Consider what a brittle, sexualised, youth-worshipping culture we live in, and how we have made a world in which these qualities rate very highly. Western women of all ages are constantly hammered with the message that high status is chiefly achieved by beauty, slimness, glossy hair, fashionable edge and ‘hotness’. So it can be quite hard for a slightly weary, less-than-pristine woman of maternal years to defy a dewy, flawless, supercool young thing.

But adults do know best, says Libby Purves, and they need to do far more to protect young teenage girls from those who might abuse them


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