5 Ways The World Undermines Teen Girls’ Confidence

survey recently found that the average teenage girl is far less confident than the average teenage boy. (If you want to put a number on it, they’re about 30% less confident.) But it’s not that way from birth. That drop in confidence begins around the age of 12, when they officially cross the threshold from girl to the dreaded tween. As for why self-doubt suddenly arrives along with the hormones, maybe it’s because …

They’re Taught That Their Job Is To Please Other People

Our school system is designed to reward children who obey, because when a teacher tells a child to get in line, we need them to say “OK,” and not “It’s all love, but I’m going to follow my own truth and try to crawl out this window instead.” But it seems like there’s less tolerance for girls who rebel than boys as if the latter are expected to be back-talking scamps every now and then. Girls, meanwhile, are all supposed to be sensible Hermiones.

That’s at least partly because we’re trained to be caregivers. Sure, you might find a pink dirtbike in the girls toy section, but there are still going to be a lot more kitchen sets and toy sewing machines. I once had a beloved toy vacuum. All the fun of real vacuuming — which is to say, none!

Socializing girls to be caregivers, to cook and clean and raise plastic baby dolls to grow into plastic disappointing adults, means teaching them to care what other people think. There’s less room to mess up because, it’s implied, the stakes are higher. Everyone is depending on you!

So once a girl hits puberty, society suddenly has a bunch of opinions about what we should wear, who we should socialize with, what our aspirations should be. And above all else, we’re taught to worry constantly about what other people think, even if that’s going to have our head spinning in every direction trying to decide what version of a teenage girl we should be to make the least amount of people hate us. As we’re about to find out, it’s impossible to win that game.

They’re Trained To Ruthlessly Scrutinize, And Compete With, Each Other

I saw a recent headline in Psychology Today that read “Teenage Girls Are Exposed To More Stressors That Increase Depression,” and thought that the most stressful thing teenage girls encounter is probably other teenage girls, which it turns out was the crux of the article. It said that research found that teenage girls are more likely to encounter “stressful interpersonal events” (aka fights).

When I was in high school, there was a ponytail cold war. One girl, we’ll call her Madison, added a french braid into the top of her ponytail. Not to be outdone, her friend Kendra adds two french braids. Madison did a third french braid at the back of her head. Kendra curled her ponytail. Madison added glitter spray. Kendra did glitter spray and butterfly clips. Soon, all the girls in my class were getting up an hour earlier every day to wrench their hair into french braid supremacy. You know how in The Good Place, Michael’s big innovation in torture is to get the humans to torture each other? That’s essentially what this was.

Why were we mentally and physically exhausting each other with complicated and frankly hideous hair requirements? Because we want to be the best — not the strongest or the toughest, but the prettiest and coolest. Everything, even fashion, became a competition. We were going to hair the fuck out of each other. We knew we weren’t supposed to outwardly show aggression (everyone instead talks about how girls are “catty” to each other), so this was our method of punching one another in the gut.

They’re Told They Need To Win The Approval Of Boys

I know what you’re probably thinking. “No, we tell teenage girls to stay far away from teenage boys, with their boy smells and boy boners. They are gross. Our sweet daughters must avoid them at all costs.” Except every young girl wants to be Eleven in Stranger Things, Hermione in Harry Potter, Sandy in SpongeBob SquarePants, or Wonder Woman. When I was growing up, if the story I was watching wasn’t exclusively about female friendship, it was probably going to have exactly one female character in it. Her role in the group was “girl,” and her personality would be “plucky.”

In a world that is changing in a very scary and chaotic way that is hard to explain if you’re on the outside, it sure would be nice to have someone your own age going through the same changes you are. Instead, girls often isolate themselves from other girls. There’s a couple of good reasons for that (like avoiding the ruthless competition mentioned before), but one is that they’re busy trying to prove that they’re worthy of attention and friendship from literally anyone but another teenage girl.

They want to be better than the average teenage girl, which society has decided is the most annoying demographic in the species. The average teenage girl, we’re told, is a squealing, shallow, selfish dork who likes frivolous nonsense. You, then, want be the cool girl who isn’t like the others … while also continuing to excel at all of the things demanded of the girls you’re trying not to be like.

They’re Terrified Of Failure

Have you ever seen a girl get a B+ on a test and burst into tears? You could dismiss this as hormones or say that boys don’t express disappointment that way for manly reasons, but it definitely feels like girls just have less room for error. There’s a thing called stereotype threat, whereby a person from a certain group doesn’t want to confirm a negative stereotype about that group. Less than a hundred years ago, women were still being told that our brains were too tiny and pink and cute for college. Hell, we’re still being told that today — just type “women are naturally dumber than men” into YouTube. (I’m kidding, please don’t.)

If you beat yourself up enough about your shortcomings, you can become so terrified of failure that you become risk-averse. That’s a problem, because the thing about being afraid to fail is that you have to fail a lot before you can succeed. This fear of risk/failure as a teenager carries over into adulthood, and I think it’s a big contributing factor to why we don’t see more women in typically male-dominated fields.

I see other female writers do this to themselves all the time. Hell, I did this to myself for 28 years. That’s why I only recently started writing professionally. I took every little criticism as a sign I just wasn’t talented enough, and quit trying for long periods of time. It’s much easier to do that than accept that you need to work more on something, and that for at least a while, you will be bad at it.

But that means giving yourself permission to fail and even disappoint other people, which means believing that you have worth regardless of how others judge your performance. And that, of course, goes against everything you’ve been taught about the importance of pleasing others. It also doesn’t help that …

Related: 6 Ways Society Is Designed To Screw Teenagers Every Day

The “Inspirational” Stories We Feed Them Are Actually Pretty Depressing

There are all these books now for young girls that are called things like Rebel Girls Kicking Society In The Dick Since 1300 BC. They’re supposed to be full of inspirational stories of real women who changed the world, but it turns out that stories of women who changed the world end very differently from similar stories about men.

Every famous woman from history you read about has a story like “She started painting at age six and made 800 paintings before she died at 21, because after having nine babies, the doctor told her she was fine, but then one day her whole uterus just fell out.” Or “She was brilliant, but her husband found her snoring mildly annoying, so he had her institutionalized and they cut out part of her brain, and then she didn’t write much anymore.” Meanwhile, famous men from history wrote three poems and died peacefully at the age of 80 from a really cool sex disease.

So at an age when society is trying to feed girls examples of what they can accomplish, they learn that Joan of Arc was inspiring, but also burned at the stake, and then burned a second and third time just to make sure no parts of her survived. “And if you’re brave and smart and good, that can be you!”


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Tales of Rock – 27 Classic Rock Songs You Should Listen To In Your Lifetime

Two days before the Grammy Awards, Aerosmith will be honored with the 2020 MusiCares Person of the Year award. Not only has Aerosmith made an impact in the music industry, but they’ve also devoted time to philanthropic efforts over the course of five decades. These rockers are true icons of the classic rock genre.

Classic rock in itself has long been established as a true American music genre. In fact, one could argue that classic rock is the staple of American music culture.

Of course, the definition of classic rock has been under contention for years, with some people arguing a rock song of any genre merely needs to be 25 years old to be considered a “classic.” Meanwhile, others find there’s a difference between classic rock, punk rock, pop rock, alternative rock, and, well, you get the idea.

While bands like Aerosmith and The Doors are often considered to be the fathers of classic rock, the fluid lines of what defines a “classic” will vary depending on the part of the world you’re in. For the sake of this article, the definition of classic rock is music created between the 1960s and early 1980s with an emphasis on guitar-focused compositions.

Though we could list only songs like “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, and quite literally any song by The Beatles, these are some other songs you should add to your must-listen-to-playlist ASAP.

Listen to “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry.

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“Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry. 
Walter Iooss Jr/Contributor/Getty Images

Chuck Berry is often hailed as the true father of rock ‘n’ roll and his 1958 hit “Johnny B. Goode” is considered to be an instant classic. In fact, it was one of the recordings brought along on the 1977 Voyager spaceship as a representation of life on earth.

Rock along to Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”

Klaus Meine, frontman of Scorpions performs in Moscow on August 13, 1989. 

Just on the cusp between hard rock and classic rock, depending on who you ask, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” is a guitar-heavy song that deserves your attention. Released in 1984, the song is still popular today, appearing in the Netflix series “Stranger Things.”

Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” is iconic.

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Tom Scholz of Boston performs in 2014. 
Jeff Daly/Invision/AP

This 1976 hit should be on every classic rock playlist from today until the end of time. With a catchy chorus and guitar riffs that will replay in your head over and over again, “More Than a Feeling” is an undeniable classic rock epic. Fans of “The Walking Dead” will recognize it from one of the show’s earlier seasons.

Don’t sleep on “Renegade” by Styx.

The member of Styx from left to right: John Panozzo, James Young, Tommy Shaw, Dennis deYoung, Chuck Panozzo. 
Richard E. Aaron/Redferns/Getty Images

“Mr. Roboto” isn’t the only song Styx is known for. Give their 1979 hit “Renegade” a chance, it doesn’t involve grown men dressed up as humanoid machines and has a reputation for making it into major films like “Big Daddy” and “Billy Madison.” It is also the preferred classic rock song of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Supernatural” fans will love “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas.

Steve Walsh kansas rock band
American musician and singer Steve Walsh performs with rock band Kansas in 1977. 
Michael Putland/Getty Images

Fans of “Supernatural” already know this classic Kansas song, but others should become well acquainted with this 1976 track. Written as a last-minute song, this hit made Kansas famous, making them more than just an “opener” band.

The Eagles’ “Hotel California” is a creepy hit.

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The Eagles in concert. 
Getty Images

1976 was quite the year for classic rock hits, with The Eagles’s famed “Hotel California” topping the charts. Other Eagles songs that should be on your radar include “Life in the Fast Lane,” “Heartache Tonight,” and “Take It to the Limit,” all great examples of a classic rock bop.

Classic rock is nothing without “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith.

Aerosmith performs at the 11 Annual MTV Video Music Awards. 
Bebeto Matthews/AP

Often cited as the #1 classic rock song, Aerosmith’s 1975 rock and roll anthem “Sweet Emotion” is just slightly more powerful than their 1973 classic “Dream On,” making it one of the classic rock songs you need to hear ASAP. The song was the band’s first Top 40 hit and put them on the map as an iconic rock ‘n’ roll band.

“Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac is a bop.

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The members of “Fleetwood Mac” pose for a portrait in 1975. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Up there with “Rhiannon” and “Dreams,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” is the 1977 classic rock hit you need in your life. The song was a major hit with a sad backstory: It was written by vocalist and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and believed to be about his breakup with bandmate Stevie Nicks.

“La Grange” by ZZ Top is peak rock and roll.

ZZ Top
Dusty Hill, Frank “Rube” Beard, and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top perform in 1974. 
Tom Hill/Contributor/Getty Images

Perhaps considered more southern rock than classic rock, ZZ Top’s 1973 song “La Grange” is still a worth blues-focused boogie to bop your head along to when you’re driving with your top down on a Texas highway.

ZZ Top had the very same opportunity when they finally performed the song in the titular town of La Grange, Texas in 2015.

“Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf is truly a classic.

Steppenwolf circa 1970. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Stringer/Getty Images

The band Steppenwolf might not be as recognizable as others on this list, but the band’s 1969 song “Born to Be Wild” is a defining classic rock jam. Listen to it once and you’ll be aching to buy a leather jacket, a motorcycle, and take to the open road.

Eric Clapton’s “Layla,” performed by Derick And The Dominoes, has all the drama.

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British guitarist Eric Clapton shakes up fans at Maple Leaf Gardens. 
Jim Russell/Contributor/Getty Images

With perhaps some of the most iconic guitar riffs of the 1970s, Eric Clapton’s internationally acclaimed song “Layla,” written for his band Derek And The Dominos, is a rock ‘n’ roll classic. Clapton wrote the song for model Patti Harrison, the wife of The Beatles’ George Harrison. Clapton wanted to be with Boyd and would eventually go on to marry her, although they split in 1988.

The slower, acoustic version of “Layla” also became famous as a Clapton solo song and he still performs both versions today. 

“Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix is underrated.

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Rock guitar virtuoso Jimi Hendrix performs at the Isle of Wight Festival in August 1970. 
Evening Standard/Getty Images

While Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” should definitely be on any classic rock playlist, newbies to the genre should listen to “Purple Haze” immediately. Hendrix said the “real” version of the hit song has about 10 different verses, the lyrics of which came to him in a dream.

“The Joker” by Steve Miller Band is a great chill-out song.

steve miller
Steve Miller of the Steve Miller Band. 
Gijsbert Hanekroot/Contributor/Getty Images

Take your pick of Steve Miller Band songs that absolutely rock. If you’re new to the band, start with “The Joker,” a 1973 #1 hit that is delightfully catchy.

“Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks has a sad backstory.

stevie knicks
Stevie Nicks. 
Richard E. Aaron/Contributor/Getty Images

Nominated for a Grammy award for best female rock vocal performance at the 1981 Grammys, “Edge of Seventeen” was a song written by Nicks in response to her uncle and John Lennon’s deaths in the same week. The name of the song was inspired by Tom Petty’s wife Jane Benyo saying that she met Petty at the “age of 17” but Nicks misheard her.

Classic rock is embodied in “L.A. Woman” by The Doors

the doors rock band
The Doors during a press conference at Heathrow Airport, London. 
Central Press/Getty Images

While The Doors have an extensive discography filled with numerous classic hits, “L.A. Woman” is arguably the group’s most-iconic classic rock hit. Released in 1971, this would be one of the last songs Jim Morrison would record before his death.

“Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin still rocks.

Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin. 

Janis Joplin’s version of “Piece of My Heart” set 1968’s music scene on fire. The song was one of Joplin’s biggest successes and she sang it at 1969’s Woodstock.

“Show Me the Way” by Peter Frampton has psychedelic vibes.

peter frampton
Peter Frampton performs at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, 1977. 

The 1975 classic “Show Me the Way” wasn’t an instant success, but the artist’s talkbox effect eventually made the song famous. Since its release, the song has gone on to appear in a number of movies and shows, including “Click” and “Wayne’s World 2.”

“Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Creedence Clearwater Revival is a great cover of Marvin Gaye’s iconic song.

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Marvin Gaye at the American Music Awards in 1983. 
Doug Pizac/AP

Released in 1970, CCR covered Marvin Gaye’s famed 1968 song “Heard It Through the Grapevine.” Gaye’s version of the song is soulful and bluesy, while CCR gives the track a classic rock tempo. Both versions of the song are deserving of a spot on this list.

Everyone should listen to “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple.

Glenn hughes deep purple band
English rock singer and bass guitarist Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple. 
Sergei Fadeichev\TASS via Getty Images

Mystical and eerie, Deep Purple’s 1971 hit “Smoke on the Water” is as classic as rock gets. Peaking at #4 on the charts in 1973, the song is a must-listen for all rock ‘n’ roll fans.

“Purple Rain” by Prince is one of the most iconic songs of all time.

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Prince in the film “Purple Rain.” 
Warner Bros.

When the artist Prince died in 2016, many fans and admirers shared their favorite songs from his decades of performance. There is perhaps no more iconic song than “Purple Rain,” the 1984 ballad that was on the album and in the film of the same name.

“Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” is a deeper cut Rolling Stones song you need to hear.

the rolling stones
The Rolling Stones. 
Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images

Chances are, you’ve heard many Rolling Stones songs in your life, but while you may rock out to “Sympathy for the Devil” or “Gimme Shelter,” if you want to go deeper into their catalog, this 1971 song is a great place to start.

Led Zepplin’s “Going to California” is a bit of a mellow one.

led zeppelin rock band
Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin perform in 1975. 
Bruce Alan Bennett/Shutterstock

This slow acoustic track is a welcome reminder that classic rock was not without its softer, more beautiful moments. This song paid homage to the state of California (obviously) and all of its natural wonders. 

You may know The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” by another name.

the who
The Who. 
Keystone/Getty Images

OK, so you may know this song as “Teenage Wasteland,” but the actual title is “Baba O’Riley.” Though the song came out in 1971, The Who’s frontman Roger Daltrey said he thinks the songs still very much applies today. 

“Teenage Wasteland speaks to generation after generation,” he told Big Issue. “The bridge – ‘Don’t cry/ Don’t raise your eye/ It’s only teenage wasteland’ – if that doesn’t say more about the new generation, I don’t know what does.”

“Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream is another entry by Eric Clapton to this list.

cream band
The members of Cream pose for a group shot. 
GAB Archive/Contributor/Getty Images

Another Eric Clapton addition to this list, his guitar work on this 1967 song with the band Cream is still talked about today. 

You’ll salute rock ‘n’ roll with “For Those About To Rock” by AC/DC.

ac/dc band
Angus Young and Mark Evans of AC/DC performed in London in 1976. 
Dick Barnatt/Contributor/Getty Images

Another fairly known song by a well-known band, this 1981 tune has special meaning to fans. After the 2017 death of AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young, fans in the UK campaigned to make this song number one on the charts in his memory.

“I Saw Her Standing There” by The Beatles is one of the group’s best.

the beatles
The Beatles in 1963. 

It’s pretty impossible to pick a song by The Beatles that you haven’t heard but “I Saw Her Standing There” is one song that doesn’t get as much love as it should. It was one of the Beatles’ earliest songs and arguably, one of their best. 

“Better Be Good To Me” by Tina Turner is a rockin’ song you can’t help but bop to.

Tina Turner. 
Michael Euler/AP

Tina Turner is often referred to as the “Queen of Rock” and it’s for a good reason. Though you may love “Proud Mary,” “Better Be Good To Me” is another rock ‘n’ roll hit with an iconic guitar line you just can’t miss.

Wanna be a better guitarist? Click this link to learn the secret!


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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