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A Girl’s Life

December 30, 2009

Historian informs her readers about a PBS special airing tonight, A Girl’s Life. The program discusses topics concerning contemporary adolescent girlhood such as sextng, cyber bullying, body image, and violence. Tomorrow morning, the Historiann will have a review.

The preview looks interesting and like most emotionally charged topics concerning little girls, it caused me pain. In college, I researched a little about the affects of environmental estrogens on little girls. Supposedly, processed and fast foods and a mass influx of environmental estrogens are causing girls to start menstruation earlier than previous generations. It saddens me to think a girl must deal with the actual mechanics of menstruation (pads or tampons, the size of either, and the on-going procurement) at such a young age while simultaneously having to maneuver the social implications thrust upon her by others. It is not my imagination, I do remember hearing as a child, grown men and even women sometimes, saying when referring to a girl who has started her period, “She is a woman now.” Said as if that means she is now available for men and/or to imply she is no longer safe (as if she had been safe before). All of this rained on little girls when it is a very good possibility that they still believe in Santa and have several more baby teeth to lose.

I know one little girl in particular that I will recommend this show to via my oldest daughter. But I suspect, or imagine myself at her age watching, that she will think that the girls in the film are in a better position than she is in. That’s the rub though. One film cannot reach out to all girls. Nevertheless, I am sure it will be beneficial to a large segment of girls.

On a final note, I want to share a discovery I made while browsing puberty on dickipedia.

The most important part of a child’s psychosocial environment is the family, and most of the social influence research has investigated features of family structure and function in relation to earlier or later female puberty. Most of the studies have reported that menarche may occur a few months earlier in girls in high-stress households, whose fathers are absent during their early childhood, who have a stepfather in the home, who are subjected to prolonged sexual abuse in childhood, or who are adopted from a developing country at a young age. Conversely, menarche may be slightly later when a girl grows up in a large family with a biological father present. [My emphasis]

There is never an opportunity lost when it comes to pushing the great myth of patriarchy, is there?

  1. atheistwoman permalink
    December 31, 2009 2:25 am

    Well, no doubt it will all be stereotyped and narrow. Yes, cyberbullying, goodness me! Completely ignoring that the worst thing that happens to a girl in those years is not that she doesn’t have friends or any of that nonsense, but it is that all social structures are completely slanted against her (and I am speaking in a solely developed world context). It’s the abuse from the power structures-teachers, administrators, parents, police, social workers, senators and presidents, roaming adult men*, etc.

    Believe you me, I wish the worst thing that happened to teen girls was social exclusion.

    *if only that were the joke it sounds like!

  2. December 31, 2009 5:53 pm

    The special fell flat. It was so evident that the show went out of its way not to offend males. Just like the old “woman was raped,” that dominates headlines, there was no note of why and in who cause girls so much trouble when they get to middle school.

    Everything I have to say on the subject has been said in review and comments over at Historiann’s.

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