Discover Your Inner Voice

By Molly Matthews

Meet Molly Matthews a talented young woman with a genuine gift for writing. Read her persuasive essay, Young Girls Are Growing Up Too Fast, and appreciate the intelligence and emotional depth of the next generation of women. Adventure Woman asked Molly a few questions about her essay and writing technique:

1. What prompted the idea to write: Young Girls Are Growing Up Too Fast?

Well, I see young girls all over the place that are being forced to grow up too fast, and it really bugs me. We were asked to write a persuasive essay in my English 11 CP class, and I figured that would be a good topic. I also have two little sisters myself, and so it kind-of hit home.

2. How did you develop your essay?   Where did you start and finish?

 I took little baby steps at first, which then turned into the finished product. At first I just figured out what my topic was going to be. Then, I did research on it to make sure that I had enough resources to back up what I was trying to say. Then, I wrote my thesis statement, and then my outline. The last step was just writing the essay itself.

3. Writing a persuasive essay is challenging.  Can you give our readers a little advice on how to approach writing one?

I think the most important thing is to not stress about it. If you have to, just sit down and start writing like you’re casually talking to someone. Then, another day or at a different time, go back and try to “professionalize” what was written already. Also, don’t procrastinate on big papers—it’s pointless.

                                     Young Girls Are Growing Up Too Fast

            Eight year-olds are covering themselves with make-up; ten year-olds are wearing Abercrombie and Fitch, and eleven year-olds are looking at Seventeen magazine.  What happened to freckles, jumpers, and Ramona the Pest?  Ten years ago, little girls were looked upon as sweet and innocent.  Today, people are having different thoughts.  Young girls are growing up too fast due to the media, clothing stores, and absentee parents.
            One reason that girls are dressing and acting older than ever before is because of the media.  Media is everywhere…books, magazines, television, and the internet.  All of them ways young girls can be tempted into being someone they aren’t supposed to be yet.  According to an expert, the “sexy-girl” trend didn’t start overnight.  "I trace it to the mid-1980s, when children's television was deregulated, allowing TV shows to market products to kids" (Swaney 2), says Diane Levin, PhD, of Wheelock College in Boston and co-author of So Sexy So Soon.  There is so much available in pictures and in words for little girls to see or hear and, in effect; catch onto. The media is a definite cause to this trend that is taking over little girls’ lives.

            Another reason that ten is the new fifteen is because of the clothing that is available. There is a whole assortment of flirty bras and panties perfectly sized for second-graders at certain children’s stores (Swaney 1).  Swaney is quoted as saying “Staring at those crazy under-things, and at the body-glitter tubes on the counter, something creepy dawned on me.  Today's girls don't just want to own a hot-looking doll, they want to be one” (1).  "Where are the age-appropriate clothes?” asks Marie Ortiz of San Antonio, mom of 8-year-old Karina. “Even the kids' fashions at mass retailers look like they're for mini Paris Hiltons.  It's a coast-to-coast lament as mothers of girls shop among racks of child-size swimsuits with padded chests and slinky underwear for 8-year-olds” (Swaney 4). Girls aren’t supposed to dress like models, they’re supposed to be little girls…something that clothing designers need to remember.

            A last reason why young girls are seen as teens is because of absentee parents.  With parents working so much, and home so little, young kids are on their own a lot.  Parents are extremely important for a young kid (and especially a girl) to develop right emotionally, and in a sense, physically.  One middle-school counselor said “The most common complaint I hear, is, 'My mom doesn't care what I do.  She's never home.  She doesn't even know what I do’ ” (Hymowitz).  This is, without a doubt, a huge problem.  Since parents are gone a lot of the time, girls have more time to look at bad media, and do what they want.  Chief executive of Lady Gowrie childcare says that another factor is that “Working parents who are very busy can tend to overcompensate by giving in to children and buying things” (Jones, Cuneo).  Parents need to be there more for their precious daughters that are growing up way too fast.

            Some might say that having their little girl dress up like a magazine model doesn’t matter at all; it’s only just for fun.  What those parents don’t realize, is that not all people are looking at their young girl as just cute.  Some predatory men might look at her, and because of humanity’s evilness, wonder if they could use that poor girl for their pleasure.  Also, girls don’t need to dress older, but they do need time to just be a little girl. In the future, they will have plenty of time to be a teenager and experience wearing make-up and all of the other jazz...there’s no need to push it on them now.  After all, it’s more about the inside of a person than the outside, isn’t it?

The media, clothing that is available, and absentee parents all play a part in making little girls today grow up way to soon.  They are great just the way they are and do not need to grow up and change for anyone or anything in this world.   Writing a letter to a local clothing store or designer, talking to a busy and distracted parent, or just simply saying “You’re cute just the way you are” to a family friend can make an impact on these young girls.