A Little Loss of Innocence

Tweenhood. The measly noun that brings a cringe to your face and nauseating fear to your core, knowing that someone, somewhere, might have access to images that immortalize the most awkward years of your life. Ask any collegiette out there and she will agree that the days of choker necklaces, uneven bangs and metallic braces were a right of passage, per say; that this uncomfortable limbo in time played a pivotal role in the development of the woman she has become.

As a female, the years between ages 9 and 14 are of critical importance: this is the only period of your life where you will not agonize over how the humidity will affect your hair, or if that extra slice of pizza will go straight to your hips. Women are born into a gender that spends a lifetime struggling with their appearance; this is why we cling to our childhood innocence so tightly.

When I met my stepsister for the first time, I was astounded by how much makeup she owned. A quick glance in her bathroom revealed a plethora of high-end products; from glossy lip balm to volumizing mascara, she had it all. She was eight years old at the time. Now, at the ripe age of twelve, she has become somewhat of a beauty guru, with the ability to apply makeup flawlessly and vanish imperfections within seconds. What’s even more disconcerting is that she is not alone. Stop by any middle school in America and you will see twelve-year-old girls who could easily be mistaken for sixteen-year-olds. The days of innocence for girls are diminishing at an alarming rate, which has many asking, where did the awkward girls go?

The catalyst behind this change is obvious: technological advancements have given way to younger users, making the world more “plugged in” than ever before. In a time when tweens are tweeting instead of climbing trees, it’s no surprise that young girls are throwing away their childhood. Click on the responses to any member of One Direction’s tweets, and you will find thousands of tweens begging for love and affection (with some variation of Styles, Malik, Horan, Payne, or Tomlinson incorporated in their username, nonetheless). YouTube provides girls with unrestricted access to provocative music videos and beauty vlogs, teaching them how to twerk and tweeze their eyebrows almost simultaneously. Having trouble talking to boys? There is a YouTube video for that.


In a way, it’s almost as if these girls are cheating at life. Long ago are the days of awkward phases; tweens have used the Internet as a tool to manipulate the transition from child to young adult, skipping the terrors of tweenhood with the right amount of foundation and mascara. While we collegiettes had to persevere through the “dark ages” with a series of trial and error, these girls coast on to the next stage of their life. The one victory we still hold is that their #transformationtuesday Instagrams will never compare to ours.

But if you think about it, which generation is really missing out? The answer is simple--we true '90s kids have the upperhand over these made-up tweens of the millenium. Yes, the awkward phase may have been painful, but it was brief. It took embarrassing fashion faux pas, bronzer blunders and more than your fair share of rejection to transform you into the successful colleigette you are today. Over time, you developed a tough skin, making you stronger and more apt to deal with the hardships of life. Modern tweens are missing out on this, learning these invaluable lessons from a YouTube video rather than within. We learned how to be true to ourselves and not completely rely on our outward appearance to give us a high self-esteem. Now that is a reward I wouldn't trade for the latest M.A.C. line. 

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