Q Dear Miss Abigail:
I am seventeen years old and have hardly no experience with other kids my age. I am a girl but I feel so unfeminine and not pretty. It ruins everything when you’re stuck like this. What should I do?
A Dear Lolita:
Wow, Abigail, is that you? Oh, sorry, I thought you were me as a teenager speaking. You are not stuck, you are just seventeen. Things will get better. Personally, I had to wait until my thirties for things to really pick up, but it’s been worth the wait. I turned out okay, don’t you think? Here are some thoughts from our friends Evelyn and Sylvanus Duvall on growing up at your own pace. It’s from their 1962 book titled Sense and Nonsense About Sex.
1962: How Much Is Popularity Worth to You?
A considerable body of evidence indicates that the effort to be popular is overshadowing the real education and development girls need to become happy, creative women today. So much energy is put into getting into the social whirl that girls have little time or strength left for the study and reflection that are required to reach full maturity as persons.
Many a girl is trapped early in her teens into thinking that getting boys’ attention is the most important thing in life for her. She yields to the pressure of opinion that being popular with the fellows is necessary in order to feel adequate as a girl. She learns early in her high school career that getting into activities is one way to social success, and so she rushes from one thing to another in an effort to keep up with what she thinks is expected of her.
The girl who grows up at her own pace enjoys fellows and girls in her own way. She belongs only to those clubs that appeal to her; she associates with people she enjoys, regardless of whether they are ‘the big wheels’ or not. She may not have a date every Saturday night. She may prefer going to church Sunday evening to going out on the town. She isn’t afraid of studying and getting the grades that she merits. She doesn’t mind being ‘a nice kid’ because she knows deep within herself that being the most popular girl in high school may not be worth all it costs.
Many of the world’s greatest women were not particularly popular through their school days. They started out shy and retiring, seriously studying their lessons and slowly developing the talent within them. They didn’t try to force themselves into premature commitments or activities. But they laid foundations during their teens on which they could build through the years.
A parallel can be drawn from hothouse flowers forced to bloom in time for the holidays. Horticulturists have been able to bring lilies to market in time for Easter, poinsettias for the Christmas trade, mums for football games, and colorful displays in time for Mother’s Day. But although these flowers bloom in time for market, they rarely can be transplanted successfully into the home garden where they might thrive through the years.
Why should girls be forced into early blooming, and lose the chance to mature slowly for the rich full years that lie ahead of them as women, wives, mothers, and persons in the modern world?
Source: Duvall, Evelyn M. and Sylvanus M. Sense and Nonsense About Sex. New York: Association Press, 1962.
~ pp. 62-64 ~