There is a way to prevent so many teenage girls being depressed – but no one wants to admit it


Powerfully written piece by Glosswitch in The Independent’s VOICES column…

Nothing at all to add about the piece, since there is nothing I could possibly add.

I though add how some respond to such truth-speaking: if you venture into the below-the-line comments then you will find much evidence of how what Glosswitch says about the every-day injurious, casually-traumatising,  dystrumpian world we create for all our young – but especially young women – to grow in is, sadly so very real; and also much evidence of how desperately these people too need room to grow and become aware of whatever dark shit lurks inside and us so we can each play our role in creating a bigger space in which to grow.

 

Glosswitch:

“Being a teenage girl is hard, by which I don’t mean your hormones render you an irrational, weeping mess. I mean the world can start to crush you, just at the point when you’re trying to grow. What’s more, it’s a problem that seems to be getting worse.”

“The history of mental health is littered with shameful tales of female madness being misdiagnosed in order to control outspoken women, while genuine symptoms of mental breakdown have been taken seriously only if and when they present in men. “

“If the past is another country, female adolescence is a war zone. Puberty transforms you into a walking target overnight. If you’re lucky, other girls get there before you and become your shields.”

“Girls need support in getting through this. They need coping methods. But they also need a different society, one which permits them to take up space, to express their fears and passions rather than internalise them.”

“Teenage girls are not weak. They’re on their way to becoming full-grown women in a world that still treats them as inferior, despite demanding more of their bodies and minds than ever.”

“Being shunted into the space between childhood and womanhood, between having a flat-chested, gender neutral, rough-and-tumble body and one which is seen as fit only for objectification or impregnation, can be hugely traumatising. “

“Millions of girls are not born unhappy.
…it’s time we gave all young women the room they need to grow.”

VOICES: Glosswitch
The Independent 
20th Sep,2017

There is a way to prevent so many teenage girls being depressed – but no one wants to admit it

Pity the girl who’s wearing a bra before she leaves primary school; already she’s ventured over the top, into a no man’s land of groping, cat calls and adult disapproval

Photo: One in four teenage girls is depressed, a new report says – compared to one in 10 boys. Rex 

 

 

 

 

Being a teenage girl is hard, by which I don’t mean your hormones render you an irrational, weeping mess. I mean the world can start to crush you, just at the point when you’re trying to grow. What’s more, it’s a problem that seems to be getting worse.

There will of course be the usual excuses. Perhaps it’s all down to greater openness surrounding mental health issues. Or maybe it’s a symptom of what one might vaguely term “modern life”. Either way, neither of these things explain the growing gap between the mental health of teenage boys and girls (10 per cent of 14-year-old boys report experiencing depression, with parents overestimating symptoms in boys and underestimating them in girls).

If, as we’re so often told, we’re moving towards a more equal, gender-neutral society, why is it that girls are suffering so much? The sexist might argue that this is proof that equality does not make women happy. The feminist, on the other hand, might point out that this shows we don’t yet have equality at all.

If girls say they are depressed, we owe it to them to listen. Furthermore, we can no longer afford to ignore the effect of a highly gendered culture on the mental wellbeing of girls. If we’re able to draw links between masculinity and high suicide rates in men, we can surely do the same with femininity and female despair.

If the past is another country, female adolescence is a war zone. Puberty transforms you into a walking target overnight. If you’re lucky, other girls get there before you and become your shields. Pity the girl who’s wearing a bra before she leaves primary school; already she’s ventured over the top, into a no man’s land of groping, cat calls and adult disapproval.

Girls need support in getting through this. They need coping methods. But they also need a different society, one which permits them to take up space, to express their fears and passions rather than internalise them. It should not be the role of mental health services to patch girls up and arm them to face another onslaught of patriarchal slings and arrows. There has to be a ceasefire. Girls shouldn’t have to be so brave.

Teenage girls are not weak. They’re on their way to becoming full-grown women in a world that still treats them as inferior, despite demanding more of their bodies and minds than ever. It’s heartbreaking that so many of them can’t see a way through to the other side. We can tell them it gets better, and it does, but it’s simply not fair to ask them to wait.

Being shunted into the space between childhood and womanhood, between having a flat-chested, gender neutral, rough-and-tumble body and one which is seen as fit only for objectification or impregnation, can be hugely traumatising. Thirty years ago I responded by starving myself into a prolonged state of pre-pubescence. Today, when pornified images of young female bodies are more freely available than ever, I might have responded by cutting, binding my breasts or reinventing myself as a disembodied other online.

The opportunities for expressing female self-hatred are always expanding, even as other spaces for self-expression shrink. And yet, it’s not an inevitable development: some unavoidable symptom of living in the smartphone age.

Millions of girls are not born unhappy. Depression and mental illness can be coping mechanisms when all else fails. There’s no simple cure for despair, but it’s time we gave all young women the room they need to grow.

Original:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/mental-health-teenage-girls-quarter-rise-patriarchy-sexism-abuse-a7957441.html

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