Clothes and Sexualization in Young Girls--BBC Article

  1. Sexualisation 'Harms' Young Girls

    The media's portrayal of young women as sex objects harms girls' mental and physical health, US experts warn.
    Magazines, television, video games and music videos all have a detrimental effect, a task force from the American Psychological Association reported.

    Sexualisation can lead to a lack of confidence with their bodies as well as depression and eating disorders.

    Such images also have a negative effect on healthy sexual development in girls, the researchers said.

    The task force was set up after mounting "public concern" about the sexualisation of young girls.

    Young pop stars dressed as sex objects
    Dolls aimed at young girls with sexual clothing such as fishnet tights
    Clothing, such as thongs, for seven to 10-year-olds
    Adult models dressed as young girls

    Research on the content and effects of television, music videos, music lyrics, magazines, films, video games and the internet was analysed.

    Recent advertising campaigns and merchandising of products aimed at girls was also scrutinised.

    Sexualisation was defined as occurring when a person's value comes only from her or his sexual appeal or behaviour, to the exclusion of other characteristics, and when a person portrayed purely as a sex object.

    They gave examples of a trainer advert that featured pop star Christina Aguilera dressed as a schoolgirl with her shirt unbuttoned, licking a lollipop.

    According to the research identified by the task force, such images and promotion of girls as sexual objects negatively affects young girls in many ways.

    "The consequences of the sexualisation of girls in media today are very real," said Dr Eileen Zurbriggen, chair of the group and associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

    "We have ample evidence to conclude that sexualisation has negative effects in a variety of domains, including cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, and healthy sexual development."

    The task force called on parents, school officials, and health professionals to be alert for the potential impact on girls and young women.

    And it advised that schools should teach pupils media literacy skills and should include information on the negative effects of images portraying girls as sex objects in sex education programmes.

    Governments also had a responsibility to reduce the use of sexualised images in the media and advertising, they said.

    Teenage magazines

    Dr Zurbriggen added: "As a society, we need to replace all of these sexualised images with ones showing girls in positive settings - ones that show the uniqueness and competence of girls.

    "The goal should be to deliver messages to all adolescents - boys and girls - that lead to healthy sexual development."

    Professor Andrew Hill, professor of medical psychology at the University of Leeds, said it was hard to disagree with any of the reports conclusions.

    "If you look at teenage magazines, it's all about sex.

    "We are a visually absorbed society - our views of people are dominated by how they look."

    He added that the use of women as sex objects in the media and advertising was a difficult issue to deal with.

    "Only 18% of children's television viewing is in their designated viewing time and legislation can't be the answer for everything.

    "One of the key things here is social responsibility - advertisers and other media need to be aware that the products they produce and images associated with them have an impact and it's not always a good impact," he said.
  2. This is a fascinating article, but I take issue with them mentioning fishnet tights as being sexual. They are often considered to be sexual but not always. (It depends on how you wear them. You wear them under a business suit they look cute. You wear them with a miniskirt and they're sexual.)

    I think little girls are dressing too maturely for their age, and it's not healthy for their development.
  3. but I take issue with them mentioning fishnet tights as being sexual. They are often considered to be sexual but not always. (It depends on how you wear them. You wear them under a business suit they look cute. You wear them with a miniskirt and they're sexual.)

    I agree that the article is great but I disagree with you, Caitlin, about the fishnets. I don't think the article meant to say that fishnets themselves are "bad"...just when they are used on dolls that are being marketed to young girls. IMO, as the mother of an 8 year old girl...I think fishnet stockings are completely inappropriate for any girl. But, I have no problem with women wearing them. I wear them sometimes but I'm over 40...not 8.
  4. ^^ Good point. I think I was responding to them in general and not them on dolls marketed to girls.

    You're right. Dolls should not be wearing fishnets.
  5. Regarding the dolls, I often think of Bratz as especially unhealthy for young girls. The awful, supposedly hip dolls just come off as trashy looking with grossly inflated lips and garish make-up.

    As many qualms as one has with Barbie, at the very least, she's almost always represented "as a lady." She has that reputation (sexpot that she is!) and it's respectable that Mattel manufactures a doctor/lawyer/astronaut version of the doll. Bratz dolls don't seem to do anything other than inspire a terrible sense of fashion in young girls.
  6. i completely agree with this. i was shopping for an outfit for my niece for christmas. she's a 3T and the entire rack was full of mini skirts and mock belly shirts....and sequins everywhere (but not the cute sparkly princess sequins). the little boys clothes weren't much better....very influenced by the hip hop culture and not in the classy jay-z way. it was absolutely disgusting.

    the whole culture of child sexualization scares me, but bratz dolls scare me most. i honestly don't understand the appeal and won't buy them as gifts. i sound like such an old fogey. :smile:
  7. You also have to take into consideration how men interprete them. To me, fishnets are almost aways a turn on. A girl can wear them with a business skirt or school girl skirt and I'd get a bit tingly towards both. Marketing firms know this. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm going to treat a woman like sex object if she wears them, but it does turn me on.
    Oh, and I agree with the article. It bothers me to see young girls dressing like 20 year olds. It's like innocence is lost when they turn 7 these days.
  8. ^ agreed - and I don't get it anyway. you are much longer an adult than a child - so lots of time to wear women clothes.
    fishnets on a doll or even a little girl :yucky: so inappropriate... already you have to careful with your children/little girls and how some may live their rather pervy fantasies, so why fuel that as well?
  9. Now this is where I think it takes a wrong turn to me.
    That thinking in its most extreme way is what makes people wear stuff like burkas ("if you revealed yourself, men would have an excuse to rape you"). I know this is probably not what you ment, but I think there's a difference from sexual behavior and wearing clothes. When not working professionally I believe in as much freedom to wear whatever you want as possible. And if you're turned on by fishnets no matter what, even on a 8 year old... :confused1: Children in "grown up" clothes are still children. They look and sound different.

    That children should have their own "childish" style is quite a new invention historically. This practise started after the french revolution, and often the children's clothes were imitations of military uniforms for boys (like the classic navy outfit with a little hat). Before that children were dressed up as adults, but they were still children (look at f.ex las meninas by Velazquez), there was no reason to TREAT them like adults. CHildrens clothes were after they became common often more comfortable and enable the activity of children. These days there are more than enough clothes for grown ups that meet these requirements.

    Of course I do not believe that children should be exposed to things they cannot handle at a certain age. It's both society and parents job to keep them from such exposure. The main point is not the clothing, but behavior, like seen on MTV and through other media. It's the same thing as violent movies and video games, kids shouldn't have access to it before they can handle it.

    Also on the bratz issue, it's entertainment. Bratz are like cartoonfigures and frankly I wouldn't say bratz are less healthy when you see what some women do to look like barbie. And these are even grown women. I don't think Bratz ever will inspire that behavior because their looks are too far fetched.
  10. I used to work for Macy*s in the junior's department, and those baby tees they'd sell just bothered me.

    There was one that said, "Don't worry. I don't remember your name, either." (I'm sure we ALL know what that means!)

    Ugh! Why don't they just sell shirts that say "Cumdumpster" or "Jaibait" and be done with it? They're certainly heading in that directon!

    What happened to the innocent t-shirts? The ones that say "Blondes/Brunettes/Redheads Have More Fun" or "Blue/Brown/Green Eyed Girl"?

    We don't need to see 17 year olds wearing shirts that say "These Get Me Out of Tickets!"
  11. Abercrombie sure used to sell shirts that said "jailbait" and "your boyfriend said I was better". There was a huge deal with parents and Abercrombie. they finally toned it down to "One hitter quitter" which isn't any better, it promotes underage drinking. :rolleyes:
  12. Abercrombie used to sell a t-shirt that said "Spitters are Quitters!"

  13. Yeah, that's not what I meant. I was responding to Caitlin's comments about fishnets not always being sexual. To a lot of men, no matter what, they are. And no, if an 8 year old was wearing them, I wouldn't get turned on, but the fact still remains that to most men, when fishnets are worn by of age women, it's a turn on. Which is why I think they're being marketed in that way...towards tween and young teen girls, and it's uncalled for.

    Regarding burkas and rape and Islam, and I know I'm probably gonna get $hit for this, but as a woman, you should know that if you wear strappy heels, a miniskirt and a revealing top, you're going to be noticed by more men, and thusly perhaps targeted by men. Now, by no means am I saying any woman deserves to get sexually assaulted based on what she's wearing. We're rational beings and the ability to control our urges is what sets us apart from animals. I can certainly see a girl in fishnets or a see through shirt or a very short skirt and be turned on by it, but I don't feel that's an invitation for me to use her as a sex object. However, some men do, and that's reality. It would be great if you could wear whatever you wanted, as little as possible and be completely safe, but it's not like that. That's the thinking behind muslims and their burkas, but it is a bit extreme in that they're repressing women's rights under the guise of keeping them safe and pure, which only furthers the taboo of sexuality in their culture....which can also fuel the desire to take what you can't have (sexuality of women). I feel ultimately, it's counter productive. On both sides there are men who don't respect the sexuality of women and the fact the it's THEIR sexuality, and doesn't belong to others.
  14. I see Charles's point. Rape is never a woman's fault, but, ladies, don't wear clothes that make people stare at you if you don't want the attention.
  15. Sorry if it seemed rude. I'm glad you didn't take it badly. =) rest of this post is not really directed at yours. ;)

    Of course I'm aware of this and it has caused quite some debate here too as it has been used in court against rape victims. But f.ex. when I was visiting London girls were out in hardly anything at all no matter how the weather was, and it was to get easier into clubs. I think it depends on culture a lot. Many of those London girls and a some of women from eastern europe are dressed in a way that would make a lot of people here think they were prostitutes on sight. So what makes people "turned on" not only genetical but alo strongly depending on culture.

    The best example I can think of are the ganguro girls and the conception of "sexy" in japan. "Sexy" isen't a woman who appeals to men, but rather the image of a strong independant woman. This is shown by the amount of female fans of "sexy" artists versus the number of male fans for typically "cute", fragile and sweet girls. also the Ganguros, who looks like an exaggerated version of valley girls aren't dressing that way to appeal to men, but rather to stand out and because they feel out of place, much like the old punk and goth fashion of the west.

    Of course the revealing of skin mostly is somewhat aimed at opposite sex audience.

    Here are some examples:

    Sexy = strong independant woman (even with whips):

    ayumi - my name's woman (with spanish subs)

    Cute = (grown) male audience

    3nin matsuri - Chu! Natsu Party (Means Kiss! summer party)

    Aya Matsuura - Nee

    Commercial aimed at boys starring IIjima Ai, it's revealing, but not at all sexy.

    I think it can be compared to the trend in the 50s perhaps most obious in the songs of Frace Gall who was young, fragile and innocent singing toungue in cheek suggestive lyrics being to young to get the point of what she was really doing. The ideal and desirable woman was fragile, helpless and cute.