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Social Media and American Girls 

Author Nancy Jo Sales (Photo by (c) Jane Wexler)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 10, 2017) — On Thursday, Feb. 16, Nancy Jo Sales, journalist and contributing editor for Vanity Fair, will read from and discuss her newest book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers (2016).

Hosted by the New York State Writers Institute in association with UAlbany’s Sexuality Month, the event begins at 8 p.m. in Campus Center 375 and is free and open to the public.

Anne North of The New York Times wrote, “Too often, discussions of teenagers exclude teenagers themselves, and it’s clear that Sales has gone to great pains to listen to her subjects and to earn their trust.” North adds that the reader’s reward for Sales’ efforts are candid anecdotes that “make a persuasive case that social media has ratcheted up the pressure girls have long faced to appear both desirable and chaste.” Sales’ investigation spanned two and a half years and included some 200 interviews.

book cover for American Girls

The latest book by author Nancy Jo Sales.

In its review of American Girls, The Wall Street Journal concludes “social media is life; social media destroys life.” Publishers Weekly elaborates on this paradox by explaining that “teens value social media as a revolutionary tool for collective action, but Sales finds that across race, class, and region, social media reinforces a sexual double standard.”

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers is Sales’ second investigative book. Her first, The Bling Ring (2013), tracked the infamous band of teenage burglars who fleeced A-list celebrities. In that earlier book Sales expanded on her original Vanity Fair story (which Sofia Coppola optioned and later developed into the 2013 film of the same name starring Emma Watson). Bling Ring will be shown tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Page Hall.

Nancy Jo Sales has a reputation as a leading voice on youth culture, beginning with her days at People magazine in the mid-nineties, and continuing through Contributing Editor posts at NY Magazine and most recently Vanity Fair. Youth culture and technology advance quickly and with American Girls Sales again helps us to keep pace and, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, “forces us to face a disturbing new reality in a book that should be required reading for parents, teachers, school administrators, legislators and the boys’ club of Silicon Valley.”

Sexuality Month is a program of the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program of Counseling and Psychological Services. For more information, contact the Writers Institute at (518) 442-5620 or online at

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