Samantha Turnbull Writer, mother, anti-princess

Boys will be boys

Stop demonising teen girls

You know what I’m sick of hearing? Pretty much everyone in my life demonising teenage girls.

As a mother of one daughter and one son, I’m forever hearing comparative predictions of how my boy will be a handful in his younger years and my girl will be an absolute horror come puberty.

When we, as an entire society, put that blanket assumption and expectation on a generation and gender, surely it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

Or, maybe, just maybe, it isn’t true at all.

I was a troublesome teenager at times… OK, for a solid year or two I was grounded more often than not, mostly due to the fact I had a boyfriend my parents loathed.

But, you know what? He, his friends and most of the boys I knew, were never punished as harshly for the same, or worse, behaviour.

A girl caught with a boy? Harlot.

A girl caught drunk? Skank.

A girl caught sneaking out? Conniving b****.

The boys, the brothers, the boyfriends? Well, that’s just normal, right? Boys will be boys and all that.

Or as one mother friend put it: “Girls can get themselves pregnant.” Newsflash, my friend: No one gets THEMSELVES pregnant.

I was having this very conversation at work the other day and I’m sure my colleagues thought I needed to build a massive bridge and get over the following anecdote:

When I was 15, my parents saw my boyfriend with a love bite on his neck. I wasn’t allowed to leave the house for anything other than school for six weeks.

When my brother was 15, he came home with a love bite and my mother’s response was: “Some tramp has gotten a hold of my baby!”

Yes, 20 years later, I dwell.

Children’s authors are very good at living in the past. I remember my childhood so vividly and draw on those experiences in my stories.

And, I hope, that strength of memory will mean I don’t subject my daughter to the same discrimination when she hits her teens.

As for the rest of the world giving her the benefit of the doubt… I’m, sadly, not confident.


One response to “Stop demonising teen girls”

  1. Jane McGowen says:

    Food for thought Sam….thanks for your insights, much needed commentary, our pre teens and teens need to be supported and understood and our own gender bias reflected upon before we comment, react and parent….

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