A recent Washington Post Article, “Goodbye to Girlhood as Pop Culture Targets Ever Younger Girls, Psychologists Worry About a Premature Focus on Sex and Appearance” by Stacy Weiner, describes that younger girls are beginning to be targeted by the media in a sexual manner. Ranging from TV shows to magazine ads, young girls are seen flaunting tight jeans, low-cut shirts and body-hugging apparel. This article provided many shocking stats such as in 2003, tweens, ages 7 to 12, spent $1.6 million on thong underwear. Additionally, 77 percent of prime-time TV shows portray sexual material. The article claims that this new way of exposing girls to sexual popular culture at a younger and younger age has cut their childhood years significantly. A large part of American girlhood is discovering your inner beauty and true self, however the media is corrupting and shortening this time to do so. The effects of this corruptive popular culture not only shorten a girl’s girlhood, but also affect her young adult life. According to the article, studies show that female college students concerned with their appearance often score less on tests than others. In Karen Sánchez-Eppler’s Keyword essay, “Childhood”, she discusses childhood as a time of innocence separate from adulthood. She also mentions the idea of “protecting the innocence” in children during their childhood (38). Clearly, this article shows that society is doing just the opposite. Childhood is a stage in life, separate from adulthood in a “magically and wonderfully” way (40). This suggests that childhood should be a stage in which kids learn who they are as a being, their beliefs and worth, prior to indulging in the sometimes corruptive and mature adult life.
After reading Little Women, the four girls struggle to overcome their flaws and discover their womanhood. During Meg’s visit to Vanity fair, we see her for the first time represented as a sexual being and corrupted by the ways of the high-class life in which she becomes, “nothing but a doll” (93). However, most the story portrays the four young ladies as finding who they truly are and what they want in life. This suggests that they are still in their childhood and separate from the adult world. Ma often delivers the message of the importance of finding what makes you happy and not what brings in money or fame. I think that Ma’s message should be heard more by young girls in order to prevent this sexual corruption and allow girls an innocent girlhood to discover who they want to be, not what society wants them to be. I also believe that they should hear this message in order to prolong and enjoy their youthful girlhood instead of being forced into this mature adulthood.