Are Girls Growing Up Too Fast?Brooke Eyman. Natalie Crum. Amanda Dickerman.Spring 2012

external image 02-7.jpg external image too-pretty-to-do-homework-jc-penney-pulls-controversial-t-shirt-lime.jpg?w=450&h=450external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT3wKFz7VIuefjxa_r5ytPxJNQCb0cMdTL62q25kzYTa06WAEn7bA

Right: Pretty Woman? Or Pretty Toddler? Middle: Popular preteen shirt. Left: Four year old in Beauty Competition


According to the American Psychological Association, girls are encouraged at a young age to place their identity and self worth in their appearance and sexuality. From TV shows, song lyrics and role models, girls today are becoming very provocative at a young age. But is this really surprising? The actresses on TV that portray thirteen year olds can be in their twenties, and therefore not a realistic depiction of the common pre teen. The desire to play sports and do well in school is far less than the desire to be pretty and physically "perfect."

We decided to see, first hand, if this supposed epidemic amongst young girls had any validity.
First, we surveyed twenty pre-teens as well as their older siblings and parents to find what influences these girls the most. Here's what we found:

What music do they listen to?

Lady Gaga/Niki Manaj: 8
Miley Cyrus/Britany Spears: 6
Selena Gomez/Demi Lavato/Justin Bieber: 6

What TV shows do they watch?

Disney Channel: 10
Jersey Shore: 7
Family Guy (Adult Swim): 3

At what age is it ok to have a boyfriend?

Parents/Older siblings said: 14-16
Girls said: 12-14

Do they have access to Social Media (ie: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) ?

Yes: 16
No:4

How often does she wear makeup?

Every day: 13
Several times a week: 3
Not often/never: 4

Do they play sports?

Yes: 12
No: 8

If they play sports, what sports do they play?

Softball: 2
Soccer: 3
Gymnastics: 1
Cheerleading: 6

Do you think that girls are growing up too fast?

Yes: 15
No: 5



After reviewing the surveys, we noticed a common trend among preteens. Watching shows, listening to music and having access to social media that are nowhere near age appropriate is a common trend. We then looked at the influences in the media that pre-teen girls have to look up to based upon the results of our surveys.
external image image.jpg external image 454.jpgexternal image Nicki+Minaj+Lil+Wayne+Still+Music+Tour+Philadelphia+X8DMN4mCHmQl.jpg

On Left:Miley Cyrus at the Kids' Choice Awards.Middle:Selena Gomez performing On Right: Nicky Manaj


Jersy Shore? Nicki Manaj? Miley Cyrus on a stripper pole? How could this be appropriate for a twelve year old? It is apparent that girls today are being flooded with outside influences that encourage them to become sexualized at a very young age. Not all parents find this sexualization acceptable, but some do. And in these cases, the girls are left to suffer the most. Beauty Contests, in which girls win awards such as "Most Beautiful", "Best Face" and "Best Smile", are becoming increasingly popular. These competions tell these young girls that their only value in life is in their appereance. The "Human Barbie" gave her daughter, Poppy, a voucher for a future liposuction for when she turns eighteen. These are extreme examples of course, but the societal pressures still remains.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5SssKd7fAw


external image toddlers-tiaras20.jpgexternal image MAKYNLI_013-1_thumb.jpg
Girls who "compete" in Beauty Contests made to look like dolls.

Works Cited:
1. http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-02-19-sexualized-girls_x.htm
2.<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/pK0dBtQ1P_k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>