香山リカのココロの万華鏡:おとなを拒否する少女 /東京

October 11, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Girls who reject the prospect of life as adults
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:おとなを拒否する少女 /東京

Yet another sad crime occurred in Japan recently, as a third-year female high school student in Mie Prefecture was fatally stabbed in the chest by a male student attending the same school. The student who stabbed the girl was quoted as telling investigators that she had asked him to kill her, and her friends had said that she was suicidal.

Many details of this crime remain unclear, so from here on I would like to comment from a general perspective.

It's not uncommon for teenage girls to say that they don't want to become adult women. Girls undergo major physical developments on their path to adulthood, and it's not uncommon for them to be repulsed by the changes. Young girls with anorexia commonly say that thin bodies, like those of boys, are "clean," while the curvy figures of women are "dirty." Such girls sometimes project that "dirtiness" onto their mothers. There are accordingly many girls who rebel, saying that they don't want to grow up to be like their mothers.

Sometimes, these girls think, "If I'm going to become an adult woman in mind and body, then it would be better for me to die as an unsullied young girl." But it's quite often the case that death for these girls is an event from the world of stories and illusions; they don't have a real grasp of its actual meaning.

One girl I encountered remarked, "I wonder how much my parents would suffer if I disappeared. I'd like to see that." I replied, "But if you died, you couldn't see it," to which she expressed shock. She had apparently read a novel portraying people as being able to see the world after dying, and had swallowed the whole story.

Young girls who think that adult women are "dirty," and reject maturity often talk about "things that only cool adults can do." Well, people forge their own paths in life, so these girls can choose to live as women they themselves would respect. I've often had conversations that go something like this:

"Surely you don't hate all adults?"

"No, I saw a woman on TV working as a doctor in Africa or somewhere like that and I was impressed."

"Well then let's aim for that."

Once I became an adult, I realized that my heart wasn't that much different from when I was a teenager; in fact, I've had more opportunities to venture out and do whatever I want.

As an adult I might have gained a few pounds and acquired a few extra wrinkles, but have realized that it's wrong to think that adults are "dirty."

Paths of life that can be considered clean or pure aren't determined by age or looks.

I hope that girls who don't want to become adults now go on to do so without fear, allowing their unique selves to blossom freely.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2015年10月06日 地方版

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