Who should be responsible for obesity? When it comes to the topic of America’s social problems, most of us will readily agree that the obesity epidemic is one of the….
Little Miss Oversexualized
Little Miss Over Sexualized The way that media portrays children today is just plain disgusting. Not only is it inappropriate, it also severely damages the self-esteem of children all over the world. When companies like Vogue put out advertisements of children as young as 10 years old dressed in skimpy clothes, full make-up, and posed very provocatively what does that say to every day children? This is how you need to look to be “beautiful” or this is how they need to dress and act to be one of the “cool kids”?
The media, whether it is television, magazines, or newspaper are causing huge problems to the self-esteem of children today, especially young girls by putting out advertisements that over sexualize them. Established in 1892 and begun printing advertisements in 1909 Vogue Magazine has been the authority on high class fashion for the past one hundred plus years. (History of 1)In January 2011 edition of French Vogue published a full 15 page spread featuring Thylane Loubry Blondeau a 10 year child model in full make-up, dressed in stimulating clothing, and posed very provocatively.
Needless to say this caused a big controversy about over sexualizing children, not only in France but around the world. “In Britain, Labor Parliament Member Helen Goodman called the photos ‘disgraceful and totally irresponsible…Vogue has descended into the gutter by doing this’ (10-year-old 1). Although most of these ads are not aimed directly at small children and pre-teens, they are viewed by them and the effect it is having on them is devastating. Children are developing several different emotional, psychological and physical issues.
These issues include but are not limited to: inability to relate to peers, eating disorders, depression and even promiscuity. In her article “Sex images in media harming kids’ mental health” Janelle Miles, a long time journalist for the Australian news publication “The Courier-Mail” writes: “Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists president Louise Newman said ‘evidence was emerging that childhood exposure to developmentally inappropriate sexualized images and messages was associated with low self-esteem, depression and eating disorders’.
Professor Newman said child psychiatrists were seeing an increasing number of younger children presenting with negative self-esteem and body image issues. Exposure to sexualizing messages contributes to girls defining their self-worth and popularity in terms of sexual attractiveness, with negative impact on self-esteem,’ Prof. Newman said. ‘Excessive focus on appearance and a narrow definition of attractiveness has been found to contribute to the development of abnormal eating behaviors and a lack of positive body image.
What’s particularly concerning is some primary school-aged children, and even preschoolers, are presenting with some of these concerns. ‘I’ve seen children as young as four telling me . . . they’re ugly’. That’s appalling. Children are very receptive and influenced by what’s in the world around them” (Miles 1). Although children are being exposed to a barrage of over sexualized print ads, the media does not stop there. Over the last twenty years television shows and commercials have begun to over sexualize young children and teens at an alarming rate.
In 1995 the “Parent Television Counsel was founded to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1. 3 million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards.
Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment” (PTC Study 1) Increasingly alarming are the Television shows such as “Toddlers in Tiaras” and “Little Miss Perfect” showing parents pushing children as young as 2 years old to compete in beauty pageants. The parents scream and yell at these young children and sometimes guilting them into participating in these pageants. These kids are put into frilly dresses, make-up caked on their little faces, and they are told “if they don’t win mommy will be disappointed. What kind of message does this send to children who are in the middle of developing their identity? Interestingly in December 2010 the PTC completed a study called “Tinsel town’s New Target: A study of Teen Female Sexualization on Primetime TV. The content of this report was based on the most popular prime time shows among 12-17 year olds during the 2009-2010 television seasons. The following are some alarming facts produced from that report: Underage female characters are shown participating in a higher percentage of sexual depictions compared to adults (47% and 29% respectively).
Only 5% of the underage female characters communicated any form of dislike for being sexualized (excluding scenes depicting healthy sexuality). Out of all the sexualized female characters depicted in the underage and young adult category for the entire database, 86% were presented as only being of high school age. Seventy-five percent of shows that included sexualized underage female characters were shows that did not have an “S” descriptor to warn parents about the sexual content.
Based upon a definition established by the American Psychological Association of “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” sexuality, the study findings show that 93% of the sexual incidents involving underage female characters occurred within a context that qualified as “unhealthy. ” The data revealed that 98% of the sexual incidents involving underage female characters occurred outside of any form of a committed relationship. The data show that 73% of the underage sexualized incidents were presented in a humorous manner or as a punch line to a joke. PTC Study 1) Tim Winters the President of the PTC said “The results from this report show Tinsel town’s eagerness to not only objectify and fetishize young girls, but to sexualize them in such a way that real teens are led to believe their sole value comes from their sexuality. This report is less about the shocking numbers that detail the sickness of early sexualization in our entertainment culture and more about the generation of young girls who are being told how society expects them to behave”( PTC Study1). Contrary to the belief in this country, children of today’s society are not stupid.
It has long been said by many different expert that children’s brains process and absorb information twice as fast as an adult. Benjamin Barber a renowned political scientist who earned his Ph. D. from Harvard University in 1966 writes in his 1993 article “America Skips School. ”: “The young, with their keen noses for hypocrisy, are in fact adept readers-but not of books. They are society-smart rather than school-smart, and what they read so acutely are the social signals emanating from the world in which they will have to make a living.
Their teachers in that world, the nation’s true pedagogues, are television, advertising, movies, politics, and the celebrity domains they define. We prattle about deficient schools and the gullible youngsters they turn out, so vulnerable to the siren song of drugs, but think nothing of letting the advertisers into the classroom to fashion what an Advertising Age essay calls ‘brand and product loyalties through classroom-centered, peer powered lifestyle patterning’”(116). In conclusion advertisements that over sexualize children are not going to stop.
The government needs to listen to the hundreds of studies that have been completed to show that these advertisements have a huge psychological and sometimes physical impact on children, and they need to put a stop to it. Parents, start teaching your children that they do not have to be a super model to be a good person, just be themselves. Works Cited Barber, Benjamin R. “America Skips School. ” Writing On The River. 3RD ed. Chattanooga: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012. 116. Print. Graff, Amy. “10-year-old Fashion Model Sparks Debate | The Mommy Files | an SFGate. om Blog. ” The Mommy Files | an SFGate. com Blog. SFGate, 9 Aug. 2011. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. “History of Vogue Magazine. ” History of Vogue Magazine. Vouge Magazine, n. d. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. Miles, Janelle. “Sex Images in Media Harming Kids’ Mental Health. ” CourierMail. Couriermail. com. au, 17 Mar. 2010. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. “PTC Study: Sexualized Teen Girls Are Tinseltown’s New Target. ” PTC Study: Sexualized Teen Girls Are Tinseltown’s New Target. Parent Television Council, 25 Dec. 2010. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. .