It's easy to see why. They've turned jumping up and down waving a sheet of paper with exam results on into an art. They continue to cope so well and, frankly, bravely with the inevitable over plucked eyebrows episode. They have proudly upheld the tradition of using plum or red hint-of-a-tint hair dye (though I fear the hardcore days of 'my mate done it with Toilet Duck, the burning's nearly stopped now' are over) come year 9. With a mere sneer – which they can now do in person, online or via Blackberry messaging – they can bring down entire nations/celebrities/fashion trends.
Teen pregnancy rates are at their lowest since the 1960s, girl's exam grades are high but we have to keep fretting about The Girl. Over the weekend The Daily Mail rebranded the teenage girl as the “The Ticking Teenage Timebomb” DUN DUN DUN. For some reason – perhaps to highlight the plight of the teen girl – this was in bold pink font: “heading for an emotional apocalypse, with figures suggesting that 43 per cent feel depressed or anxious, while 27 per cent are suffering from a full-scale mental illness.”
This accompanied the news that Helen Porter, a science teacher at an independent girls’ school had said teen girls are feeling ever increasing pressure to conform to the aesthetic of porn – due to its accessibility on the internet. This subject of a 'sexualised culture' has been raised by MPs, the media and charities for a while now. Always investigating and using the example of teen girl behaviour where they display signs of stress or buckling to pressure.
insisting we look at teen girls...is a great way to portray womankind as highly strung and over-sensitive
Louise McCudden's recent piece on lads and fat shaming makes an important point regarding 'lad culture': “They might be a minority but the problem is, they don’t think they are. They’re egged on by a bullying media...” Lads have a laugh, girls have a mental problem. Sort it aaaaaht girls.
It looks a lot like we are falling over ourselves to treat a symptom and not a cause. Why is this? Because we don't want to? Because insisting we look at teen girls who starve themselves, who work themselves into a frenzy to get a GCSE A* grade, who are (allegedly) sexually precocious in an unfulfilled way is a great way to portray womankind as highly strung and over-sensitive. Those poor silly girls, how can we help them toughen up? I dare say there are lots of teen girls who would yawn and ask: 'what pornified culture?'.
Addressing the cause means talking to our sons, father and brothers about their treatment of women – young and old. About their expectations. About ew their sexuality. We might end up with another Good Men Project, let's leave that stone unturned.
But we can't because otherwise we will never get a word in. And that means nor will teen girls, because for all the attention we give them looking is not listening.