Researchers (you know…those guys) have found that girls growing up in homes without a biological father present tend to physically mature sooner than those still living with the biological father. I know what you’re saying – it’s a simple explanation: fathers are always the ones that tell their daughters “you’re not wearing that around the neighborhood, missy,” or “cover up if you’re going to be around boys,” or even my favorite “you’re graduating from 8th grade, not whore school.”
We all assumed, because we know so much about science, that a girl’s physical maturity is linked with the their’ BMIs – you know, with that “Beef Hormone Controversy” that never really proved that the meat in school lunches made schoolgirls’ boobs bigger. Okay, the study technically says “breast enlargement in very young girls and boys,” but I write for an audience and my audience demands sensationalism.
So, back to the topic, those wily researchers at UC Berkeley somehow figured out that girls growing up without a father in the house were going through puberty sooner. And to make it more puzzling, early puberty was happening more to rich, white girls. Except for Miley Cyrus, who is rich, white, has her father present, and is turning out to be a total whore. The findings of another study also found that having blood-relative brothers in the house seems to slow puberty and the onset of periods in their sisters. This is interesting since unrelated men like step-fathers and mothers’ boytoys didn’t effect the girls.
My favorite paragraph in Time’s article contains these lines, which I can’t paraphrase in a way that does them justice:
“Artificial light from computer screens and TVs is known to increase the speed of puberty, and these would likely be more prevalent in higher income single parent homes. And there’s also a correlation between early puberty and some haircare treatments that contain placental products.”
OH MY GOD. Why was I not told about this crap before? Is this why my 20-month old humps everything?
A commenter on the Time.com story offered an interesting explanation: that the well-known synchronizing of menstrual cycles among close-quartered (and often unrelated) women could be the culprit. Somehow, these hormones that are able to align themselves are also able to jumpstart a young girl’s system. I don’t know. I’m just a dude.
Other possibilities are a lack of emotional closeness from a working mother, or, my own personal opinion, a working, single mother treating her young daughter in an inappropriately mature way – in other words, does a single, working mother come home and replace her lack of social peers with her young daughter? And if that’s true, does that mean that treating someone a certain way can actually jumpstart hormones? Zoinks.
So, in the end, what all this confirms is once again, that fathers are important…and evidently, (who saw THIS coming?) you’ve got a hormonal bond with your daughter. Use it wisely.