Growth is an inevitable process not only in human beings but also in all living organisms. There is a certain way that people expect that a child grow from infancy to adolescent/ teenage stage, to adulthood and finally to old age and a disruption of the process is considered to be an abnormality of a kind.
Young people in the United States more especially the girls are deemed to be growing up too fast than expected an aspect that has attracted a lot of concern among parents and other responsible bodies. There are various factors that have been associated with this change in growth rate among the young girls as compared to the earlier generations. This paper investigates on this aspect with much emphasis being given to causes that leads to this.
Growth of young girls in the United States
Young girls in the United States are growing up in a relatively high rate than it is expected. This issue has been accrued to various reasons for instance the media (TV and Radio) and what it portrays, poor upbringing where the parents or caretakers do not guide the girls accordingly like in terms of supervision, addiction to many sites on the internet among others.
According to Atwood (2006), the poor upbringing or rather lack of sufficient supervision of the young girls by their parents and their guardians is a contributing factor towards the tendency of the girls behaving like adults in a very tender age due to what they have been able to experience. Parents in the United States tend to be very busy in other aspects for instance jobs, leisure and businesses, leaving very little time to spend with their children and understand what they may be going through.
The girls tend to have early exposure to sexual aspects for instance through the people around them who may even abuse them sexually or tell them that it is not wrong to engage in sexual behavior. For this reasons, they become used to sexual activities without their parents noticing and it is only when it is too late that this can be noticed for instance when they get pregnant or contract sexually transmitted diseases.
Coy (2009) asserts that the mass media (print and electronic) has had a negative impact on the young girls in the United States through how popular culture is displayed in regard to young girls and women.
The girls and women are displayed to be a level below the boys of the same age in various aspects. Femininity and beauty are presented as the significant attributes hence limiting the girl’s aspirations making them to concentrate too much on beauty and appearance which in return make them indulge in sexual related activities an aspect that is not good.
If only the girls were presented to be equal to the boys in terms of what they can achieve fro instance in terms of education and career, then they would have a mentality that they can also achieve much in life apart from concentrating on appearance/beauty and what may make them seem sexy.
The mass media more especially the television is also a contributing element towards the changes in the growth rate of the young girls in the United States of America. This aspect is however coupled with less supervision by the parents where the young girls are free to watch whatever channel or program they wish to without any restriction.
This has resulted in changed perception about the concept of sexuality where the young girls view sex as an aspect to be proud of and hence they engage in it without fear. We see the mass media, through the various available channels, presenting sex as a fascinating activity that is without any risk but rather enjoyment. This has in a way made the young girls in the United States to be very eager to experience it even in their young age (Thompson, 2010).
The media also presents some celebrities and other notable personalities to be very attractive with slim bodies and make ups which make the young girls to spend a lot of time in trying to look sexually attractive. This in return makes men to view them as grown up women who are ready for sex and they end up having sexual intercourse either voluntarily or through persuasion by the male friends.
The consequences of this behavior has been unwanted pregnancies and worse still, sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/ Aids since even though the media brings out the issue of sex to the young people, it does not clearly show the risk factors associated with it and so the young girls are not careful and they come to suffer the consequences later (Brown, Childers & Waszak, 1990).
It is therefore advisable that the media presents the negative aspects of engaging in various sexual behaviors so that the young people may be adequately warned. Merskin (2004) asserts that the desire to emulate most models and also to be at par with the emerging fashion is also a concept that has led to the change in today’s young United States young girls.
Although the internet falls under mass media it stands by its own in many ways and we can discuss its influence on the growth of the young girls in the United States. The internet has gained popularity among people all over the world especially the youngsters and every individual want to access it so as not to be left behind (peer pressure). There are many social networking sites through which the young people interact and socialize for instance Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, 2go among others.
The sites are means through which these young girls exchange a lot of information on various life issues. They get to know many people especially those of the opposite sex and they communicate through online means on all issues including flirting and online sex. The sites also contain various obscene information in form of writing as well as pictures and the young people get influenced a lot (Brookes & Kelly, 2009).
Pornography sites are very much preferred by the young boys and girls and they tend to try and do what they see with the excuse of getting experience and being like their older friends not remembering the consequences or risks associated with their actions. Since restricting them from this is not possible, protection and prevention is the only cure (Hawkes & Egan, 2008).
Research also shows that hormonal issues could be a cause for the behavior exhibited by young girls in the United States. The changes in nutrition or diets on which today’s generation live on is also considered to have some negative effects on the hormones of young girls making them to have the urge for sexual intercourse very early in life (Brooks-Gunn, 1989).
It is evident that girls in the United States tend to mature faster than expected. This has been attributed to various reasons all contributing to a certain percentage of the deterioration of the girls.
All in all exposure through various media and the internet as well as lack of supervision and guidance by the parents and caretakers has been the most contributing factors towards the tendency of the girls engaging into sexual activities too early.
Although the literal growth rate isthe same as with the boys and girls in other nations, the girls in the United States tend to mature quickly as they imitate and engage in adult related actions way before the due time.
Atwood, J. (2006). Mommy’s Little Angel, Daddy’s Little Girl: Do You Know What Your Pre-Teens Are Doing? American Journal of Family Therapy, 34(5), 447-467.
Brookes, F., & Kelly, P. (2009). Dolly Girls: Tweenies as Artefacts of Consumption. Journal of Youth Studies, 12(6), 599-613.
Brooks-Gunn, J., & Warren, M. P. (1989). Biological and Social Contributions to Negative Affect In Young Adolescent Girls. Child Development, 60(1), 40.
Brown, J. D., Childers, K. W., & Waszak, C. S. (1990). Television and Adolescent Sexuality. Journal of Adolescent Health Care, 11(1), 62-70.
Coy, M. (2009). Milkshakes, Lady Lumps And Growing Up To Want Boobies: How The Sexualization Of Popular Culture Limits Girls’ Horizons. Child Abuse Review, 18(6), 372-383.
Hawkes, G., & Egan, R. D. (2008). Landscapes of Erotophobia: The Sexual (ized) Child in the Postmodern Anglophone West. Sexuality & Culture, 12(4), 193-203.
Merskin, D. (2004). Reviving Lolita? A Media Literacy Examination of Sexual Portrayals of Girls in Fashion Advertising. American Behavioral Scientist, 48(1), 119-129.
Thompson, K. (2010). Because Looks Can Be Deceiving: Media Alarm And The Sexualization Of Childhood – Do We Know What We Mean? Journal of Gender Studies, 19(4), 395-400.