All Articles Tagged "Teen Girls"
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Whenever I thought about being a mother, the teenage years were never what I pictured. On the rare occasion I day dreamed about kids it was always as the cute baby or young child. I don’t think it ever occurred to me that those same babies (or baby) would become (a) teenager(s). Now it’s the 21st century and I am the mother of a teenage girl. As if the term teenager isn’t frightening enough along with raging hormones and junior high/middle school relationships I now have to contend with a myriad of distractions and influences that my parents, and theirs before them, never had to consider. Screen time, cell phone usage, eating habits, grades, and cyber bullies, BOYS, and… the rise of the ratchet girl.
Coming up in the 90’s “hoodrats & hoochie mama’s” were all we heard about in the prevalent gangster rap & that was slowly taking over the airwaves and we thought it was all so cool thanks to movies like Boyz N the Hood, Menace II Society , Above The Rim and several others of the same variety. But at the end of the day, we went home and turned on The Cosby Show and A Different World so while the images were there, they weren’t as pervasive as they are now, nor was the message. But then the birth of the million dollar video came about as did the ‘video chick’ caricature and the further exploitation of black women and their sexuality was laid bare for the entire world to admire, admonish, debate over and imitate.
But the rise of the ratchet girl has been stratospheric in the last year and to be honest, I’m sick of it.
It’s not just the images shown in the media, it’s also the clothing sold in stores and how it’s styled on mannequins over sexualizing girls from an early age, and in magazine articles aimed at ‘how to get your crush to notice you’ and ‘are you kissable?’ (Seriously who’s approving this for tweens?) . It’s also shows like Love & Hip-Hop whatever, Basketball Wives (who aren’t really), Bad Girls Club, Teen Mom and the list goes on.
Portraying these women and their lifestyle as some type of aspiration and allowing them to gain celebrity notoriety because of their bad behavior on television and in the media sends a message to young women that the more you act out the more you’re rewarded by society.
And this mama don’t play that. I’m not raising a teenager to be the baddest b*tch. I’m intent on raising a young woman who will grow into a queen that’s going set the world on fire. It also sets the standard that they need to be overly dramatic to be considered interesting or to get their point across which couldn’t be farther from the truth.
But how do I maintain an active presence in her mind without being overbearing? And how do I keep my daughter from becoming enthralled by the ratchet girl lifestyle she sees all around her?
So while we’re still new to the teenage game we’ve got a few rules that we govern our house by to keep her on the right path and keep the ratchet from taking over.
- Teach her she is more than her body but she is also not limited by it. This includes her hair and what she wears. When your mom writes about fashion for a living you get a little leeway in the clothing and hair department, but I still have rules and have no problem enforcing them. This also includes keeping the lines of communication about sexuality and those awkward topics open for discussion and consideration.
- Monitor her social media access as well as phone and apps. It may sound like spying but I’d rather not be caught unawares if anything happens. Just because she has access to social media does not mean she gets to be “out there”. It is private, monitored and limited so we feel pretty good about this one.
- Parent like its 1999ish. Seriously. A lot of new age mothers are excited for their daughters to become their ‘best friends’ and I’m like no ma’am. I have my own friend’s thank you and until you are of age I am your parent, not your homegirl. We kick it old school when it comes to parenting and have no problem being the ‘uncool’ parents of the group.
- Investigate her friends. Junior High/ High School is not like elementary school where you often see the same parents at school functions and daily drop-off and pick-up. Kids make new friends everyday so yeah, I check out their online presence to see if the image they project to me is the same they are portraying to the outside world and if not how far they are straying.
- Educate her about her ancestry and where she comes from not only within your family but as woman of color. Teach her about the world in which she currently resides and the one that preceded her existence so she is able to learn from both experiences and chart her course accordingly. Family reading is something we can all benefit from and there are a number of anthologies by African-American authors that paint a beautiful picture of the past and there is a lot to be learned from others experiences and stories that you can’t get from a TV movie.
We realize that as you go through life you try on different personas to see what fits and a lot of times as a teen, those personas don’t jibe with your parent’s vision of you. I get it, I was a teenager too, and we encourage self-expression and creative thought, but we also aren’t in the business of encouraging society’s’ values over our own.
While most kids are back in school after holiday break, noses in books and face front to teachers, three amazing young women remind America of the lessons they learn in school that are never actually taught.
From racism to silence, you’ll want to see how Belissa Escobedo, Rhiannon McGavin, and Zariya Allen tackle these problems with heart, grace and poise but still always real in their presentation of “Somewhere In America.” The three students appeared on The Queen Latifah Show in Los Angeles after having opened for soul-singer John Legend at his Hollywood Bowl concert.
Belissa, Rhiannon and Zariya are a part of Get Lit, a non-profit in LA. The organization focuses on getting youth to be more literate through poetry, performance, education, and other teen poetry programs throughout Southern California.
Their names and message are spreading and rightfully so. Watch as the Queen gives the girls a standing ovation and see why you’ll want to share this with both your teens and friends alike.
If you’re shopping for a teenage girl, whether for your daughter or niece and you are not so sure where to start, this list has got you covered! Sometimes shopping for others can be tough but things can get really tricky when shopping for teens–especially if they haven’t given you any clues on what they may want. Don’t panic, just get creative, here are 15 birthday gift recommendations to consider!
Shopping for a Teenage Girl? 15 Birthday Gift Ideas
A report from the National Women’s Law Center and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund released last week revealed that Black girls are often given harsher punishments than white students and also more likely yo be a victim of sexual harassment.
Why is this? It has to do with racial and gender stereotypes that have been engrained in our society for centuries. The report said that discipline disparities most likely occur because African American females are seen as ” loud, confrontational, assertive, and provocative.”
The graph below shows just how often Black girls are disciplined.
Not all states track school discipline data based on race and gender, but Ohio is one that does and their findings are saddening. Between 2012 to 2013 African American girls were disciplined often more than 10 times the amount of White females and for unsubstantiated reasons such as “disobedience/disruptive behavior.”
“The have different rules for us (African American girls) than they do for White and Asian girls. White girls and Asian girls can wear anything and get away with it, but they will send us to the dean for wearing the same thing,” noted one research participant. But it does not stop with dress, African American girls have also been disciplined due to their style of hair. You may remember the case when two African American girls were told their hair (afro puffs and dreadlocks) were not a part of the dress code.
Another sad reality is that African American girls are victims of sexual assault at a higher rate than their peers. Black females have been more likely to be held back and score lower on standardized tests, however the report mentions that often times this is due to the lack of experienced instructors and resources that typically plague schools with a high African American population.
In a statement released, Sherrilyn A. Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund stated: “Our educational policies and practices must open the doors of opportunity for all -– regardless of race or gender. Only then will we fulfill the promise of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark ruling that invalidated legal segregation in America 60 years ago,” Ifill said.
Fatima Goss Graves, vice president for education and employment at the National Women’s Law Center told the Huffington Post that there was one bright spot the report showed and it had to do with Black girls taking on leadership roles.
“In fact, 53 percent of African American girls surveyed expressed a desire to be leaders as compared to 50 percent of Hispanic girls and 34 percent of Caucasian
girls .42 African American girls were also the most likely group of girls to consider themselves to be leaders (75 percent), and the most likely to have leadership experience (78 percent) .43 African American and Latina girls rated themselves more highly on “leadership skills” than white girls did .44 Yet opportunities for leadership are scarce for girls, even today.”
While the report shines light on major issues within the school system it also shows us just how strong African American girls are in the face of all they have to endure. What this does too is shows us, as parents, what areas we should be focusing on and reporting negligence that occurs within the schools we send out children to each and every day.
A girl’s first bra is a rite of passage for both her and her parents – and one that’s occurring at younger and younger ages. For some girls, it’s a turning point fraught with anxiety; for others, it’s a celebration. Either way, parents have a hard time ensuring their daughters to have good memories of shopping for and wearing their first bra.
“Trying on your first bra in a big discount retail store can be unnerving for an eight or nine-year-old who may already feel shy about the experience,” says Kelly O’Brien, a lingerie specialist whose experience with young customers led her to launch LingerTween, the first ecommerce site dedicated to undergarments for tweens. “And those stores have limited selections, both in sizes and styles.”
The average Caucasian girl now enters puberty, which is marked by breast development, at 9.7 years old – about 4 months younger than just 17 years ago, according to an ongoing study as part of the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program. For black girls, the age is 8.8 years and the number of girls developing breasts in first grade has tripled since 1997.
“Another choice is shops like Victoria’s Secret, a place most parents don’t feel comfortable taking their young daughters to shop,” O’Brien notes.
But there are options. Once you’ve found a comfortable place to shop with a good selection of choices, O’Brien offers these tips for ensuring your daughter is comfortable and happy in her first bra.
Growth Spurt: 4 Tips When Buying Her First Bra
The Limited Brands’ Victoria’s Secret and other major chains are capitalizing on the opportunity to sell intimate apparel to prepubescent girls. Yes, even younger girls need underwear. But perhaps there’s something a little too “intimate” happening here?
Victoria’s Secrets’ PINK college collection has been popular with older teens. However, by using acts like Justin Bieber to perform during their nationally televised fashion show, the company’s target customer seems to be getting even younger. The justification that came from Limited’s CFO is that tweens “want to be older…they want to be cool like the girl in college.” The question is whether that’s justification for targeting them.
Justice, a retail store targeted at girls ages seven to 12, sells a collection of bras and panties specially for their clientele. Other stores that reach this tween audience like Hot Topic and Urban Outfitters are following suit.
In the 90s kids wanted to smoke cigarettes to be cool, which the nation agreed was harmful. Ultimately, it led to the death of candy cigarettes. I’m in no way saying girls wearing lingerie is like children smoking, but shouldn’t there be a line drawn on clothing that pushes the envelope as well?
Taking a quick look at the Victoria Secret website you can easily notice that the PINK line is not all about track suits and bright colors. There are several options for lacy panties and thongs.
In my opinion, these undergarments promote the loss of innocence for our girls. If no one’s looking, why does a kid need such fancy panties? Am I overreacting on this issue? Let me know your thoughts.
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A freshman girl dating a senior guy is a common scenario in high school. For some, the story ends with popularity, a high school sweetheart, maybe even heartbreak, but for others there is shame, stigma, and maybe even a charge of statutory rape.
The Daily Beast reports that there are a growing number of parents across all 50 states who are fighting to protect their children from the sex-offender laws that were meant to do just that. From their view, the punishments inflicted on high-school boys are far too harsh and they want the laws to change.
One mother, Francie Baldino, says her son Ken’s prison term was unthinkable. In 2004, the 18-year-old high school senior was arrested for having sex with his girlfriend who was a 14-year-old freshman. Because the age of consent in Michigan is 16, he was sentenced to a year in jail and three years’ probation. When Ken was released from jail he violated probation by resuming his relationship with the girl and then was given a sentence of five to fifteen years. After serving six years behind bars, he’s now forced to wear a GPS device and was told his home address and personal information would be listed in the sex-offender registry for 25 years.
When a guy is in his 20s and a girl is 14, the issue of sex with a minor is a no-brainer, but when we’re talking two high-school students, one of whom may have just become a legal adult, the issue is much more gray. Even Fred Mester, the judge in Ken’s case openly acknowledged the complexities of statutory rape laws when he sentenced him in 2005, saying, “Half my senior class … were dating freshman girls, and I suspect half of them would be in here today.”
While the prevalence of the act doesn’t mean it should be excused, it does call into question whether the law should recognize the difference between teen sex and teen rape. As Ken’s attorney, Cheryl Carpenter says, “The laws often don’t differentiate between a 50-year-old man molesting a 14-year-old girl, and two teenagers having sex.”
But how could that be done? Often times girls who sleep with older boys say the sex was consensual, but in an age where so many teen girls are admitting to being coerced into having sex or performing certain sexual acts, it’s hard to know whether they are telling the truth or protecting boys they are scared of. And as prosecutors argue, the law is there so there’s no need to delve into this issue of distinction at all. They say the law is the law and kids need to follow it regardless of whatever urges or relationships they have.
“The court isn’t imposing restrictions because it’s fun—it’s the law,” Paul Walton, a chief assistant prosecutor in Michigan, says. “You can disagree on the age of consent, but the law says that prior to that age, a person doesn’t have the ability to consent.”
Although following the law truly is the bottom line in these cases and the aim isn’t to encourage teen sex—although that behavior isn’t going anywhere—unfair laws are protested all the time. With boys like Ken, who has now been taken off the sex-offender registry but remains a convicted felon for life, you have to wonder if their futures are being thrown away before they even get started with these harsh penalties.
Do you think sex-offender laws are too harsh when it comes to teens? Should legislators work to modify the laws or should they stand as they are to protect young girls?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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