Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What about the Girls?

In mental health terms, which demographic has fared worst in the past decade? Did you guess: adolescent females? If so, you would have been right.

Apparently, all of that women’s liberation has not been so good for their mental health. The statistics are self-reported, but they are striking. Over the decade 37% more teenage girls have suffered episodes of clinical depression.

Johns Hopkins University reports the findings:

The rate of adolescents reporting a recent bout of clinical depression grew by 37 percent over the decade ending in 2014, with one in six girls reporting an episode in the past year, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health-led research suggests.

The findings, published online Nov. 14 in the journal Pediatrics, highlight a need to focus on the mental well-being of young people and match those in peril with mental health professionals.

Unfortunately, more depression has led to more suicides:

Suicide rates have been increasing in recent years, particularly among adolescent girls and young women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month reported that suicide rates among American middle school students – those aged 10 to 14 – were higher than rates of death from motor vehicle crashes in that age group.

As for the causes of this alarming increase, the researchers are stumped:

The researchers say it is unclear what is driving the rise in major depressive episodes, particularly among girls. They say adolescent girls may have been exposed to a greater degree of depression risk factors in recent years. Cyberbullying, for example, may have increased more in girls, as studies have shown that they use mobile phones more frequently and intensively than boys and problematic mobile phone use among young people has been linked to depressed mood.

One has been told, understandably, that Donald Trump will provoke a new era of bullying. And yet, children have been bullying children for the past ten years. It will be devilishly difficult to blame what happened to girls between 2005 and 2014 on Donald Trump.

Of course, the researchers blame it on cell phones. I am sure they also blame it on Facebook and Twitter. This moral abdication has its advantages.  It’s always easier to blame it on an inanimate object, one that you can easily destroy with a sledge hammer. If not the object, then the apps that run on it.

Wouldn’t it be more useful to ask about the culture at large? We have transformed our culture. We have changed our culture’s attitude toward young women. We have opened doors and possibilities that young women never had before. We are all cheering the advances. How does it happen that the recipients of all this cultural largesse are clinically depressed?

These are, after all, the most liberated young women on the planet. They have been told that they should go out and express their sexuality freely and openly. They have also been told that they should grow up to be world beaters, CEOs, presidents and infantry soldiers. If you listen to feminists, girls have never had it so good.

How could it happen that, with infinite possibilities opening in front of them, these girls are becoming more depressed and more suicidal? Feminists will say it's all about sexism, but, as the old saying goes, if you only have a hammer everything looks like a nail.

I suspect that I do not know the answer any more than anyone else, but  that will not prevent me from speculating. It never has before; why should it now?

Let’s see: the current notion that girls can be anything they want and can do anything they want, while powerfully persuasive, ignores the fact that they are girls. Nothing about the current cultural attitude suggests that being a girl is something to enjoy, something to revel in, something to celebrate and something to embrace.

In truth, today’s feminism seems so hell bent on telling girls that they should be just like boys that they might, for all I know, conclude, somewhere in the recesses of their minds, that all of those changes their bodies are undergoing are bad, an obstacle to their fulfillment. This teaches self-loathing, not self-respect.

And then there is this. If girls are told that they must go out in the world and earn a living, that they should be self-supporting, independent and autonomous… they might be hearing that no one will ever want them, that no one will ever take care of them. The message: they are, in this world, on their own. Which is another way of saying: prepare yourself to be alone.

Why would that not be depressing?

It doesn’t stop there. Perhaps the researchers were too modest to say so, but a significant number of teenage girls use their cellphones to send pictures of their naked bodies. In effect, they have adopted a culturally approved attitude and are expressing their sexuality, freely, openly and shamelessly. They have been taught by the culture not to be ashamed of their bodies so they are showing them off… to the boys hockey team. Isn't that what you do when you are in love?

Moreover, if they are being told to become gender neutral or gender nonspecific or even male identified, they might also feel some anxiety over their ability to attract male attention, even to attract the dreaded male gaze? Might they not fear that boys will not like them or want them?

All of the discussion about sexuality these days centers around abuse and rape. Do you think that the girls who hear this believe that sex can be a positive experience in their lives? And, doesn't the hookup culture tell them that there is a special virtue in giving it away for free?

For girls who are unsure of their sexuality, sexting shows the world that they are rally becoming a woman. To be more precise, it tells the world that they are female. Which is not the same thing. And which does not give the same sense of being comfortable in their skins.

What could go wrong?

No child has the maturity to judge what it will feel like when pictures of her nakedness are passed around the school. No girl has a real way to deal with the shame that will befall her when everyone seems to be looking through her clothes and when the other girls—who else?—call  her a slut and a whore and God knows what else.

Important thought leaders in our culture are telling young people that they should overcome their sense of shame. These thought leaders and psycho professionals ought to take some responsibility for the spike in depression among teenage girls. Of course, they will not. Their own sense of shamelessness has convinced that they never need to take responsibility and never need to apologize for their errors.

And let’s not forget the stand-up comedians  and the politicians who keep telling girls that they are strong and tough and powerful. And other stand-up comedians have made a career out of telling penis and vagina jokes.

In the first place, all the talk about strength is a lie. It is not good to lie to children. Second, if you keep talking about the external genitalia you are giving young people, especially teenage girls, the idea that being vulgar is cool and that shamelessness is a sign of maturity.


Dennis said...

"Mean girls" now with cell phones.

Anonymous said...

Media & the "Fashion Industry" are much to blame.

Virtually all female Role Models are anatomical freaks. And many (most?) fashion models & celebrities have eating disorders, are malnourished, and use drugs.

A (retired) Brit female fashion magazine editor wrote a book about it.

One haute couture studio has a medical clinic across the street. Young ladies are taken there comatose from hunger, and given IV's.

I'm hesitant to note that many of the men who ... ah, fugettaboutit.

Two recent examples are Christina Ricci & Jennifer Lawrence. Both were healthy young women pressured to be size zero.

It makes me angry. -- Rich Lara

Trigger Warning said...

As it happens, many top celebrities are physiologically 3rd standard deviation individuals. It's not just stick women on runways. It's women with primate buttocks, huge bazoombas, elephantine black women, permanently swollen lips, etc. There's a body extreme for every woman, and plastic surgeons and Dow chemical are making zillions.

The populace is turning into carnival sideshow people. Have you looked at the talking heads on TV with bizarre neon teeth?

And we won't even go into the body mutilation with tattoos and metal piercings.

Its not just women and girls. The guys are injecting 'roids, and both sexes are having their genitalia modified, and, in some cases, removed.

It's horrific in extreme cases. Those kids who cultivate giant rings in their ear lobes look like freaks, and the lobes can never recover.

What the hell are we doing to our youth?

Ares Olympus said...

Studies show parents have more influence than they think, and girls (and all kids), appreciate having firm moral guidance, and absolutes like against sharing nude photos or photos of exaggerated sexuality.

I know some smart parents who have set firm limits on their kids, and it surely must help.

Yet we've now entered into the age of Trump, where we seem what women are good for - and 70 year old men marrying 46 year old wives is perfectly good way to get ahead in life, using your physical attributes to raise your status among high status males.

And we've learned women who try to be nerdish policy wonks like Hillary Clinton will be rewarded by being beaten by a man like Trump who refuses to do his homework, and can only marvel and the loyalty of his followers to believe in him no matter what he says or what he does.

That could lead to depression to any women aspiring to leadership. Why put yourself in that place of humiliation, to be judged by your looks, or risk being called a "ape in heels" for standing for something, while a man gets ahead by being the biggest asshole the world has ever seen.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Rich, my thoughts are these...

One, all models are anatomical freaks. One would hope, desirably so. That's why they're models. The question is: Who chooses the models? My understanding, based on reports from within the fashion/image industry, is that the decision-makers are gay men...

By definition, gay men are attracted to the male form. The male form has a much lower fat content than does the female form. Therefore, the gay male will find the female with less fat to be more in line with what they desire, hence the selection of models. The smart crowd says that what is desirous is founded in biology. How do you expect a gay male to assess female biology? He is definitionally disinterested in such things. Yet he is in a position of power. His taste does not translate. His subjective or objective judgments cannot possibly be personal.

Two, you are correct: many are cadaverous. That is not desirous. Most naturally attractive women have a healthy amount of fat, accentuating curves. Please refer to item one.

Three, our whole media culture is set up to put forth novelty to draw attention. Unrelenting novelty... 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most of this novelty is not useful, just novel. I propose we ignore what is merely novel.

Then again, the human eye is drawn to contrast. This directly corresponds to the unusual. The Glowing Box is the festival of the unusual, thus the exotic.

I am drawn to beautiful women with curves, not novelties, exotics or anatomical freaks. And I suspect that's not just me.

Yet adolescent women suffer. Why is that? I say it is a hostile posture to their attraction and fertility, which the gay male cannot possibly appreciate. He can suppose, but he does not understand. He is not moved this way. Indeed, he maybe hostile to fertility. And with the message received, the adolescent female may be hostile to herself.

To which feminists say: "Too #%$&ing bad!" Because all feminists are ugly.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares, how much do you use the word "could"
in a given day? Do you think this may have a negative impact in your worldview? You seem to find victims everywhere.

Ares Olympus said...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said... Ares, how much do you use the word "could"

I apologize. I was just speculating on the answer to Stuart's question:

Stuart: How could it happen that, with infinite possibilities opening in front of them, these girls are becoming more depressed and more suicidal?

Teapartydoc said...

Hillary is not a policy nerd, she's a harpy who got where she is on her husband's coattails.

Farm Boy said...

Not exactly my area of expertise, but I would guess it has something to do with the fact that the leftist Marxist media and left wingers tell young girls that they should not be young girls, but rather they should strive to be more like boys. You know, play football, be bad ass and competitive, push your opinions on others, fight against boys b/c boys suck and they get everything given to them, go into engineering and STEM, go into politics, change the world. It's hard enough to be an adult living among the lunatics that push this madness 24/7, let alone be a teenager, girl or boy, and have to make sense of this nonsense and its numerous internal contradictions.

Dennis said...

Well some of it is when feminists do their best to destroy the father daughter relationship. Here is the starting point where young women learn what a loving male female relationship can be. This is also true to some degree with the mother son relationship. Where do we get our ideas about the opposite sex? Basically it is that bond that is developed between father/daughter and mother/son.
I just happened to catch Ainsley Earhardt (sp) with her father on TV hawking her children's book. The relationship between her and her father was a joy to behold. This is truly a happy woman. I had the biggest desire to want to ensure that that happy life continues. For most of us men there is nothing more joyous that a happy wife. Sad isn't it that the main thrust of feminism is to destroy that relationship for the lust for power which is illusionary at best.
I get the same thrill when I see a mother who has that kind of relationship with her son. As a parent do you not want your daughters and sons to have a well rounded life with the joys and happiness that comes from the respect that they can have for the opposite sex and themselves? Here is something that you might enjoy if you have been in the father daughter relationship.

Dennis said...


I fear for your life. One of these days you may actually have an original thought and will be so shocked that your life will hang in the balance. Keep doing what your doing so you won't have to worry about that, Stay safe.

Trigger Warning said...

Ares should be ok. He's probably in custodial care.

Sam L. said...

Hey! I was a custodian's assistant for a few years. Buckets, brooms, mops, and big barrels for trash were MY THING. Maybe I could help Ares! Nah, I'm probably too far away.