Teenage Girls: Nothing Changed

On December 11, 1944 the Life Magazine published an article: Teen-Age Girls – They Live In A Wonderful Wold Of Their Own.

There is a time in life of every American girl when the most important thing in the world is to be one of the crowd of the other girls and to act an speak and dress exactly as they do. This is the teen age.

Some 6,000,000 U.S. teen-age girls live in a world of their own – a lovely, gay, enthusiastic, funny and blissful society almost untouched by the war. It is a world of sweaters and skirts and bobby sox and loafers, if hair worn long, of eye-glass rims painted red with nail polish, of high-school boys not yet gone to war. It is a world still devoted to parents who are pals even if they use telephone too much. It is a world of Vergil’s Aeneid, second-year French and plane geometry, of class plays, field hockey, “moron” jokes and put-on accent. It is a world of slumber parties and the Hit Parade, of peanut butter and popcorn and the endless collecting of menus and match covers and little stuffed animals.

Yes, maybe some things have changed – no one wears shetland sweaters; many teenage girls today haven’t seen a corded phone or read Virgil; “moron” jokes are considered not politically correct and no one paints eyeglasses with nail polish. But now, that I have a bona fide teenage girl in my house, I could replicate most of these photos today.

Teenage girl talking on the telephone. ©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Two teenage couples riding in a car while on a date. Girls like double dates so they can stay with each other afterward and gab all night about boys.©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Teenage couple “necking” in a movie theater. Necking in movies is absolutely out. Any girl who does is the object of endless catting and is put down as trying to act older or sophisticated, which is highest offense among teenagers.©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Teenage girl wearing her brother’s slacks and shirt.©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Group of teenagers listening to 45 rpm. records as they shop for the latest hits at a record store. Girls spend one to 2 1/2 hours listening to two dozen records, end up buying one or, at most, two. Girls lend records to each other. One with best collection of new tunes is much envied. ©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Teenage girls wearing blue jeans hang out in friend’s living room, eating and drinking Cokes, Des Moines, Iowa.©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Teenage girl lying on bed and doing her homework.©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Teenage girl wearing tight sweater that is considered the worst breech of etiquette. Here Dorothy Worley, who really knows better, poses to illustrate.©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Teenage girl wearing blue jeans and large checkered shirt which is usual after-school costume.©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Teenage girl wearing ring on chain around her neck.©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Teenage girl wearing standard outfit for school which is a wool skirt and shetland sweater.©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Closeup of teenage girl’s wrist covered w. six different identification bracelets which are as popular as the milk shake she is enjoying at a soda fountain.©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Teenage girl wearing multiple bracelets and a ring on a chain around her neck. Pearls are acceptable but not earrings. ©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Teenage girl wearing man’s pajamas and rags, not bobby pins in her hair.©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Teenage girl babysitting a little girl.©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Teenager Pat Woodruff pondering homework while listening to radio going full blast in living room.©Time Inc.Nina Leen

Teenage girl spending the night with a friend.©Time Inc.Nina Leen