Joan Jacobs Brumberg

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Joan Jacobs Brumberg (born April 29, 1944) is a social historian and academic. She is a Professor Emerita of Cornell University,[1] and lectures and writes about the experiences of adolescents through history until the present day. In the subject area of Gender Studies, she has written about boys and violence, and girls and body image.

Brumberg says that adolescence and childhood have been made more difficult for women due to the much earlier age of menarche than in the past. The average age at menstruation has dropped from 16 in 1890, to 12[2] while psychological development, she believes, has not accelerated. Also, consumer culture has added to people's insecurities about their bodies.[3] It is now normal and fashionable for girls to dress in a sexualized way.[4]

One reviewer described her book, The Body Project as having a "reactionary subtext", saying it praised the place of girls in Victorian times in comparison to what girls encounter today.[2]

Brumberg has also written about the history of boys and crime, saying that research shows boys in early adolescence are not psychologically developed enough to be liable for their actions to the extent of an adult. Her work has been used in arguments against the death penalty.


  1. ^ Human Ecology Profiles
  2. ^ a b Salon | Books: The Body Project
  3. ^ One Hundred Years of Adolescence
  4. ^ Have the heirs of Barbie hit limit for risqué dolls? |