Lyn Mikel Brown

Professor of Education

Office: Miller Library 037 [ campus map ]
Box 4422

Phone: 207-859-4422
Fax: 207-859-4425
Mailing Address:
4422 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, Maine 04901-8844
Brown, Lyn Mikel


B.A. 1979 Ottawa University, Ottawa, KS--Psychology
Ed.D. 1989 Harvard University, Cambridge, MA--Human Development and Psychology

Areas of Expertise

  • Girls' Development
  • Girlfighting and girl "meanness"
  • Resistance, activism and youth organizing
  • Popular culture, media and marketing to girls

Other Courses Taught

CourseCourse Title
ED 215Adolescents in Schools and Society
ED 332Women Girls and the Cultures of Education
ED 498Creating the World We Want: Girls & Social Change
ED 335Girlhood
& Social Change

Professional Information

Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D., is Professor of Education and Human Development at Colby College in Maine. She writes extensively on the relational lives of girls; the influences of race, class and gender; the impact of media, and girls' resistance and creative forms of activism.

See Dr. Brown's WordPress site for more information about her research, teaching and activism

Dr. Brown's acclaimed work on girls' social and psychological development has consistently broken new ground and challenged old perceptions. She is the co-author, with Carol Gilligan, of Meeting at the Crossroads: Women's Psychology and Girls' Development (Harvard University Press, 1992), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year that helped spark an international debate about the lives of girls and redefine our understanding of female development. The NYTimes called Meeting at the Crossroads "revolutionary." The Boston Globe said it "should sound a national alert to society that even our most privileged girls still pursue normal femininity at great risk to personal and civic health." Dr. Brown, a founding member of the Harvard Project on Women's Psychology and Girls' Development and co-creator of the social change nonprofit Hardy Girls Healthy Women (, has written four other acclaimed books on girls' social and psychological development. Raising Their Voices: The Politics of Girls' Anger (Harvard University Press, 1998) and Girlfighting: Betrayal and Rejection Among Girls (New York University Press, 2003). The New York Times Book Review wrote of Raising Their Voices, "[S]ince a much-discussed study by the American Association of University Women" books have "lamented the evaporation of young girls' feistiness into hesitancy and self-doubt. This book is an attempt to provide an alternative prophecy, with hope that it will be fulfilled." Kirkus Review called the book "a rebuttal to the research and popular writing that shows young teenage girls as tuned-out and turned-off shadows of their lively, challenging preadolescent selves." Psychiatric Services calls Girlfighting "a serious and intelligent analysis of the cruelty and meanness involved in girls' relationships," and reviews tout it as "the smartest book on mean girls around." "When it comes to girls' issues, there aren't many people more expert than Lyn Mikel Brown," says Daughters magazine. Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers' Schemes, co-authored with Dr. Sharon Lamb, and Packaging Boyhood: Saving Our Sons From Slackers, Superheroes, and Other Media Stereotypes, co-authored with Dr. Sharon Lamb and Dr. Mark Tappan, address the impact of marketing to children and teach parents how to understand these influences, give them guidance on how to talk to their children about these negative images, and provide the tools to help girls and boys make positive choices about the way they are in the world. Packaging Girlhood received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly and a coveted Books For a Better Life award. Dr. Brown's newest book, Powered By Girl: A Field Guide For Supporting Youth Activists (Beacon Press) is both a journalistic exploration of how girls have embraced activism and a guide for adults who want to support their organizing. Dr. Brown argues that adults shouldn’t encourage girls to “lean in.” Rather, girls should be supported in creating their own movements—disrupting the narrative, developing their own ideas—on their own terms. In 2010, with Hunter College and CUNY Professor of Social Welfare and Psychology, Dr. Deborah Tolman, Dr. Brown initiated SPARK Movement (, a coalition of girl activists, partners, and thought leaders united in their determination to create a girl-fueled gender justice movement. Dr. Brown earned her Ed.D. at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She has been Henkels Visiting Lecturer at the University of Notre Dame, a recipient of the Maine Women's Fund Sarah Orne Jewett Award, American Association of University Women Educational Foundation Scholar-in-Residence, and winner of a National Academy of Education Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship for encouraging healthy resistance in girls. Her intense study of girlfighting garnered a Henry A. Murray Research Center Radcliffe Postdoctoral Research Award and other research grants. Dr. Brown was a member of The American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Adolescent Girls, and consultant to the Ms. Foundation for Women's National Girls' Initiative. She has consulted for numerous film and television projects, including shows on PBS, and Fox Children's Network. Dr. Brown lives in Waterville, Maine with her partner Dr. Mark Tappan, daughter, Maya, and their two dogs and three cats.

Current Research

My research focuses on girls' healthy psychological and social development in diverse contexts. Right now I am researching and writing a book about how best to support girls' public forms of activism. My teaching, research, and activism are intimately entwined. I involve my students with Hardy Girls Healthy Women, SPARK Movement, and community efforts to eradicate poverty; together we determine the best ways to support girls' healthy development and their resistance to injustice and hurt.


See Dr. Brown's WordPress site for more information about her books, research, and a current CV, as well as detailed information about her activism


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