Thousands of readers follow Mary Finucane (l.) who blogs about steering her daughter Caoimhe (r.) away from the Disney Princess habit. Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Caoimhe Finucane, dressed as a native American, once ‘played’ by sitting still to wait for her prince. Her mom now encourages her to expand
her image of girls’ roles. Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Maya Rovniak, 13, uses mascara almost daily – as do 18 percent of US girls ages 8 to 12. Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Increasingly sexualized images of women in advertising are beacons for even young girls. Padded bras exist for girls as young as 5. Matt Rourke/AP
Girls see cheerleaders much more often on TV than female athletes playing basketball or other sports. Ric Tapia/Icon SMI/Newscom/File
Girls start to drop out of sports – such as track – at the middle-school level when they start to believe that sports are unfeminine and unsexy. Newscom
Modern American girlhood, some experts and commentators say, is threatened by an increasingly sexualized environment in popular culture. The Green Girls summer program in Nashua, N.H. attempts to refocus young girls' self-awareness from what they look like to the good they can do -- with mentoring to back it up. Here a group of girls finishes up a trash collection project. Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
If the shoe fits, should she wear it? Harriet Rovniak, 10, tries on sky-high heels for fun in a Natick, Mass. store. Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Young girls hang out doing handplays before activities begin in a self-esteem-building program of mentoring and enrichment at Girls, Inc., a nonprofit in Nashua, N.H. Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Syria's largest city is contested by various rebel groups, including anti-US jihadists. A UN envoy is trying to broker a temporary cease-fire so that humanitarian aid can reach civilians.
ByDominique Soguel, Correspondent
The battle for Syria’s largest city is intensifying, as are UN-led diplomatic efforts to arrange a local cease-fire. UN envoy Steffan De Mistura is trying to broker a halt to fighting in Aleppo between an array of Islamist and moderate rebels and the government forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Jihadist extremists also have their sights on the city, which is divided into rebel and regime enclaves.