The conclusion reflects on the eleven decades examined across this book and looks ahead to what the lessons of this study are. What becomes clear from this history is a shift from protecting girls from forced sex to seeing their potential fertility as a population threat to then seeing girls as targets of investment. The chapter notes that the expansion of girlhood as a special life phase has been accompanied by the gathering force of protectionist parental control. It recounts, across each chapter, how laws ostensibly focused on protecting adolescent girls were simultaneously aligned with other forces, such as national prestige, imperial ideologies, economic development priorities, and parental anxieties about respectable reproduction. It closes by proposing directions for future exploration
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