The author of eight books, including 1994’s “Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls,” speaks at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco today. Pipher will focus on recent events — from Columbine to Sept. 11 — and their effects on families. Her next book, “Seeking Peace: Reflections of the Worst Buddhist in the World,” is due next spring.
How has our culture affected families? We’re living in a culture of fear. It comes from hyped up media, from advertising and the current political culture. [Technology] is literally changing the way children are, their attention spans, the way they learn, their ability to tolerate frustration.
What else do you see happening? Time is speeding up. We’re setting our internal clocks in very different ways, and once we set those, we set everyone we meet’s clocks. We’re all speeding each other up.
Some critics accuse books such as “Reviving Ophelia” of pathologizing teens. How do you respond to that? I thinkthere’s a certain fairness to that. I’m a therapist and wrote about girls who were in therapy. … But, it isn’t as if what I talked about did not apply to lots of girls.
Do you ever regret picking Ophelia to represent the girls of America? No, never.
When did you realize your book was making a difference? When there started being many more institutions in the culture that protected girls, that gave girls good community connections, gave them skills training and so on.