The below article caught my attention. I have pasted some of the more interesting portions or the article below, but you can read the full article (here).
August 13, 2010 Chicago Tribune on-line by Meghan Daum
Are girls growing up too fast? And will the trend toward precocious sexual development be the final nail in the coffin of male domination?...
...Or so it may seem to an ordinary 8-year-old boy, who may view these girls not only in the way boys traditionally have — as bossy, slightly alien carriers of cooties — but as something even more terrifying: women. Or at least women-in-the-making.
In case you didn't know, the culture has found itself in the throes of a terrible scourge: the "masculinity crisis." Perhaps first identified a decade ago in Susan Faludi's book, "Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man," and since then reinforced by writers such as David Brooks and Christina Hoff Sommers (who identified a sub-scourge she calls the war on boys), this "crisis" stems largely from changes brought on by the global economy. In the post-Industrial Age, traditionally male skills like operating heavy machinery have been all but usurped by traditionally female skills like communicating; hence, more men have lost jobs in the current recession. In a recent Atlantic magazine article called "The End of Men," Hanna Rosin noted that women now earn 60 percent of all bachelor's and master's degrees. There's even evidence, Rosin wrote, that U.S. couples seeking sex selection for their children show a preference for girls.
Will that change when would-be parents realize they might be contending with an unwieldy mix of hormones before their princess has grown out of "My Little Pony"? Probably not. It's probably also a stretch to draw too close a connection between premature sexual development in girls and what some people (generally using Judd Apatow movies as Exhibit A) maintain is an epidemic of arrested development in boys and men. After all, girls have always matured faster than boys, and until very recently, males were able to catch up quite nicely.
But as we go about the essential business of dealing with this situation for girls, and how to stop it, perhaps it's worth extending some sympathy toward boys. In a world in which it's already so easy to feel diminished by the achievements of girls, this widening gulf in physical maturity just might have the effect of kicking them while they're down.
Alvy Singer would sympathize.
Los Angeles Times
Meghan Daum is an essayist and novelist in Los Angeles.
I think there a few aspects being discussed within Ms. Daum's article. I appreciate her discussion of looking at this research on the sexual and physical development of girls and not only how it may affect young girls but also their male peers. Let me first say to my Lesbian sisters this post is important to me because I do believe as woman we need to understand not only each other, and to quote Turtle Woman, the incredible sisterhood we need to continue to build, but also the way in which we teach and include our male peers.
First, the very obvious is what affect will early development have on our young girls. I told Andrew once that when/if we have children I want for them to live in their "child imaginary" worlds for as long as we can protect that time in their lives. My father didn't exactly have the most ideal childhood and because of that felt that it was vital that we (his children) were able to discover everything there was about being kids. He loved, and still does, everything Disney because with it came the magic of being children.
I feel as a society we have asked our children to grow up and be independent. To fit into adult life and take on the complexity of our grown up baggage sooner then children are ready. We have stopped encouraging what it means to be children, to dream, imagine, believe, pretend, and day dream. With all of that said if our young girls are now developing earlier and being thrust into our over sexualized world sooner then they are ready to handle with all of the confusion and maturity that must accompany sex in general, then I ask what are we to do as a society and especially as women? I do not have children and I do not know the appropriate times to have certain discussions, but what I can say from my own experiences is that we need to open the discussion but in the same place I believe as a society we also need to allow children to be children. Young girls will eventually be women sooner then later and will have to face everything that comes with being a woman. How do we talk about her body, expectations, and imagination because according to the article she is only 7 or 8?
Secondly for young men, as women I do believe we must begin to lead by example, teach, challenge, and speak to young men on what it means to be a partner in this life with other women and with each other. We in our fight for equality can not take away what it means to be men and the importance of who God intended for men to be. There needs to be an understanding and encouragement on our parts to uplift this next generation of men to be just as strong as we are asking our your women to also be. Perhaps we have a great opportunity to understand the variances between men and women and truly begin to shape how they work within balance to one another.
Perhaps feminism is not only the fight for equality for women, but eventually a fight for balance as well. A fight to celebrate in what makes us different and how each gender is as significant to this world as the other whether that is within corporations, home, communities, and/or church.