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“Amazing,” my ass

Today’s 4800-word Times story on the “amazing girls” of Newton North High School is currently the most emailed item at NYTimes.com. This is depressing.

Here’s the conceit:
Esther and Colby are two of the amazing girls at Newton North High School here in this affluent suburb just outside Boston. “Amazing girls” translation: Girls by the dozen who are high achieving, ambitious and confident (if not immune to the usual adolescent insecurities and meltdowns). Girls who do everything: Varsity sports. Student government. Theater. Community service. Girls who have grown up learning they can do anything a boy can do, which is anything they want to do.
 
But being an amazing girl often doesn’t feel like enough these days when you’re competing with all the other amazing girls around the country who are applying to the same elite colleges that you have been encouraged to aspire to practically all your life.
Spare us. Given the socioeconomic backgrounds of the Newton North females in question, their sundry achievements aren't as impressive as they might otherwise be; basically, these kids are just doing what they’re supposed to do. The threats they allegedly confront, meanwhile—e.g., the "anorexia of the soul" about which Amazing Esther Mobley's mother frets—pale next to the menaces that adolescent girls in less rarified surroundings face.

Brenda Tejada Baez is amazing. Esther and her buddies, not so much.

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