I’m still pissy that they’re blaming one more thing on fat.
As I realized recently, after Lillet brought it up, I have been menstruating for twenty years this month. For those of you who share my issues with math, that means I started pretty fucking early. It also means I could probably put a down payment on a house with what I’ve spent on tampons and birth control at this point, and I still think I’m far too young to have children, so it ain’t like I’m thrilled with my body’s sense of timing. And maybe I’m just bitter because in my case, I was a skinny kid right up until menarche, at which point my breasts and thighs immediately inflated to cartoon proportions; I have trouble buying that fat is causing an epidemic of girls becoming technical women before they can write cursive, ’cause it was very much the other way around for me.
But what really burns my ass about this particular manifestation of fat terror is that it’s the fucking apotheosis of North American puritanical hooey: at last, we can blame food for making little girls want to have sex! Quick, somebody do something! (Just don’t you dare innoculate them against H.P.V. while you’re in there mucking around with a pre-pubescent’s hormones. Cancer, schmancer. You might make it occur to a teenager to have sex!)
The average age of menarche has been declining for ages; it’s worth noting that, until recently, the correlation to weight was characterized as “improved nutrition.” Now, I’m not saying the average American kid’s diet is remotely related to nutrition, nor would I wish an even longer relationship with Aunt Flo on anyone. I am the farthest fucking thing from a moon-worshipping, sea sponge-wearing, blood-is-my-girly-gift type. Bring on the friggin’ Seasonale. But, it’s just… sputter… Weren’t we all worried about 8-year-old anorexics a couple weeks ago? Do we really need yet another message that food leads to disaster? Especially when said disaster, in this case, is… adulthood?
I mean, yeah, if you’re hitting puberty early enough to fuck up your growth, it’s a problem–but I have to believe that’s a disorder. The average age of menarche remains north of 12 at this point; it’s not as if there’s an epidemic of girls going straight from diapers to pads (any more than there’s an epidemic of ivy league women signing up for the Barefoot ‘n’ Pregnant Track). My guess is, it’s another case of improved communication making a “trend” out of what are still fairly rare occurrences, on any given local scale. And sure, if you can find a way to prevent crazy early puberty for those fairly rare kids, that’s a noble goal–knock yourselves out. But if your best solutions at the moment are implanting third graders with hormone bombs and warning everyone not to let their daughters eat, maybe you should shut the fuck up for a while and go back to the drawing board. You think?