Children are getting bombarded with sexualized messages at earlier and earlier ages, and don’t have the emotional sophistication to interpret them; how parents can talk to their children about these issues.
Mass media trends teach girls disturbing messages about sexuality by promoting five key myths which condone objectification of women and sexual violence, and undermine girls' self-confidence; how to empower girls to make healthy decisions about their sexuality.
Marketing to children (as opposed to parents) is now big business, creating “commercialized children” who are strongly defined by the subtle but constant messages they are exposed to; guidelines for parents and teachers to help kids decipher marketing.
Unattainable ideals of beauty and a culture rife with addictions and negative sexual messages have led to increasing numbers of teenage girls suffering from depression, eating disorders, and self-esteem issues; how to help girls retain resiliency and optimism in the face of these challenges.
Girls as young as six are seeking out sexualized clothing, and consider a paper doll dressed in revealing clothing “more popular” than a trendy but covered-up outfit; what parents (especially mothers as role-models of womanhood) can do to encourage daughters to think of themselves in a different light.
The American Psychological Association’s 2010 report about the sexualization of girls, which includes evidence that it is occurring; the consequences of sexualization on girls, others, and society at large; and recommendations for counteracting its influence.
Stacy Smith and Crystal Cook, The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Four studies of gender presentations in popular films and TV shows: two in terms of appearance (including hypersexualized features and revealing clothing); one analyzing behaviour of female leads of 13 G-rated films; and one regarding the prevalence and portrayal of female characters in TV for children 11 and under.
Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, examines the rise of princess culture and the conflict between letting kids enjoy what they want and preventing their potential from being subverted by marketing.
The messages around Disney Princesses can change how little girls behave and see themselves into a very limiting path, focused on fashion, boys, and passive activities; how parents and teachers struggle to understand and deal with this problem.
Marketing isn’t the only problem: reality TV shows like Toddlers and Tiaras, Dance Moms, etc. teach girls that beauty is all-important and that sexualized clothing -- and emotional drama -- are normal. Teaching media literacy to children helps them combat these impressions.
Issues about sexualization of children reached the general public when Vogue featured a photo spread with 10-year-old model Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau posed sprawled across a leopard-print blanket wearing high heels.