University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
The Hypersexualization of American Tween culture: Has It Gone Too Far?
We project ignorance as an incurable bliss and less we understand the world the more it will hurt us. Every time an addiction comes up there is unending debate among experts on the underlying cause. Addiction may come in different ways, least we expect it. Sexualization is the ability, mostly in girls, to view themselves sexual in quality or character. Child Sexualization has now become an addiction throughout the universe. Many parents may see it as just a way of clothing but surely there is more to that in it. Our children are becoming aware of their sexuality at a tender age. Tweens, girls between the age of 10 and 12, as they are referred to as young for boys but old for toys are the leading lot in “hypersexualization”. Through things like parenting, clothe labels, explicit actions and manner, interest and music young girls have been painted as sex objects. I indent to discuss the way children sexualization has come to be, its effect to the child girl and how it can be controlled.
Photo shootings; the media of photo shooting is the greatest influence to hypersexualization of young girls. Young girls’ magazines showing photos of tweens in makeup, tights, high heels and expensive jewelry are leading in creating awareness of girls’ sexuality. Beauty pageant shows hosted by most of the clothe lines tend to influence them on what to wear. Mostly, these shows have been barred in country like France. Chantal Jouanno, former France Sports Minister said, “Let us not make our girls believe from a very young age that their worth is judged by their appearances.” If these shows will continue to show in our local TVs then the ecstasy of our girls wanting to be super humans and sexual heroines will skyrocket and never cease.
Clotheslines are the other major leading factor in girl child sexualization. Girls view themselves as sexy in certain attires. Throughout the globe all human being has to cover themselves. This is a world standard of living. Because of this clotheslines have sprung out like mushroom; ranging from mega to small clotheslines. They have been divided in classes like human race but they all have one thing in common; girl child sexualization. Most of their children sections have been invaded by the killer disease of sexualization. Research done recently show that 70% of the girls’ wears have been sexualized by only changing the color of the adult wear. The use of slinky materials, leopard prints and writing on girls’ clothes contribute equally in making girls aware of their sexuality.
TV shows majorly contribute to the erupting culture and addiction of girl’s sexualization. Most of the TV shows are rated as child friendly although parental guidance is required. In recent years 60% of the TV shows contain children related content. Out of this 60% almost 75% show sexualized media. Shows like “Toddler and Tiaras” created much tension with its sexulization of toddlers. The Learning Channel (TLC) released photos of three year old toddlers dressed like prostitute played in 1990 film “Pretty woman” and another photo in its Facebook page of a young girl dressed like Dolly Parton completely in padded bust an buttocks.
A 2005 Kaiser Family Foundation study found that between 1998 and 2005, the number of sex scenes on TV nearly doubled. During prime time 77 percent of shows included sexual content, averaging nearly six sex-related scenes per hour. Among the top 20 shows for teenagers, 70% included sexual content and 45% including sexual behavior.
Social media and musicians also promote sexualization of young girls. A dressing code has been adopted by most of our girls because they’ve seen people they cherish and love manage the same code. These girls see themselves as sex objects in those codes. Most of the female musicians dress up like this to just sell their music because sex is an addiction in the general way. It is a stereotype way of thinking that if they, tweens, are dressed like them they will attract more attention and friends. These sexual media photos of those stars send a wrong message to our girls.
Advertisement agents play a big role in this sexualization. The entire advertising houses try to capture the attention of every one. The more they make their adverts sexy the more they are entitled to bigger audience. For example, an advert on a big bill board on great houses for sale, instead of focusing on a house in general they advertise it using an almost naked woman covering herself with a pillow and the word 3d houses pasted on her skin. A few years ago it would have passed as soft pornography I guess. When a young girl sees this image her mind rings that only exposed body is important. Other advert shows young girls hiding in the bathroom using beauty lipsticks, spray, and wearing nail polish.
Sexualization has grown fast in the recent years due to increase in social media and technology. The over use of media and technology by young girls brings more cultural erosion than any wonder drug. There are more effects of this sexualization to the young girls. Below I discuss some of those effects.
Women objectification; sexy sells, is a slogan moving from one girl to the other. They think more about their sexiness than their future. They are evaluating themselves in terms of sexiness and their physical character. Due to media exposure they are thinking of going to size zero. Every tween thinks of herself as obese and wants to slim.
Sexualization reduces cognitive development. It has been proven scientifically that most of the girls exposed to hyper sexuality tend to develop their brain slowly. These are the girls made aware of their body at the tender age. Their eyes sight and erring ability develops slowly.
Poor sexual health; There is diminished sexual assertiveness among girls who had been exposed to sexualization at tender age. They are dissatisfied with their body and there is decrease in use of condom among them. There is sexist attitude among them and they also tend to have problems with intimacy among their age groups.
They suffer from mental and eating disorders. Every girl at this age tends to think of achieving size zero. Research done recently show that girls at the age of 10 to 14 think themselves as obese. 80% of these girls are dissatisfied with their body, 40% think of going on unhealthy diet, 20% among them are already on diet. The anxiety to be more slim and sexy is too much for them to hold on to. Depression also affect their judgment in every aspect of life.
Sexual harassment and exploitation; Boys judge girls and value them in terms of their sexiness. Their dressing, showing juicy curves, is more appreciated, hence more demand on child pornography. Cases like rape and sexual harassment happen to girls who are more exposed sexually than those covered from head to toe. There is decreased motivation to challenge gender based inequality with sexualized girls.
A survey done using parents and two photos; one showing a tween in tights and swimsuits and other wearing sweaters showed that parents viewed the girl in swimsuits as less competed, less moral, less intelligent and less self-respecting. Another survey done on the same girls attempting math exam showed that the girl wearing sweaters passed more that girls in swimsuits that were aware of their bodies. The same survey on boys had no effect on the same.
Low self-esteem is cultivated in the sexualized young girls. They are ashamed of their body and anxious of becoming sexier. Due to these, fewer girls pursue careers in technology, sciences, engineering and math. This has been cultivated by sexualization of young girls. They value sexual attractiveness more and tend to pursue careers which expose this sexuality.
Sexualization addiction is curable; we should fight gender inequality in mainstream media and girls shown respected non-sexualized women to be their role models. Girls should ask question about sexy images posted in social Medias. Boys should stand handy with girls to sexism. Everyone should write about it and reach like minds on the issues. Overuse of Photoshop in advertisement should be avoided and TV programs should reduce sexualized content.
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