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
US officials speculated that Mohsin al-Fadhli, a senior Al Qaeda operative, may have been killed in an airstrike on Sept. 23. A tweet from an Al Qaeda member appears to corroborate that, a monitoring group says.
ByWilliam Maclean, Reuters
A Twitter account run by an Al Qaeda member said the leader of the Al Qaeda-linked Khorasan group was killed in a US air strike in Syria, SITE monitoring service said on Sunday, following several days of uncertainty over whether he survived the raid.