July 14, 2008

Sexualization of Young Girls

In today's culture of "live and let live", I don't know how to get across the point that it is everyone's responsibility to voice concern regarding the media's sexualization of young girls (or better yet: any woman). I hope to provide my child with the love and support to face the negative imagery that she is bound to come across. But she will still have to live in a world where most people don't seem to care.

In an article about a study from the UK:
Dr. Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation which worked on the study, said, "Girls and young women are being forced to grow up at an unnatural pace in a society that we, as adults, have created and it's damaging their emotional well-being."

Results of a study conducted by the American Psychological Association (2007), summarized here:

Research evidence shows that the sexualization of girls negatively affects girls and young women across a variety of health domains:

Cognitive and Emotional Consequences: Sexualization and objectification undermine a person's confidence in and comfort with her own body, leading to emotional and self-image problems, such as shame and anxiety.

Mental and Physical Health: Research links sexualization with three of the most common mental health problems diagnosed in girls and women-eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression or depressed mood.

Sexual Development: Research suggests that the sexualization of girls has negative consequences on girls' ability to develop a healthy sexual self-image.

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