(NY Times) Caitlin Flanagan—Hysteria and the Teenage Girl

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pubescent girls, it seems, are manifestly more likely to exhibit extreme and bizarre psychological symptoms than are teenage boys....

Female adolescence is — universally — an emotionally and psychologically intense period. It is during this time that girls become aware of the emergence of womanhood, with both the great joy and promise that come with it, and also the threat of danger. Much on their minds is their new potential for childbearing, an event that for most of human history has been fraught with physical peril. Furthermore, their emergence as sexual creatures brings with it heady excitement and increased physical vulnerability. They are also sharply aware that soon they will have to leave home forever, and at the very moment when they are most keenly desirous of its comforts and protections.

What girls need during this time is a stable and supportive space in which to work out all of this drama. In many respects a teenage girl’s home is more important to her than at any time since she was a small child. She also needs emotional support and protection from the most corrosive cultural forces that seek to exploit her when she is least able to resist....

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexualityTeens / YouthWomen

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Posted January 29, 2012 at 3:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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