The teenage body – do you ever remember looking like that?

Last night I was at the gym and literally a 7-foot man walked by. Another woman and I exchanged a look and commented on how tall he was. This somehow segued into a conversation in which she revealed that she is a middle school teacher who has students who tower over her. We went on to talk about how quickly kids seem to be developing and how much older they look than they really are. Although she was much younger than I – probably about 30 – she still felt that teenagers look much older now than they did when she was a teenager. I’m 46 and I’m here to tell you that one glance back into my high school yearbook confirms that we were all a bunch of pipsqueaks with big hair and too much makeup. Our prom dresses were taffeta and covered everything on our bodies, including our legs. And it’s a good thing, because we really didn’t have any legs to speak of.

Flash forward to today. Ninth grade boys with full beards. Middle school girls with curvy bodies and no need for training bras. Oo-la-la prom dresses with cut outs that strategically reveal, well, almost everything.

The fact is that designers wouldn’t make these dresses if girls didn’t have the bodies to pull it off. No doubt about it, teen bodies have changed. After reading Omnivore’s Dilemma, Fast Food Nation, and every article I can get my hands on that deals with chemicals and modifications in our food, I’m pretty convinced we are seeing the results of genetically modified foods combined with a culture of fast food and ridiculously large portions. It only makes sense that if you add hormones to a cow’s diet then drink the milk the cow has produced, those hormones will pass right into your diet and voila! breasts at age 10. *Note: Sparks Notes version of scientific evidence.

Go back and look at your yearbook, then take a look at the teenagers around you. It’s cray-cray, as they would say.



4 thoughts on “The teenage body – do you ever remember looking like that?

  1. Try looking back 58 years if you want to see a real difference. There were a few who matured quickly, but the vast majority were no where near what has happened today. It’s a shame too, because a lot of childhood is being lost and problems arise that shouldn’t happen until later teenage years.


  2. I remember telling my mom one of my girlfriends who got her period…in 4th grade! She wouldn’t believe me. And then I recently heard that one of my student’s siblings is preggos at….9? What the freak is in food?! isn’t there something about the use of household cleaning products too?


    And why is organic and non-processed food so expensive?


  3. Yes I agree… definately something in the drinking water. While teen bodies do seem to be developing earlier, I believe that there are so many factors outside of biology that contribute to the premature growing up that we are seeing. I feel bad for today’s youth because, like it or not, if teens are not keeping up with society’s trends, they are more likely to be ostracized and bullied.


  4. I started my period when I was 9. Yes, it was a complete anomally and I was embarrassed. However, in our discussion of genetically modified food and the health and vigor of our teenagers, let’s remember that our mothers were drinking coffee, smoking, and having cocktails, usually with their doctors blessings. Can’t we just assume that maternal health and awareness is much improved from those days resulting in more robust teens?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s