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This just in: Teenage Girls Continue to Suffer, Society Doesn't Help

I read this article yesterday, and have not been able to get it out of my mind.

The study - compiled from an online survey of 350 girls and eight separate focus groups - found that many young girls believed self-harm was "normal" behaviour for teenagers; 42% of the 10- to 14-year-olds surveyed knew someone who had harmed themselves; 32% had a friend who had suffered from an eating disorder, and half knew someone who had suffered from depression. Some teenage girls linked self-harm with belonging to a particular social group. One participant explained her best friend, a fan of emo music, had cut her wrists "to fit in with the emos".

Wow.

The article reports on the teenage female state of mind in 2008, and some of the problems and pain involved. It's difficult to read, and caused an enormous number of memories to come flooding back about my own teenage years, and the crippling angst that still follows me to this day. And I have a few things I gotta say.

My immediate reaction to the  statistics regarding eating disorders, depression, and self-mutilation that have been admitted by teen girls was "Yeah, those are the ones who are able to admit it, not all of them who suffer from it." I was frustrated because these disorders have played an enormous part in my life from a very young age, and they seem to be more and more prolific, even accepted, by the day. When I read the quote describing the friend of the interviewee cutting her wrists "to fit in with the emos" I wanted to cry. I hid my cutting as a filthy secret, and no one knew the first hint of the severity of what I was doing to my body until I was an adult. I started when I was nine, also the same time I started becoming consumed with my weight. Nine years old. That was before it was as "emo" to cut yourself as it was to wear a white belt and a complicated haircut; before anorexic-chic was in all the magazines and gossip sites. Back then, cutting landed you in psychiatric lockdown, and anorexia was personified by the death of Karen Carpenter. Now it's cool. Accepted. Even joked about. I really don't have the words.

Where does the answer lie? Take away the expensive electronic toys, ban emo music and Us Weekly, and send all the girls to boarding schools in the Alps? I don't think so. But I don't know what is the answer.  I wouldn't wish my teenage years on anyone, but at the same time, when I was a teenager, it was cool to look homeless, to have a crappy car and no money, and we KNEW things like anorexia and cutting were unhealthy. It might not have stopped us, but at least it wasn't trendy. Situations are so different now, so dangerous, and I don't know what the answer is to help young women find their self esteem somewhere other than on the scale, in a magazine, or at the end of a razor. But I wish to hell I did.

via Jezebel

via Guardian UK







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Comments

All Adither

That's super disturbing.

Diane

I do find this troubling, but I'm wary of statistics that report what percentage of girls KNOW someone that something happened to. 100% of the girls at my middle school knew someone who harmed herself, because one of our classmates did. As far as I know, that was one girl out of the 300 or so in attendance. But statistics like that don't sound as scary, so we get fed this.

I'm not saying it isn't a problem, just pointing out that we shouldn't misread this as nearly half of girls harming themselves nowadays.

DianaCLT

Miss Banshee, thank you for sharing so much of yourself in this. Just remember, when this information gets you down...YOU SURVIVED!!! :) And think about the heart, compassion, and empathy you possess as a result of all you endured. I have no doubt your own experiences can and do help those that are going/have gone through it. You are a role model. Maybe not by choice, but you are! :)

"Yeah, those are the ones who are able to admit it, not all of them who suffer from it." I could say the same about sexual assault. National statistics puts it at about 30%. That is far, far too low. MOST girls/women never admit it or report it. And this statistic doesn't even include boys and men. For females alone, I'm guessing the number to be closer to 70%. Most women I know have had something happen to them at some point in their life. And how many reported it? Um...one.

Amber

Miss Banshee,

This is an excellent post; thought provoking and heartbreakingly confessional.

I'm glad to be writing at MamaPop with you!

Aww, big love fest!




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