The corruption of a generation: Our daughters are facing sexualisiation from primary school age
These days, there’s a new grumble among women who ply the so-called oldest profession in the world. Their clients, they say, are finding it increasingly hard to identify them. Why? Because ordinary 17-year-old girls are dressing just like prostitutes.
The streetwalkers aren’t the only ones complaining, of course. Many middle-class parents watch with horror as their little darlings succumb to today’s hyper-sexualised culture, with its sinister diktats on how ordinary teenagers should look and behave.
Sexualisation — the forcing of a sexual identity onto a child — was a term originally applied in cases of child sex abuse. Today, it’s a problem that’s seen in every primary school, and few girls escape it.
At one end of the spectrum, it means dressing in the wildly inappropriate clothes of streetwalkers.
At the other, it means girls having sex with numerous boys while still at school — not because they want to, but because they feel that they should.
Consider the alarming result of a large-scale survey of teenage girls, first undertaken in 2002 and repeated in 2008. Researchers found that the percentage of girls who had sex with multiple partners had doubled in six years. Doubled!
Thirty years ago, just four per cent of girls aged 17 and under had sex with three or more boys.
Today, the figure is 20 per cent, and rising.
Make no mistake: in the past decade alone, there’s been a tremendous change in the lives of girls.
Even mothers who grew up in the post-women’s liberation era had relatively traditional childhoods compared with what their daughters are going through today.
Fifteen years ago, when I published my book Raising Boys, I wrote about boys for just one reason — they were a disaster area. Back in those days, girls were doing just fine.
But about ten years ago, that started to change. We began to see a sudden and marked plunge in girls’ mental health.
Problems such as eating disorders, binge drinking and self-harm were soon to be found in every classroom. But more than this, the average girl was stressed and depressed in a way we hadn’t seen before.
Girls aren’t born like this. Something has been happening to poison their lives.
As a child psychologist, I see the signs that are familiar to every parent: the eight-year-olds who are already worried about their figures; the ‘too-sexy too-soon’ 12-year-olds who won’t go out without make-up; the magazines aimed at 10 to14-year-olds that discuss oral sex. MORE