Sensationalism over early puberty
Tariq pointed up this article in the London Sun newspaper, but I just saw an ITV programme on the subject, which focussed on girls who are going through precocious puberty, which means puberty at three or four rather than eight or nine. They did not really deal with the issue of the average age of starting puberty coming down, although they did mention it; instead, they dwelt at length on three girls, two of whom reached puberty in their pre-school years and the other at the age of six, and a 20-year-old who had had a similar experience.
The possible causes of earlier puberty, such as diets excessively rich in fats and processed foods, were not even mentioned. They did deal with the effects, such as girls being treated with suspicion by other girls’ parents who deemed them too big, and too mature-looking, to mix with their children and having to contend with sexual advances from men who presumed they were much older than they were. However, I do not see how a junk-food-rich diet would make a girl start her periods when she was 4 or 5; it could be something to do with her mother’s diet, or with genes. That may well be a contributing factor to earlier normal puberty.
One disturbing issue that the programme showed but did not discuss was the effect of the girls’ clothing on the way they are treated. The young woman who was interviewed was shown, at the age when she was going through her early puberty, dressed in what looked like a bra top and a mid-length skirt, which is really not the clothing to be wearing if you want to avoid undesirable male attention. Perhaps she did not go on the bus dressed like that, but young girls do not normally wear strapless dresses of the sort another girl was seen trying on. I read in a magazine feature on the same subject a couple of years ago that much of the clothing that was available was revealing, but that is just not suitable for girls that age, however advanced in puberty they are. (It’s actually not very nice on grown women either, but that’s another story.)
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