"Gossip Girl," Young Women & Role Models

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While politics rage and the economy tumbles, American kids keep on growing up — and the debate goes on over the messages that American teenage girls in particular are getting as they come of age.

The hot book series and girl teen TV show of the season is "Gossip Girl" — a sexy, edgy, anything-but-Brady Bunch teen soap set in Manhattan. "Mean Girls" on steroids. Sex, drugs, vanity, and vicious competition.

Does it matter? We’ll ask the creator of "Gossip Girl" and a publisher pushing in a different direction.

This hour, On Point: Targeting the hearts and minds of America’s teenage girls.

You can join the conversation. Are you raising a pre-teen or teen daughter in the era of "Gossip Girl"? Is she reading and watching all this stuff? And is that okay? Is it harmless fantasy? Innoculation? Or setting girls up for trouble?


Joining us from Brooklyn, New York, is Cecily von Ziegesar, creator of the "Gossip Girl" books series, which is now a hit TV show in its second season. She’s also created two spinoff series, “The It Girl,” and “Gossip Girl-The Carlysles.”

With us in our studio is Addie Swartz, creator of the Beacon Street Girls series of books, which more or less bills itself as a healthy antidote to the world of "Gossip Girl."

And from Silver Spring, Maryland, we are joined by Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, professor of child development and education at Columbia University’s Teachers College and co-director of the National Center for Children and Families.

This program aired on October 20, 2008.


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