Thursday, January 04, 2007

Why The Rush?

As time marches on it seems that young girls are expected to behave like adults earlier and earlier: dating at 11, make-up at 12, and dressing like a woman of questionable character at 13. Why the rush?

In a New York Times article Lawrence Downes writes:

" parental brain rebels. Suburban parents dote on and hover over their children, micromanaging their appointments and shielding them in helmets, kneepads and thick layers of S.U.V. steel. But they allow the culture of boy-toy sexuality to bore unchecked into their little ones’ ears and eyeballs, displacing their nimble and growing brains and impoverishing the sense of wider possibilities in life.

There is no reason adulthood should be a low plateau we all clamber onto around age 10. And it’s a cramped vision of girlhood that enshrines sexual allure as the best or only form of power and esteem."
I often wonder why parents allow and even encourage their children to not only mature quickly, but also to be exposed to behaviour previously thought of as inappropriate. If a girl is dating and dressing to please the boys at 12, what will she be doing at 16? The can be scary to consider.

I have a number of friends whose daughters take ballet lessons. Ideally their girls would rather take modern dance classes, but typically these classes begin teaching too-suggestive dance moves early on and their parents will not allow this. What is gained by teaching pre-teen girls to move like this and why have parents bought into it?

Childhood is a short-lived gift and our girls should be encouraged to enjoy it as long as possible. Pushing them to strut their stuff and behave in a sexy manner is as much of a rip-off early-on as it is later in life. There is more to life than being eye-candy for the boys; let us remember to teach this to our girls.