chapter  7
15 Pages

The Girls 1

We have heard comments by one writer on maladjusted children about the restlessness of the girls as against the boys, about their failure to lose themselves as easily in group activities. But this is largely true of all adolescent girls. Sex rears its head earlier than with boys, but not only in delinquent girls in Approved Schools. Most segregated girls, in day or boarding schools, will look and sigh when a male crosses the playground. They assert their femininity and remind the poor schoolmistress of whatever age that she is 'past it'. It is doubtful whether the private conversations of the average adolescent girl are less knowledgeable or cleaner than the average Approved School girls'. At one extreme of both is the girl who knows the crude aspects of sex, while at the other is the girl who is too immature socially for her to do more than gape and imitate the talk and postures of others. The range of emotional immaturity in the delinquent girl is the thing that distinguishes them most from the normal so that the more sophisticated in knowledge is driven more to experiment than would be the average adolescent girl-to satisfy her infantile sensual needs for tactile comfort; to demonstrate to her superior contemporaries that she could win love; to pay a parent off for neglecting her. The experimental love life of the least mature of the delinquents differed mainly in its unselfconsciousness, like the pre-school child in its experimental sexual phase.