidates for osteoporosis. They have also been deprived of motor stimulation that is essential for brain growth.
Yet as breakthroughs among elite women athletes grow more and more astounding, it begins to appear that strength and physical skill--for all women--is only a matter of learning and training. Men don't have a monopoly on physical prowess; when women and men are matched in size and level of training, the strength gap closes. In some areas, women are actually equipped to outperform men, due partly to differences in body structure, and partly to the newly discovered strengthening benefits of estrogen.

Drawing on extensive research in motor development, performance assessment, sports physi-ology, and endocrinology, Dowling presents an astonishing picture of the new physical woman. And she creates a powerful argument that true equality isn't possible until women learn how to stand up for themselves--physically.
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Can women be equal to men as long as men are physically stronger? And are men, in fact, stronger?
These are key questions that Colette Dowling, author of the bestselling The Cinderella Complex, raises in her provocative new book. The myth of female frailty, with its roots in nineteenth-century medicine and misogyny, has had a damaging effect on women's health, social status, and physical safety. It is Dowling's controversial thesis that women succumb to societal pressures to appear weak in order to seem more "feminine."
The Frailty Myth presents new evidence that girls are weaned from the use of their bodies even before they begin school. By adolescence, their strength and aerobic powers have started to decline unless the girls are exercising vigorously--and most aren't. By sixteen, they have already lost bone density and turned themselves into prime candidates for osteoporosis. They have also been deprived of motor stimulation that is essential for brain growth.
Yet as breakthroughs among elite women athletes grow more and more astounding, it begins to appear that strength and physical skill--for all women--is only a matter of learning and training. Men don't have a monopoly on physical prowess; when women and men are matched in size and level of training, the strength gap closes. In some areas, women are actually equipped to outperform men, due partly to differences in body structure, and partly to the newly discovered strengthening benefits of estrogen.

Drawing on extensive research in motor development, performance assessment, sports physi-ology, and endocrinology, Dowling presents an astonishing picture of the new physical woman. And she creates a powerful argument that true equality isn't possible until women learn how to stand up for themselves--physically.
Product Details
Paperback (352 pages)
Published: September 11, 2001
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780375758157
Other books byColette Dowling
  • Red Hot Mamas

    Red Hot Mamas
    Coming into Our Own at Fifty
    Colette Dowling's uplifting book celebrates the myriad possibilities for women who are now turning 50. "Red hot mamas" are the dozens of women (some famous, some not) who are defying stereotypes to discover renewed power and vitality at midlife. In honest, empowering language, the women share with readers their energetic approaches to menopause, career changes, family life, and intimacy.

    You Mean I Don't Have to Feel This Way?

    You Mean I Don't Have to Feel This Way?
    New Help for Depression, Anxiety, and Addiction
    "A down-to-earth, hopeful, useful--and, from  the point of view of this 'recovered'  depressive--accurate account of how to treat  depression."--Mike Wallace, 60  Minutes. Colette Dowling watched depression  destroy her husband's life and leap to the next  generation to nearly destroy her daughter's--until  dramatic help was found. Now her ground-breaking book  offer the same lifesaving help to the millions who  still suffer depression and related  disorders--which include panic, anxiety, phobias, PMS, alcohol  and drug abuse, bulimia, migraine, and obesity.  You Mean I Don't Have To Feel This Way?  documents the latest research that links  depression and related disorders to a physical cause and  shows why willpower, understanding, and  psychotherapy so often fail to work. It explains the  state-of-the-art medical treatments that can bring about  dramatic improvement--and often full recovery--within  weeks. This important book includes: startling new  links between eating disorders, addiction, and  depression. How to recognize the symptoms of  depression and anxiety disorders. Vital information about  new treatments for depressed children and  adolescents. A guide to breakthrough drugs for treating  mood, anxiety, and eating disorders. The newest  research on the use of antidepressants to prevent  substance-abuse relapse. How to find expert help and  evaluate the treatment you are given. Upbeat,  filled with hope and warmth, Colette Dowling's book  will change minds and save lives.

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