This I Believe

Kendra - Dorchester, Massachusetts
Entered on September 14, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: children

I believe in Girlhood.

I believe in patent leather shoes. Cartoon band-aids. Girl Scout camp. The ride after you shed your training wheels and before your first lesson in driver’s ed. Feeling the tug of watching a rated R movie when you know you’re not allowed.

Sadly, though, Girlhood is fading. She is becoming an endangered experience. Bound for extinction.

It’s not that she is not wanted or needed. It’s just that she is so simply so easily compromised.

Why be a girl, when, after all, you can be an adult as soon as you’re “ready”? At nine, you could be menstruating. By thirteen, you may have had your first sexual experience.But those things are sometimes out of your control.

If your first sexual experience is at fourteen, I’d bet my Hillary Duff poster that it wasn’t pleasurable for you. I also don’t believe that it was all your idea. If there’s no one at home at night to cook your dinner or to teach you how, then I cannot expect you to choose anything other than the super-sized entrée, washed down with a super-sized Coke. Your school lunches are made of processed, pre-packaged foods. And still I marvel how you’re developing at such a young age, all those hormones on your plate? If your neighborhood isn’t safe, how can I expect you to “get movin’” like all of the exercise programs for you tout? There are so many good things that you can be doing for your body and your mind. But you simply don’t have the right resources and the right people invested in you to preserve your very own Girlhood.

So when Girlhood doesn’t have a place thrive, she simply can’t survive. She is traded up for Early Adolescence, which is looking more and more like Premature Adulthood.

Back when Girlhood flourished, not so very long ago, you would have been wearing clothes that fit you – clothes that allowed you to move and breathe and climb trees.

Now, there are no traces of Girlhood in your outfits. All I can discern is a glittery “Hottie” on your booty. And a big ring through your navel.

You have so many questions about yourself right now. You also have so many dreams. Girlhood was once the time when you could explore those questions and to keep on dreaming. But all the world offers you are illusions and a stunted vision of your future. MTV would like you to think that every girl is entitled to a “Super Sweet Sixteen” party complete with multiple outfit changes. MySpace would have you believe that you really do have 188 close friends.

Again, Girlhood can’t compete. And compete seems to be the way of your world. Competing for attention in the classroom, competing for funding for your sports team.

Who wants to be a girl, afterall?

Yet, I still believe in Girlhood, though she’s as transient these days as the fireflies that you spend summer nights chasing after. Or do you?