The teenage landscape today is vastly different to 20 or even 10 years ago. Innocence, ballet lessons and homework have been squashed by the Internet, and our teenagers are more informed now. But is this good thing? Most people would regard a 13 year old as a child, including British law, and as not yet equipped to make all their own decisions.
We only have to look at Facebook and Twitter to see how self-esteem is boosted and destroyed by a single selfie. Girls dressed way beyond their years photograph themselves and wait for the 'likes'. Where have our teenagers got the idea that it's best to look that way? Years ago they only had Barbie to compare themselves too (which is bad enough), but now just switch on MTV and you'll find yourself hypnotised by almost naked girls bending over in front of the camera. Emmeline Pankhurst must be turning over in her grave. It isn't even classed as sexually explicit viewing. You can see this at 9am over your Cornflakes.
Some researchers believe the influence of music TV is changing the teenage perception of bodies and sex. Interestingly, it seems that boys are more influenced by sexually-charged music TV. It does, however, lead both genders to think their peers are sexually active. Sex is the norm, even if you don't really want it. Songs such as 'Blurred Lines' have been criticised for reinforcing rape myths and trivialising sexual violence, and it's far from the only song to do this. It seems a great deal of our pre-adolescents and teens are exposed to music that refers to girls as bitches, and suggests they exist simply to have sex with. Research around this type of music TV shows that it leads to teenagers becoming sexually active earlier. Sex is portrayed as recreational, it's the standard. It's what you do if you are cool.
Alongside this we have freely available porn online. How can a teenage boy be expected to learn about loving relationships and have a mutual introduction to sex when he's able to watch dogging videos, rape porn and a host of other stuff that I can't bring myself to type out. Porn rarely features women as equals.
As was the case 20 years ago, girls still want to impress boys. But it's a bit different now. They don't want a reputation for being 'frigid' so they take part in activities they don't want to do, don't enjoy, and feel humiliated by.
You've got feel sorry for our teenagers today. Constantly told that sex, provocative displays of nudity and violent sexual practices are the norm, they are under tremendous pressure to look and act a certain way.
Sadly, research indicates that teenage levels of mental health problems are increasing. Depression and self-harming are more prevalent than ever. The expectations placed on our teenage girls are shocking, but why would they say no when they think it's the norm and the term 'virgin' is an insult? Every girl wants to fit in.