August 13, 2012

Tanner Upstaged

Now for a feminine pubescent edition of…


Anyone who says anything along the lines of “Girls today are starting puberty at younger ages!” And goes on to treat it like some utter catastrophe. A serious problem for today’s kids. Something we must absolutely do something about to protect little girl innocence! Eeeek!

*facepalm* *sigh*

Oh, concern trolling, such a frequent opponent to youth rights feminism!

Okay, time for some unpacking of bullshit.

1. Not only is the claim that the age of female puberty is steadily getting younger questionable, but those shrieking about this “problem” often either don’t specify ages or the ages they do specify, usually around 10 or 11, are still within the normal range of puberty (ages 8 to 16). And even so, they’re usually talking about onset, which is the development of breasts (which doesn’t exactly happen overnight), as opposed to first period, which is often a couple years later. Breasts budding at 10 or 11 means the period shows up around 12 or 13, which is totally fucking normal! And even the ones who get their periods at 10 or 11 might be earlier than average but it’s not abnormal, and for every one of them, there are girls who start it at 14 or 15.

2. You know what isn’t as normal? Getting your first period at 17. Yet those shrieking about this “early puberty problem” like to claim that 17 used to be the normal average age of starting period. Um… bullshit! Have you paid the slightest bit of attention to history? Or even certain other cultures? Awful lot of women marrying and giving birth in their early to mid-teens! Not to mention this supposed drop from 17 is touted as a recent thing. Well, you see, according to my mom, she and her sisters got their first periods around age 12 (1960’s, 1970’s). And my grandma (dad’s side) has told me that she and her sisters also got their first periods around 12 or 13 (1930’s). And none of these cases were treated as early. Now, I’m sure some women in fact do get their first periods at 17, but let’s be honest that this is unusual. Though, of course, there’s no reason to treat such women like there’s something wrong with them, which brings me to…

3. Do these “oh noes, early puberty!” morons think the girls have any control over this? They never out and say this, but these claims are made with some “kids these days” overtones. In pop culture, earlier development is sometimes implied as being synonymous with sexual promiscuity! Um, yeah, this shouldn’t need to be said but… pubescence isn’t exactly something you actively control or set in motion. Your body just does that on its own when it decides it’s time. What makes it decide? Just like any other bodily process, lots of things. Genetics. Environment. Diet. Health. And sometimes just no damn reason at all. In fact, if there is any truth to the claim puberty is happening younger (big if), the only sensible reason for this I’ve heard is that it’s because girls are better fed and healthier nowadays, since poor nutrition can delay the changes. Of course, this can easily be turned around to “oh noes, it’s because so many kids are obese these days!” Because picking on young people’s bodies just isn’t complete without some fat-hate! So these girls are going through puberty, something not in their control that their bodies do on their own, and concerned adults are calling it a Big Problem because…

4. Actually, I don’t really know what their point is. Or at least every time I see a “news” article about this, the supposed causes for it are completely different, and pretty much always buy into the author’s personal agenda in some way. The people who are worried about “oh noes, genetically modified food!” will claim it’s because little girls eating such food is making them develop too early. And the anti-television idiots have even claimed that 8-year-old girls seeing “so much sexual content” on TV somehow kicks their hormones in gear and makes puberty start… Ouch! Sorry about that. Didn’t mean to make you hit your head so hard on your desk there. Go put some ice on that.

5. Seeing as there is no clear point or reason for this Big Problem of Early Puberty, there is also no clear solution. I mean, what exactly do they think should happen? Other than extermination of TV and non-organic foods or whatever the fuck else they decide to pretend is relevant? What do they think will “revert” girls to the mythical menarche-at-17 state? Ah, wait, I think I see…

6. There is no solution because there isn’t supposed to be one. The entire thought process is:
-“problem” of young girl bodies being even remotely sexual in a natural way
-claim it’s not natural
-rile the “we must save little girls from sex” idea
-claim it’s caused by [insert mostly unrelated social or ethical problem]
-don’t bother to back up this claim
-just focus on “oh noes, 10-year-old is starting to grow breasts!”

7. And all the while, where are these girls in all this? Just being told over and over “your body is bad and you should feel bad!” They’re being exploited and shamed all over the place here just so some adults can push their own agenda under the guise of “concern” about them. And interestingly enough, this sort of thing can encourage these girls to harbor resentment toward each other about their puberty progression, that it’s okay to see the fifth grade girl who has to wear bras now as wrong, as a problem, or that her (normal, natural, involuntary) development is a personal insult to them somehow. And if their classmates should accept this idea as true and repeat it toward them, we call it bullying. Yet when adults do this in their little articles and “expert” opinions and daytime talk shows, they’re just concerned about children’s health? Go die in a fire.

8. To be clear, puberty onset that really is very early, like at age five or something, is a lot more likely to be an actual problem or specific condition, or at least a sign of one. There have even been cases of infants going through puberty! But that’s different and are actual disorders those individuals have and certainly not a new thing nor is it common. That’s the sort of thing you see the doctor about, since it actually is a health issue, as may also be the case with the menarche-at-17 girl mentioned up in #2. And even so, it has absolutely fuck all to do with “oh noes, early sexualization!” Nor does that help these girls in any way.

9. If there’s all these horrors making girls develop at some abnormally low age… wouldn’t boys be affected, too? Any “epidemics” of stubble beards or scratchy baritones in the fifth grade class with the little girl made ashamed that she must wear a bra? Or, no, wait. Almost forgot. They’re male. Nobody cares. After all, Everybody Knows anything sexual involving males of any age is just a punchline, so any sex-related problem about them would be laughed off, while such about girls is Serious Business, so it can be exploited for aforementioned adult agendas. Because little girls are the pure and innocent ones. Except when they aren’t, at which point they are forever soiled and worthless. And this purity and innocence, of course, has absolutely everything to do with their genitals. 🙄

10. And if you’re one of these exploitative adults worrying so much over little girls going through puberty that you’re practically staring at a preteen’s chest to see if anything is growing yet? Yeah, I’m seeing a couple of chairs. One of them contains Chris Hansen. I think he’s inviting you to occupy the other one.

This has been Day 82 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 12.

1 Comment

  1. They keep bringing up this new story and I always wonder what’s the big deal. So now the new stories will say that it increases sexual activity or breast cancer. However the first one is mostly due to peer pressure so the girls need to find other peers and the second one seemed like a but pull because they didn’t explain how it increases cancer.

    Comment by Jordan — December 19, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

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