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The 21st Century Twelve-Year-Old Girl

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This article was sparked by a twelve-year-old girl,  the daughter of one of my advance readers.. She argues though the book is rated for 18 and older, it is an important story for girls of twelve.

This article was sparked by a twelve-year-old girl, the daughter of one of my advance readers.. She argues though the book is rated for 18 and older, it is an important story for girls of twelve.

How this article came to be (There had to be a story.)

This article is dedicated to “Girls Rule,” a pair of twelve year old girls who contacted me through my website. Their big argument with me was that my book, This Bird Flew Away, is not just suitable for women eighteen and over, but is just as suitable for them. The first question to fly off my fingers – after 'how did you get a copy of my manuscript?' – was 'does your mother know you’re writing to me?' She did, and although she will remain nameless in this article, she was one of my advance readers.

“I would suggest that any mother of an adolescent girl share this book. Not only did my daughter completely relate to Bria, her adventures and her trials, but the rape scene was so well written and showed us the fear, pain and confusion of the poor girl, it gave us the perfect opportunity to discuss rape, the dangers we face and all the attendant issues. For this I thank you"

And that’s how it began, my roller coaster ride with “Girls Rule", and a guided exploration of the world of the 21st century twelve-year-old girls.

“At twelve girls are still children. They act like children, talk like children and think like children. And they are helpless like children. You grossly misrepresent the abilities of twelve year old girls, and portray them as older than their years. It is stories such as yours that destroy childhood as a time of innocence. No twelve year old should have to think about this stuff.” – a comment left on the Your Story page of my website.

In response to this comment, I wrote an article for my blog site “Yours Sincerely, Lynda,”in which I highlighted twelve-year-old girls in the news, around the world. This commenter may think girls of twelve are helpless children, but the world does not.

"We loved your blog The Truth About Twelve Year Old Girls. We are not 'children' and we have plenty of abilities… My mom and I talked about the rape scene, and I wanted to tell you that you did a great job of explaining her feelings without giving a lot of detail. So you know, it is a really good story for younger girls too. Bria was so cool, so strong and honest. I felt like she was how I'd like to be. We girls can and do understand these things. I don't think there is anyone my age that doesn't know about sex and rape and what can happen in the world. Would you write some more about girls of 12 or 13 in the news? We, I mean my friend and me really liked that." – the first comment left by “Girls Rule” on my website.

This model is twelve, and worse, she is modeling clothes marketed to girls of that age. We have sexualized girlhood, and then have the blindness to act surprised when not only do older males see them as sexual partners, so do they see themselves.

This model is twelve, and worse, she is modeling clothes marketed to girls of that age. We have sexualized girlhood, and then have the blindness to act surprised when not only do older males see them as sexual partners, so do they see themselves.

What twelve-year-old-girls face

Even though I’m getting on in years – I can see sixty without squinting – unlike most 'mature' adults, I’ve never had a blind spot when it came to twelve-year-old girls: who they are and what they are capable of. I don't see them as young children, nor quite as young women.Twelve is never land.

The term 'girl' no longer seems adequate -- yet they are not adolescents. Some seem to be twelve-going-on-six, and others twelve-going-on-thirty. And even more disturbing, we can see all ages in between in the same girl in the space of half an hour. One thing is sure: they are complicated.

No, I never look at a girl of twelve and see 'just a kid.'

Thirty years of child protection work can do that. I've seen girls at their most vulnerable, and at their most admirable – seriously. Twelve appears to be a risky age. I’d say close to half the girls I came into professional contact with over the years were first victimized at the age of twelve.

Why is that?

Is it that particular stage of metamorphosis common to many girls of twelve, that budding into womanhood, the incipient curves, the promise of what is to come… the allure of the girl/woman? Is that it? Having escaped until puberty from the attentions of those who prey on children, the girls now seem to be at risk from those that like a touch of womanliness in their young prey. So it seems…

77% of all rape victims are under the age of eighteen. According to National Victim Services; of which 33% are between 13 - 18, 30% are aged 11 or 12 and 17% are under age 10. 14% of victims are older than 18 but under 30. Only 6% of victims are over 30.

So, if there were 90,427 reported rapes in the U.S. in 2007, that would mean 30% or 30,142 girls of 11 or 12 years of age were raped --- or would it? Law enforcement estimates only 1 in 6 rapes are reported overall, and the rate of reporting drops the younger the victims.

We seem to have a terrible blind spot when it comes to this age group of girls. We have some strange need to see them as innocent little girls, and we do our best to keep them as we want them to be... and fail. Instead of preparing our girls to deal with the world we've made for them, we extend our own denial over them -- and leave them defenseless.

I think 12 year old girls are possibly the highest-at-risk group of females out there.

Do we underestimate girls of this age?

I think we do. Certainly, “Girls Rule” think we do. I challenged them to find  some online stories about girls they felt were important to their peers, and to give me an interview where they could express their opinions and why they picked this particular story.

Three stories picked from the internet as being relevant to twelve-year-old girls, by twelve-year-old girls

MSN coverage of this story

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This is one: The Death of Hope

A girl named Hope, a middle school student, hanged herself in her bedroom in August, two weeks after returning to school. She had just turned thirteen. A few days before, she’d forwarded a nude photo of herself to a boy she like, a practice known as sexting. Soon, the nude photo circulated from cell phone to cell phone, not only at her middle school, but at nearby high schools. School authorities became aware of it and suspended her for the first week of school. When she came back, her friends had to surround her as she moved from class to class to try and defend her, while others yelled insults such as ‘whore’ and ‘slut.’ A week later, teacher sent Hope to a school counselor because she noticed Hope had been cutting herself. The counselor had her sign a ‘no-harm’ contract. (Where she promises to talk to someone if she thinks she might hurt herself.) The next day, Hope was dead.

"Sexting" -- is far more common than most parents want to believe. "Girls Rule" tell me that among their intimate group of 12 year old friends, there are at least five who've done some form of sexting. And boys invariably pass the images on.

"Sexting" -- is far more common than most parents want to believe. "Girls Rule" tell me that among their intimate group of 12 year old friends, there are at least five who've done some form of sexting. And boys invariably pass the images on.

Why do you think she killed herself, Girls Rule?

“It was the shaming stuff others did to her that made her kill herself. It wasn’t that she sent the photograph to the boy, it was how her classmates and the adults around her acted. And anyway – she probably thought that boy would keep it for himself, not send it out to everyone like a complete jerk.”

So you think the boy is to blame for sending the photo on to others?

“Yeay – duh! It’s not like she told them it would be okay, so what they did was the same as touching or kissing without permission, like. And then the whole school calling her a slut. On top of all that, everyone is saying that what her classmates did to her was her own fault.”

Wasn’t it her own fault?

“Well, it was kind of stupid to send the photo in the first place, but lots of kids do it. We know girls that do. I don’t think that just because you send a nude photograph to another person, you’re a slut, a whore, need to be kicked out of school and deserve whatever is coming to you. It’s kind of dumb, but really did she deserve all that? They should have punished the ones who called her names – they bullied her.”

Why did you pick this story?

"We know girls who do this, and it's not smart, obviously. Sending someone a nude picture of yourself is risky. You can't trust the boys to keep private things private, or to see you did it out of trust. They want to brag and make themselves look big and they don't care they are breaking your trust. It's maybe more wrong for the boys to send the pictures all over than it is for you to send it to him in the first place. Just plain wrong, but the world only comes down on the girl. Do you notice that? And then we thought further. If you do this, you never know where your picture will end up, Maybe some perv on the internet will be drooling over you. Do you like that idea? It's a stupid thing to do."

It is very clear to me that “Girls Rule” have a very good sense of what is wrong with this picture. Apparently, the adults at this school felt it more important to punish a girl for overt sexuality than to protect her. Those that chased her, taunted her, harassed her and made her life a living hell face no consequences. What about the boy who acted in a non-consensual manner and forwarded her love-token to the population at large? No – no one else is to blame here but one shattered young girl.

The film Hounddog is the story of a twelve-year-old rape victim, played by a twelve-year-old actress -- to much controversy. Dakota Fanning pulls off a magnificent performance. I saw this film and found nothing pornographic at all.

The film Hounddog is the story of a twelve-year-old rape victim, played by a twelve-year-old actress -- to much controversy. Dakota Fanning pulls off a magnificent performance. I saw this film and found nothing pornographic at all.

Here is the second: The "Rape" of Dakota Fanning

The well-known child actress Dakota Fanning, now 14 but 12 at the time, came under a lot of fire for her decision to play the role of Lewellen, a rape victim in 1950’s rural south in the "Southern Gothic" movie Hounddog. I hadn’t heard of this film before “Girls Rule” brought it to my attention, but I downloaded it and watched it. It is a remarkable, artistic work about a twelve-year-old girl, her fantasy life centered around Elvis, and the distorted perceptions of her sexuality as seen by an older male, who acts out his own lust. Tempting her with tickets to see Elvis, he asks her to sing and dance Elvis's hit, Hounddog for him -- naked.

Public opinion became so heated over the rape scene, distributors pulled it from many theatres.

Lasting less than a minute, the whole scene is predominated by close-ups of Dakota's face and darkness. We can also see one hand and one of her feet as she stumbles down, but when the teenage boy actually rapes her, the camera switches angles and only her whimpers and 'Stop it' are heard. See it yourself, below.

“People were attacking my family and me, and that's where it got too far. Pretty much everybody who talked about it attacked my mother, which I did not appreciate. That was extremely uncalled for and hurtful,” Dakota said during a press conference after the screening. The actress also revealed that the whole madness was 100 percent gratuitous because filming the rape scene was just like shooting for any other one.

“I know my mom would take me to see it. You have to prepare your children for things that happen in the world. Everything isn't rosy,” Dakota said, adding that hadn't she starred in the movie, she would have gone to see it either way.

The infamous scene

Dakota's wonderful performance

You girls brought me this story; did you see the movie?

"Yes, we did. We rented it and watched it with our Moms and one Grandma, all together. After, we talked about it, because the Moms wanted to know we understood everything. As if we wouldn't!!!"

What did you think of Dakota's performance?

"She was terrific. Here she was living with her mean Grandma because her Mom was too out of it to look after them and her Dad was gone, and all she wanted was to sing like Elvis. Like she wanted to run away into her day-dreams. She was so real. The background was kind of creepy and we didn't understand about the times, though Grandma did and explained about how things were different between the races then."

What was your reaction to the rape scene?

"She was pretty stupid to take off her clothes and sing, but Mom said she was innocent and didn't understand what could happen. Still, it's hard to believe a girl of twelve wouldn't know. Maybe she just wanted those tickets so bad, she didn't care until it was too late. Grandma said times were different then and a girl didn't know as much so young as today. But still, we thought how she got raped was kind of lame, like the scene could have had a better lead up. The rape scene was sad and Dakota's acting was really great. You could see how scared she was and how hurt, but there was nothing to get so mad over. Why everyone made such a fuss is a mystery. We see worse stuff on TV every day. Is it because the actress is twelve?"

Why did you pick this particular story?

"We didn't pick it because of the movie itself, but because of the reaction to it. We both think the controversy was stupid. Like we said, we see worse stuff on TV all the time, way worse. Like on Law and Order SVU, which is on at all hours of the day, they don't show the actual rapes but the stories around them are always so twisted, but that's okay... It's okay for us to see people getting killed or beaten or pretend raped twenty times a night, but not a story about a real girl in a real situation. A story that shows the reality that many girls face isn't okay. Don't you think that's stupid?

And all the criticism given to Dakota is just plain wrong. I read in one of her interviews that she wanted to do this part to 'portray the pain and misery hundred of thousands of girls face in real life.' It was her choice and we are proud of her for doing this. Way to go Dakota!

And look at her other movies. Now this is what we don't understand. As a tiny girl she played a part where she got sucked into a TV by demons. She was one of the few human survivors of an alien attack on earth where she saw machines sucking out all the blood from humans. She's been right next to people who got killed. It goes on and on. Violence, creepy stuff, demons and all that are okay, but when she does a film that shows the reality faced by lots of girls our age, she is attacked. We think that's really dumb. It makes no sense at all."

I have nothing to add to "Girls Rule's" very rational take on this situation. Nothing at all.

Real ads from real girls' magazines, online and paper

It's not only clothes that are suggestive, but the poses taken by child models.

It's not only clothes that are suggestive, but the poses taken by child models.

Portion of an ad -- this girl is twelve -- hard to believe? And she is walking around with PINK plastered across her butt -- with all its demeaning double-entendre.

Portion of an ad -- this girl is twelve -- hard to believe? And she is walking around with PINK plastered across her butt -- with all its demeaning double-entendre.

Yes, this looks like real-life. All girls want to dress like this. (And be that thin.)

Yes, this looks like real-life. All girls want to dress like this. (And be that thin.)

Another true-to-life ensemble for real girls.

Another true-to-life ensemble for real girls.

Story Number Three: Rachel Says "Don't buy that."

Rachel, age 12, recently posted an article on New Moon Girls, a website for girls in the age group of eleven to fourteen (I estimate) protesting the clothes marketed to girls and how they are marketed.Writes Rachel:

“When you walk into the girl's section of any store and in America, you see the same thing- stereotypes, negative messages, and false images of girls. Shirts with little pink rhinestones, super-short shorts, skin-tight tank tops, Abercrombie "cute butt sweatpants" and clothes with words and phrases on them like "I know I'm cute", "If You Knew My Mother You Would Understand", and "My Favorite Subject is You." The most sickening thing about all this, is these clothes are not only found in the junior's section but are sold to children as young as three. Three year olds can be spotted sporting shorts that say, "Little Girl; Big Attitude", "Princess- It's not just a name, it's a life style.”

Most girls feel pressured to dress a certain way, or act a certain way, just because they think it's "cool". If they want to be popular, girls think they have to act inappropriately, or wear clothes, that send bad messages.”

I couldn’t agree more. But my old lady opinion doesn’t count for anything – though I feel the same way about women’s clothing, especially shoes (practical comfort, please.) What I found most interesting were some of the comments made by readers.

"The thing that scares me the most is that how 'sexy' girl's clothing is has been rising constantly for decades now. I honestly feel that there is something to be said for pioneer dresses, or at least articles of clothing that do not show large amounts of stomach and cleavage." – Molly, 12

"I once saw a T-shirt at the mall that said, "Who needs brains when you've got these?" I mean, how sexist is that? Also, all the shirts you see at K-mart that has things like "Texting is my Life" written on them. I just can't see the point!" – Piano Girl, 13

"I don't like it when you wear clothing that doesn't fit in or isn't in style(and you get made fun of)."— Bailey, 12

" ... Girls these days are walking advertisements. We have the names of companies written all over our clothes!" – Sophia, 10

"Most things in girl's clothing today are very revealing. Young girls' shorts today are very, well, short. Also, shirts and tops for girls are low cut, and I just don't find it too attractive..." - Guinevere, 13

"What scares me most is that a lot of it is see-through and revealing. How scary is that, that girls feel pretty by showing off too much?" - Jen, 11

"Stop inappropriate clothes from taking over and choking out good normal clothes that are comfy and practical!" -- Shashai, 11

Rachel recommends girls read the book, Packaging Girlhood, by Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown. There girls will learn how: "Marketers do a lot of research to know how to get our attention and make us worry about all the ways we aren't quite good enough. They hope to make girls feel anxious about not being cool, sexy or popular enough, because an anxious girl is more likely to buy anything that promises results. Their promises are hollow, of course, because no product can change your life, or make people like you.”

Finally, she exhorts girls everywhere:

“So, girls, rise up! Together, we can all create a positive image for girls and women everywhere! Feel good about standing up and saying, with confidence, "I'm NOT buying THAT!"

Honestly, aren't all of you, like me, blown away by the sense these girls portray?

Okay, "Girls Rule" what are your feelings about Rachel's post, and the comments made by other girls around the nation?

"We talked about this and our first feeling was one of relief, so glad to find out other girls feel the same way. Most of the clothes pushed on us are ridiculous, and we don't like them. And the magazines!!!! Where do they think we live? The clothes in them are so stupid and we would never dress like that for any reason. We go to school and thankfully, in our school we wear uniforms. We feel sorry for girls that don't, really sorry. Nowhere in life would either of us have a need for outfits like that, and when we do get dressed up, we don't want to show our bellies and our chests, or our legs all the way up to you know what. We want clothes that cover us. So, Rachel's post was great, and we both agree with her one hundred percent."

What are your thoughts on the quotes from the book Packaging Girlhood, and the marketing concepts Rachel describes?

"The idea that the marketers deliberately make girls feel bad about themselves, about how they look, about their size, their sex appeal and all that, just to make them buy stuff that won't help. More like they would feel worse. Because did you notice, all the clothes and the pictures of girls are really thin and really gorgeous. We're not thin. And maybe we're cute but not gorgeous. How often do you see natural looking girls in magazines?"

Did you like the website,' New Moon Girls', and if so, what did you like about it?

"Yes, we like it. It's so sensible. It's cool that so many girls from so many places can come together and discuss things like how we feel about the stupid clothes we feel we have to wear. Once you realize that other girls are the same, it becomes much easier to be comfortable with yourself. So New Moon Girls is a good place for girls to go and talk about things -- all kinds of things."

Why did you pick this particular story?

"Is there any girl out there who hasn't felt weirded out by how the world portray us? We're too young for this and too old for that. On the one hand, the world gets mad at a girl actress who wants to play a role that shows a real girl in real trouble, and then, on the other, turns around and wants us to dress like pole dancers. Yes Mom, we know what that is, too. We're surrounded by sex every day, and in every way, and we're not supposed to think about it, act on it or talk about it, but we can dress as though we're selling it.Rachel's post and the comments from all the other girls were just what we needed to hear. We're not alone in being mixed up by all this."

No, they are certainly not alone. I don't have the heart to tell them that their confusion is shared not only by other girls, but by women of all ages

"Girls Rule" ages 12 and 13 (barely)

"Girls Rule" ages 12 and 13 (barely)

Thanks "Girls Rule" for educating us.

I'd like to thank "Girls Rule" and their mothers who supported every minute of this interview. Thanks girls, all of you.

I hope you'll drop by the article that started this, The Truth about Twelve-Year-Old Girls on my blog, Sincerely Yours, Lynda, for a further look at the world-wide reality for our girls.

I asked "Girls Rule" if they had anything else to say. Of course, they did.

"Thank you, Lynda, for allowing us to share our thoughts with the world. It's not easy, when you're twelve or thirteen, to get others to listen to you. We really enjoyed getting to know you and sharing our thoughts with you. It has been a wonderful experience."

For me, even more I think.

I asked the Mothers if they wanted to comment.

"Thank you very much for allowing our daughters an opportunity to express themselves in an adult forum. Not only was it a growth experience for them, it was for us as well. This exercise has brought us closer to our daughters, and allowed us to know them better. Some of this knowledge has come as a surprise, I admit. It woke us up to the fact our little girls are growing up and faster than we thought, and perhaps in ways we'd rather they didn't, But that fear is helped now we've learn how sensible they can be. I hope this helps more mothers and daughters become closer."

And my thanks to all you readers as well.

Lynda M. Martin

"The difference between a smart person and a wise person is that a smart person knows what to say and a wise person knows whether or not to say it." -- Quote found on the wall of a recreation center office in Berkeley, California and later attributed to Olivia, a twelve year old girl, a poet and a junior journalist who writes for several young adult online magazines. (2/12/02).

And now, on behalf of the 50 million girls who live in poverty in the midst of wealth, I've added a video clip.

Hope you like it.

Are we living in a third world nation? asked hubber liambean who pointed me to this video

No liambean, it is not a third world country, though that difference is moot if you're impoverished and American. But then, they are not your daughters -- so why worry about it? Taking care of others might be socialism, and we can't have that! And the country's too bankrupt from waging two wars, and paying other countries not to pollute, to do anything for the poor at home, don't you know? Besides, this is the USofA, and if they live in poverty, it must be their own fault. All men are created equal after all, and here in the land of the free, if you can't make it, it's because you're lazy, or made really bad life decisions and you're not worthy of help.... The government will, though, send billions to some backwater hellhole to buy the questionable loyalty of those that couldn't be a threat if they tried. The population at home is best cared for by private charity -- oh, they're not? Yeah, I know times are tough.  But who cares anyway? It's only a bunch of girls.


Jason B Truth from United States of America on December 21, 2016:

Immartin? I know I am getting on board with this discussion kind of late. Anyhow, I must say that you have the talents of a true investigative reporter. I liked your article above. However, one thing that I did find a little bit off was the YouTube video that talked about poverty causing girls to get married at 14 years old and become pregnant at 15 years old. Rachel Miner was only 17 years old when she married then-17-year-old Macauley Culkin back in 1998, and she and Macauley Culkin were both financially well off from their respective careers as entertainers. Then again, they had a clown car marriage that lasted for only 2 years (legally for 4 years). Therefore, I can still appreciate any point that the YouTube video might have been trying to make about girls needing to be cautious about entering into marriage before age 18. In any event, the quality of your article made it obvious that you worked your butt off to put it together. I give you an "A" for originality and skill.

The Lion Queen on April 15, 2011:

Lots of things spoke to me about the book. Perhaps I should tone this review down a little! I'll write a review there.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on April 15, 2011:

Thank you ahostagesituation for this wonderful review of the novel. So glad you enjoyed it. Content that it spoke to you. Now, if you would cut and paste this comment onto the Amazon page for the book as a reader review, you would make me very happy. Here's the link to make it easier for you: Thank you so much. Lynda

The Lion Queen on April 14, 2011:

Wonderful job on your book, Linda. The chapter, "Jesus loves the little Children" made me want to kick windows in. Bria is a strong, brave, beautiful character, and I related to her as an adult. The teachers finding Bria to be a girl with a disturbing view of the world and prone to passions...gosh if I had a nickel for every time I heard something like that about myself. Just to weigh in on the, "should a twelve year old girl be allowed to read it?" argument, in my opinion, absolutely. I was by all counts a sheltered kid, but my parents would certainly not have minded if I read this. (and if they had...all the more reason for me to sneak and read it). The book is disturbing in all the ways it should be, and still hopeful and interesting.

I fight like hell, and I walked away from the book still shaken by the amount of kids without someone to fight for them in their lives. Years ago my family and I went to China, and the joke was that they all wanted to leave me behind because if they were jailed in Communist prison while there, I would get them out. But even for us fighter types, the numbers are extremely disheartening. Bria's mother made me nuts, and her character rang so true of so many parent wannabes who are so sure they want a shiny new baby to love, but are in reality too lazy to do the role any justice. If you can't hang, you shouldn't breed.

When "Prostitute Appreciation Day" becomes a thing...tell me immediately. I'm IN!!!

So, I finished your book, and I was pensive, happy, and pissed. In other words, I feel like my normal self. After a stretch of numbness, it feels great. Thanks, and happy writing!!

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on March 30, 2011:

Glad you enjoyed the hub lmorrow89. Thanks for commenting here. (And remember, 21 is 12 reversed.... Not that it means anything.)

lmorrow89 on March 30, 2011:

Very nice hub, I enjoyed reading it. It really opened my eyes as a 21 year old to look for books to read to help educate younger females.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on November 13, 2010:

Of course you do. And you should. But I'll bet they're more savvy than you suspect. Thanks for commenting here. Lynda

tmbridgeland from Small Town, Illinois on November 13, 2010:

My girls are right in this age range. They seem to be taking it pretty well, but of course I have worries.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on November 09, 2010:

Thanks Sachin.

Sachin on November 08, 2010:

This should be shared with all the mothers...great job

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on November 07, 2010:

Thank you secularist10. Your thoughtful comment is appreciated. You make very good points. Thanks again. Lynda

secularist10 from New York City on November 07, 2010:

Terrific hub. These are the money quotes, for me:

"It's maybe more wrong for the boys to send the pictures all over than it is for you to send it to him in the first place. Just plain wrong, but the world only comes down on the girl. Do you notice that?"

And this:

"On the one hand, the world gets mad at a girl actress who wants to play a role that shows a real girl in real trouble, and then, on the other, turns around and wants us to dress like pole dancers. Yes Mom, we know what that is, too."

American culture is heavily saturated with hypocrisy on the issue of sex. It was that hypocrisy that killed Hope Witsell. The behavior on the part of the moralizing adults in that school was positively sickening.

Immartin, you make a great point that the culture just can't seem to come to grips with the intelligence and competence of girls this age. In clumsily seeking to maintain their pristine "innocence" society winds up hurting them. As a result, it also fails to educate them in a healthy, dignified sexuality as they develop. To say nothing of the boys.

On clothing, there are certainly some strange and troubling developments. But as others have said, it goes back to the parents who are buying or funding the purchase of these clothes. So much of these problems come down to the abdication of parental responsibility.

Again, great article.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on November 06, 2010:

Thank you UlrikeGrace. True, I was nowhere near as informed and thoughtful at twelve. I remember having a conversation with my granddaughter a few years back when she was at this tender age, and was somewhat astonished at how much she knew about sex, about life, about people. The only time my twelve-year-old nose came of books was to ride horses! Thanks for commenting. Lynda

UlrikeGrace from Canada on November 06, 2010:

what courage! Bravo girls...I wish I could have seen something like this when I was 12, I might have made some different choices. Thank you Lynda for posting this here and on your blog...these girls are vulnerable no matter how much they learn and pick up on their own today...adults are hard enough to handle for adults never mind someone who is 12! Blessings to you...

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on November 05, 2010:

Thank you Ingenira. These girls were amazing! Lynda

Ingenira on November 04, 2010:

Simply awesome !!! A million thumbs up !

I will share with my group of mother friends.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 31, 2010:

Hi gr82bme -- not here to fight with you, not at all. My kids didn't have them either, and I still don't. What is this word "should'? The world is as it is, not as we want it to be. A sad truth. "Should" means nothing. It is better to face what is happening than to rail against it. Thanks for commenting. Lynda

You're right Dee. Of course, we'd all prefer that 12 year old girls not be thinking of sex and such, but then we live in a society that sexualizes girls and childhood. When we read the sad facts that 30% of rapes happen to victims of 11,12,13, perhaps it's a good thing they carry those cell phones and can dial 911. Sad. At least we got to be kids at that age. I

Dee aka Nonna on October 31, 2010:

gr82bme is right... they should not be thinking of doing that "kind of thing yet" but they are. We did stupid and very silly things "for the times" when we were young. This is 2010 and these kids are light years ahead of where we were at that age. Doesn't make it right..but it is what it is. Parent do need to try everything in their power to help them make decision that won't hurt glad I'm not raising one now. I pray for my son and daughter-in-law. So far they are doing OK.

gr82bme from USA on October 31, 2010:

She is a 12 year old. She should not even be thinking of doing that kind of thing yet! My kids did not have cell phones and they all survived

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 31, 2010:

Hi again Dee. I will let you know ASAP

Hi gr82bme There are some very valid reasons for kids to have cell phones -- keep in touch with home, in case of emergency, so parents can get hold of them. Most kids do have one, and many much younger than twelve. Why would a girl send a picture of her breasts to a boy? For all the obvious but wrong reasons, I guess. Didn't you do stupid things to be accepted when you were young? I did. No nude pictures though, but we didn't have cell phones -- only polaroid cameras.... Lynda

Dee aka Nonna on October 31, 2010:

Yes, I would rather have the signed copy, but until I went to the website I didn't know about this or about the release date. I am anxiously awaiting...

gr82bme from USA on October 31, 2010:

Parents buy the clothes. They can pick them out too. I have 3 daughters and never let them dress the way girls do today.

Why in the world would a 12 send a nude photo of herself.12 year olds should not even have cell phones.We did without them before they came along

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 31, 2010:

Thanks Dee. The reason you didn't find it is because it's not released until January 27. It will probably be in kindle form a month or two after that, but wouldn't you really rather have a signed author copy... Lynda

Dee aka Nonna on October 31, 2010:

Immartin, I just sign up to get notification get the book The Bird Flew Away. I first went to Amazon (I was going to download to my Kindle),but I didn't find it so I came back to the article and click on the book's title and it took me to your website. What I read left me wanting to read more. Kids issues, especially girls, are very close to my heart. Thanks again.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 31, 2010:

Thank you Dee AKA Nonna (I am Lynda AKA Nana) I was so impressed with these girls and the stories they chose, I can't tell you. Sounds like your grandaughter is off to a good start. Thanks for commenting. Lynda

Dee aka Nonna on October 31, 2010:

I was riveted by this article. For close to 40 years I worked with children and youth, mostly girls, trying to deliver a message of self worth. I have always hated the way stores, magazines, etc marketed to kids. I never allowed my kids to wear negative messages--they were always stylish without looking like every other kid in many cases they were admired for it. Girls today have both an inward and outward struggle just trying to fit in. I see my son and daughter-in-law trying to deal with this with their 7 year old daughter. They both understand the dangers of the negative messages that children wear and the too-short-too-tight clothes that are marketed for them and they have come up with a plan that works for them and she is perfectly OK with her daddy before her she is often praised and admired for her choice in clothes and I see some of the other kids trying to dress like her. But, as long as there are parents who are willing to purchase and dress their children in some of these items and as long as their are parents who think it is cute and lay down money we will have this problem. As long as we have adults who scream about the wrong issues we will have these problems. As long as we have parents whose heads are buried in the sand we will have these problems.

I loved your hub immartin and am so happy you address this issue and had both the "guts" and "common sense" to allow girls to have a say. I will definitly look for your books.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 31, 2010:

Coming out? I came out as anything I was going to come out as many years ago. Sorry, don't understand what you're getting at. Lynda

Coming Out? on October 31, 2010:

I have a feeling that you are coming out as something. I'm just not sure what...

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 30, 2010:

Thank you Duchess. You make me blush, but all the same, I will agree more of us need to look at life as it really is. The girls interviewed here did not start the website; that was the brain child of Rachel (who wrote the article on girls clothing) and her mother. Apparently it has caught on big time with girls from all around the world. Thanks again, Duchess. See ya. Lynda

Duchess OBlunt on October 30, 2010:

As always Lynda, I am impressed. Your writing ability has always been exceptional, but this piece is absolutely brilliant. Your down to earth, honest approach to life as it IS, not as we want it to be shines through very loud and clear. There are so many mothers out there who should be reading this. Passing it on!

And Kudos to the girls for such a great website idea.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 29, 2010:

Thanks Tami. Glad you liked it. Lynda

Tami on October 29, 2010:

I was looking at the - was this hub...? useful, funny, awesome, or beautiful. To be honest I don't think words could really describe all the emotions evoked from reading this hub. Great job Lynda!! You are a very talented and thought provoking woman. Also, to the obviously very special girls of "girls rule", inspiring is what comes to mind. Thank you

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 28, 2010:

Thank you Quill, and you have my permission to send this to anyone you wish. An honor. Lynda

"Quill" on October 28, 2010:

Excellent hub and one I have bookmarked and will forward with your permission to some friends. We have certainly lost our way in many areas of life and the greatest downfall I see is the lack of good solid teaching, fundamental values are missing far too often.

Thank you Sister for reaching out in this way, what you write will imprint on many.

Blessings and Hugs

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 28, 2010:

How true, Nan. I thought the twelve-year-old Dakota did a fabulous job of the role, and I would take a daughter or granddaughter to see it. Consider the how the world tries to treat girls as 'innocent babies' on the one hand and then encourages them to see themselves as 'hot stuff' the next. What a mess! Thanks for coming by. Lynda

Nan on October 28, 2010:

I wish that more pre-teens and early teens could read the story and see the movie. Your review is excellent and shows the readers how life really was in those days in the south. It is amazing how we view rape and what situations that girls get themselves into for some kind of gain!

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 28, 2010:

Hi jcales -- I respect your decision not to allow your daughter to see the film, however, if you noted the statistics I recounted above, this is information the girls truly need. I did not find the scene 'too edgy.' In fact, after all those years of dealing with raped girls, I think it's about time the truth was put out there. I don't see it does any good to pretend the problem doesn't exist. Sticking head in the sand never saved a single ostrich. Thanks for commenting, and your children are lucky you are so concerned for them. Trouble is, you can't protect them always.

Hi Eileen. So glad you came by to read the article. I was fourteen in the sixties and nowhere near as knowledgeable as these girls when I was raped. Had I been given more understanding of the world, the event might have been avoided. I don't think we need to put ruffles on bows on our girls -- most of them eschew the 'girlie' stuff, but at least allow them to cover themselves and not with slogans and labels. Thanks again for commenting. Lynda

SunnyJay (Eileen) on October 28, 2010:

Good afternoon Lynda, how are you doing today ?

I read the articles from the link you sent me.

You asked me to leave a comment after I read it.

First, I have one son and two daughters.

I taught them to be a where of their surrounding always, even my six year old daughter.

I was told by a friend I was putting fear into my girls. I was raped in my teens in the fifties!

Why would I not warn my girls about these things in the seventies.

I did not talk to them about saying NO to family members,

I should have.

I believe children need to be talked to and taught about everything these days, but done in the home and with a great deal of tack and sensitivity.

Second, I've been complaining about the clothing that's being designed for young girls for years now!

I have two teenage granddaughters and am constantly talking to my daughter about what she buys them.

I often asked...where are the pretty little girls ruffles and bow's dresses, and I'd get, "Oh Mom, those days have been long gone." I would say,tough,learn to sew.

I think the work your doing is way past due, I'm happy you've taken this task on.

Thank you for giving me the link.

jcales on October 28, 2010:

They certainly have matured more in comparison to boys in their age group. I never knew such a scene was in hound dog. I won't let my daughter see that movie for quite some time. I just think films are getting too edgy as well as TV with the violent scenes. I guess the reason is, "it sells". Parents groups need to speak up more.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 28, 2010:

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Peg. Isn't it telling that these girls have already rejected the designers' plans for them. How old were we before we got smart enough for that? I remember walking to school in Medicine Hat, Alberta, in January, at minus twenty degree wearing a miniskirt and stockings with a garter belt -- yes, I'm so old, I'm pre-panty hose. Of course, I speak for myself. You were probably much smarter than me. Lynda

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on October 28, 2010:

Thanks for posting the perspectives of the 12 year old girl/woman. That's always been such a time of confusion- not quite yet a teen but painfully aware of the changes, physically and mentally between childhood and becoming a woman. You've opened our eyes to the new moon girls and their incredible perception.

I'm with Martie about the clothes. It's disturbing to see a little child wearing a shirt that says "Future Sex Goddess" or something similar to it. That tells a lot about the parents who buy this stuff and support the fashion designers that dream this stuff up and try to convince our kids it's cool.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 28, 2010:

Thank you E. Nicolson. When my daughters were 12 o 13 (they are only one year apart,) we had foster daughters living with us, girls who had been exploited, on the street at 10 and so on. My girls were safe, but never innocent... I though that a good thing. Thanks for commenting. Lynda

E. Nicolson on October 28, 2010:

As usual a wonderful Hub. In fact it's information I wish I had had when my daughter was 12.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 27, 2010:

Hi fetty,

These girls blew me away with their good common sense, but it is not the kind of thing adults think should be important to them. It isn't that they want to keep their innocent girlhood (that's already gone), but that they just plain don't like what the world is pushing on them. They are more feminist then some of the thirty-year-old women. They honestly find such clothing as beneath their dignity. How refreshing. Thanks for commenting.

Hi Martie,

I am cautious about making such across the board statements as "twelve-year-old girls are this or that..." Some are able to cope, others are not. In my experience over the years, I have been surprised many times by what girls of this age are indeed capable of. As far as not being aware of consequences, this too varies from girl to girl. And this may be held true of some much older than twelve. No, dear friend, there is no universality to this age. Their emotional and intellectual development can be as varied as their physical development. Some girls have menarche at nine or ten, others not until fifteen. Same with other development. But then, you see I know you are describing yourself at that age... Bless you and thanks for commenting. Your support is very much appreciated. Lynda

Hi Nell Rose:

In your innocence? Yes, please do take a look at my book's website. You can read a couple of excerpts there and register for a signed copy.

About innocence: a young woman, one of those more woman than girl by fourteen types, once said to me, "What is the big deal about innocence? You guys always say things like he stole her innocence. Or we must protect the innocence of children. Innocence is only important to those who don't have any. Innocence is just a form of ignorance." And I think she had a point.

As adults we tend to glorify youth and innocence. It isn't innocence these girls want to protect, it's their physical safety!

Thanks for commenting here. Much appreciated. Lynda

Nell Rose from England on October 27, 2010:

Hi, I just came back to say, in my innocence I didn't realise that you were an Author! you're books look really interesting, I will definitely go and take a look, thanks nell

Nell Rose from England on October 27, 2010:

Hi, wonderful hub, I remember being twelve and feeling very young, but I also had friends who were so much 'older' than me. Unless parents do talk to their children they will never know exactly what is going on in their heads, or questions they want to ask. innocence should be protected, whether it be clothes or attitude. Rated up, cheers nell

Martie Coetser from South Africa on October 27, 2010:

Lynda, what shall I say? We heard it out of their mouths. Mentally 12-year olds are not innocent. They know what is risky and what not. BUT, emotionally they are not able to cope with ‘risky’ realities. They have no clue what the consequences will be of one single (wrong) decision. But who has, at any stage of his/her life, of something not yet personally experienced?

My heart went out to that girl who committed suicide. If I was not a fighter, I would have done the same. Thank you so much for all the energy and time you put into this. I really do hope you open many eyes.

What angers me: Who design those clothes? Who present it as so-called fashion? Who pay those models to pose like that? Adults! While they should protect the young and innocent... Here I go again!

Thanks, Linda! I do hope you manage to move this mountain called Ignorant Adults. I’m considering a hub about my thoughts at that time. What did I think when I was 12. How did I interpret reality? What thoughts encouraged me to keep on living?

SilverGenes on October 27, 2010:

Thank you for a terrific hub and one I wish had been around 10 years ago when my daughter was in this age group. The clothing issue has been around a long time. I remember asking Sears if they could possibly stock some clothing for children (my daughter was then 8) that did not involve pleather minishirts and fishnet and was told in no uncertain terms that this is what sells. We had to shop in another country. We are a very sick society in many ways. I'm so glad young girls are now speaking out.

fetty from South Jersey on October 27, 2010:

As a society we have desperately lost our way. The 'Girls Rule' young writers truly live with common sense and show a lot of self respect. Your hub is a much needed wake up call for all of us to take the blinders off; so that we see the ongoing harm of following the designers who today sex up everything to sell it. Poverty always hurts everyone in a society and we are on the brink of that destructive force becoming a tidal wave if our economy does not pick up soon. Great, caring hub. The video beautifully shows the innocence and vulnerability of both the brother and sister . Thank you for caring so much, Lynda.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 26, 2010:

Thanks respencer. Glad you like it. This was a special project and a wonderful one to work on.

Hi Hello, Yes. I got your email and thanks for caring about me. Glad you liked the hub. I checked out the register on my website, and it seems to be working fine, so I don't know what is wrong. I'll look into it. Thanks.

Hi Tatiana-Mihaela. Thanks so much for the compliment, though most should go to Girls Rule. They did a great job on picking important stories and their opinions are so down to earth. I truly enjoyed working with them. Sorry to hear things aren't any better in your land... I was hoping. Lynda

Thank you K9. Yes, we should all feel shame for what our girls endure. Thanks for your comment. Lynda

India Arnold from Northern, California on October 26, 2010:

Our young girls have been captured and brainwashed into a harvest of sexual abandon. Shame should be the name of the market, and the feelings of those who exploit the safety and virginity of our youth.

You do good work here.


Tatjana-Mihaela from Zadar, CROATIA on October 26, 2010:

Your Hub is masterpiece.

I cannot describe how deeply I am touched, especially because you let this fantastic duo "Girls Rule" to speak openly about problems girls face in this age.

I am so happy I am 44, not 12 any more...and feel sorry for every young girl who needs to face sexual cruelty of this world on one way or another.

Warm regards from another part of planet, were things are, unfortunately, not different. We have here the same magazines (translated) as you and girls were the same clothes with the same stupid sexist´s messages. Globalization did it`s dirty ?nd cruel job perfectly.

BTW, Dakota is perfect actor, and there is nothing controversial in scene of raping, on the contrary, it is highly educative.

Thank you.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on October 26, 2010:

I can't belief it -- I just send you an email stating that I don't hear or see anything of you, meaning hubpages, switching over to my email and there you are. I was biting my nails and didn't want to pester you because I know you must be busy with your book. At the end I had to send it. It happens to me so often. I can't belief it.

I am so glad I heard from you.

I put my name down twice for winnning a signed book and every time it cut out.

Coming back to your hub. As always it is perfectly written and the thoughts right through are incredible. You are a real professional. That movement 'Girls' rules' is a very good one because that is when it starts. I thought only in England they dress like that.

Dakota is a fantastic actress and the film is very well produced.

I am glad I heard from you.

I put my name down two times on different occasion, to win a signed book only to go round the stores to show it, and every time it cuts out. I am not complaining but I thought you should know, maybe it does it to others and it won't help in advertising.

Ronnie Sowell from South Carolina on October 26, 2010:

Awesome hub. I am sending it to my daughters-in-law.

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