Sad Girls

Everybody is discussing these findings:

Earlier this month the CDC released the results of its Youth Risk Behavior Survey of American teenagers. The findings have been much discussed, with the focus largely and understandably on the fact that teenage girls are suffering from extraordinarily high levels of sadness and depression. . . Breaking things down by gender and ideology, they find that liberal girls have the highest increase in depressive affect and conservative boys have the least.

I want to offer my own, non-political take on the issue.

Liberal women tend to have children later in life. As a result, a girl’s puberty is more likely to coincide with the mother entering menopause.

During puberty, a girl needs to battle her mother for the role of the woman of the family. It’s like in a wolf pack where a young wolf has to defeat the old leader of the pack and take his place. If a girl can’t successfully battle the mother because the mother is dead, too controlling, etc, there are three future scenarios for her:

  • Find a mother substitute – an older friend, an aunt, a boss, a mentor, and go through this necessary process with her.
  • Not go through the process at all and fail to find fulfillment as a woman, being unable to get married and/or have children.
  • Assume a male role, become sexually and professionally aggressive, and then fight the men in her life for who’s the biggest macho.

If a girl hits puberty and starts battling the mother at the time when the mother is starting menopause, the mother is already in a sensitive place regarding her womanhood. She losing it, and here’s somebody driving the loss home in an even more painful way. The chances of such a mother gracefully stepping down and letting the girl win are not huge. It’s a lot easier when the mother is still way too young for menopause or, in much rare cases, has already gone through it and gotten used to it.

Nobody does any of it consciously, of course. Girls become mega annoying like clockwork, driving their mothers up a wall. Women blame themselves, thinking this means they are bad mothers when the rebellion means the exact opposite. The quiet, obedient, “mommy is my best friend even though I’m 24” types are the saddest cases.

Boys do the same with their dads, and this is one of the many reasons why dads are crucial.

The cure for this illness that affects absolutely everybody is to know about it and remain completely calm. It’s all good, it’s all necessary. At some point, kids pee and poop all over themselves, and you clean them up because that’s what they need. Then later they start turning into men and women, and the process also stinks but it’s just as necessary. Nobody freaks out when a 3-month-old pees herself. Neither should they get upset when a 13-year-old becomes moody, secretive, dramatic, and rude to her mommy.

We like to imagine that we are disembodied spirits, not affected by the workings of our bodies but that’s crap. Nobody goes either through puberty or through menopause without being affected by it.


5 thoughts on “Sad Girls

  1. Those are interesting points but my observation having spent time in liberal areas and more conservative ones during the pandemic, is that liberal parents kept their kids way more locked down. The kids were at home ALL THE TIME and so were their parents – a hot house environment – and they had limited time with peer in person, and a lot more time online and with social media. That is a recipe for mental health problems.


    1. Sure, that’s a huge aspect of it. The lockdowns were devastating to adolescents. And to kids in general. I’m completely with you on this.

      Lockdown, however, are situational and the issues I describe are eternal. We need to be aware of them. Many people live as if hormonal changes didn’t exist and then get very surprised when these changes affect them.


    1. This supports the version about the impact of COVID lockdowns. Blue areas locked down much harder and longer than red areas.

      It’s very likely there are many factors at play at once.


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