In recent years, the transition from girlhood to womanhood has seemed to come faster, and has had everyone from gossip columnists to politicians abuzz. From sexualized kindergarteners on TLC’s “Toddlers and Tiaras” to horrific images and tragic stories of child brides in the news, the sexual maturity of young girls is in the spotlight. A new study out today complicates the issue: girls—at least in America—are hitting puberty earlier and earlier—some as young as seven years old. In the spirit of “protecting girlhood,” there’s been a lot of brouhaha over naming the culprit of early physical maturation of girls, with both obesity and environmental factors under scrutiny. But instead of pointing fingers, we need to face the facts and focus on the changing needs of girls in our lives and around the world.
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