Illustration for article titled Tweenage Wasteland

Girl Guides (the UK name of Girl Scouts) has released a report called A Generation Under Stress. The study was complied from an online survey of 350 girls and eight focus groups, and some of the results are startling: Many of the 10-14 year olds think that self-harm (cutting) is "normal" behavior for teenagers; 42% know someone who's harmed themselves. 32% know someone with an eating disorder, 50% know someone who suffers from depression, and 40% of the girls say they feel worse about themselves after looking at pictures of glamorous models, pop stars or actresses. (One said: "When I was eleven I read a teen magazine for the first time and that is when it kind of clicked — 'I should be like this.'") 74 % of the girls feel "worried," and 19% have negative thoughts about themselves. The question to consider: What kind of adults do stressed-out, self-harming children become? [Guardian, Daily Mail, Telegraph, BBC]

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DISCUSSION

I think my total obliviousness really did help me as I grew up. People always thought my... interesting fashion choices and loud girl behavior was me being "bold" and "brave". But I feel like one can only be brave in the face of a perceived danger. It NEVER OCCURED to me that I could be viewed as a total weirdo. Mystically, I WASN'T viewed as such... at least I don't think I was.

So I guess I wish my obliviousness on all teenagers everywhere.