My younger sister, Mimi, celebrated her 14th birthday on May 17, this year, making her eight years younger than me for the next 10 months. Despite our age gap, many family members and close friends call her my “mini-me” due to our striking resemblance. And they have every reason to–we’re the same height, have the same eyes, wear the same clothes, talk the same and, oh yea, she looks like she’s 22!

Everytime I turn the corner, she looks and acts older, but this is not an uncommon phenomenon. It seems more and more young girls are wearing thicker makeup, buying tighter clothes, and talking too much on their cell phones. How do they learn so young? Why did it take me so long? Why didn’t I look like I was 22 until I turned 22? (I actually got carded for buying a rated R movie a year ago.)

Perhaps the answer’s in the toys. I grew up during the magical time of Care Bears, My Little Pony, and Rainbow Brights, where the ultimate goal of every episode was to find the little puppy that ran away and seek eternal happiness. Today, Mimi is surrounded by Bratz, Hannah Montana, and the new-and-improved, sexy Strawberry Shortcake. These popular cartoons and celebrities act as role models and teach young girls that skimpy outfits, bulky makeup, and the trendiest, bedazzled electronic accessories are the most important qualities life has to offer.

Until our society realizes the destructive nature of the overly-mature sex dolls and until young celebrities learn how to be kids again, I suppose the only positive outcome for me will be the day of my 40th birthday, when my 32-year-old kid sister will look 40, too.