The headline from a recent article in the Nouvel Observateur read: “Where have the little girls gone?”. It seems that the transition to adolescence is occurring at a younger and younger age. It’s a trend that worries child psychiatrists who are convinced of the importance of the Freudian “latency stage”, the protected haven that constitutes childhood.
Biologically, young girls are becoming women quicker than in the past: although the age of getting their first period hasn’t changed much for half a century (12.5 years on average), mammary glands are appearing earlier. Between 10% and 25% of young girls show signs of puberty from the age of 7 onwards, which was extremely rare a few decades ago.
The cause? A diet that’s more varied and richer than a century ago: little girls have all the nutrients necessary to grow up fast and excess weight which is more and more common) favours a high level of oestrogen, the hormone responsible for puberty. Pesticides and other chemical elements are also accused of accelerating the puberty process.
A study of American mums, led by CafeMom, looked into their relationships with their husbands. The result? While mums are satisfied with their partners overall, they miss the frequency with which they had sex before the arrival of children…
The first result from the study: 80% of mothers are very satisfied with their partners. The subjects that cause arguments are rare and isolated (e.g. disagreement over how to reprimand a child because of a poor school report, temporary financial problems, etc.). Only 12% wouldn’t set up home with their partner if they were to do it all again, and 8% retrospectively claim that they would have preferred to have lived alone… but without giving up having children: only 1% of mums say they preferred the life they had before becoming a mum!
The Martin Agency, based in Virginia, has launched a think tank by and for moms, The Mom Complex.
The guiding principle behind their latest work is the idea that mothers are socially pressured and expected to be ‘perfect,’ while this is hardly the day-to-day reality for most women. For example, take food commercials with impossibly glittering food made in no time, or washing detergent commercials that feature smiling, happy mothers and only the brightest white clothes.
The fantasy world typically created by marketers doesn’t respond to women’s needs or wants—and according to the Mom Complex, 75% of women agree. The think tank’s continuing work is geared towards better understanding what moms actually do want, with focus groups and studies coming out regularly.