Study Shows Sexulatization of Girls Harms Their Emotional and Psychological Health

An American Psychological Association report released Monday has announced what many parents have already observed; advertisers promote sexuality to young girls, often to the harm of their emotional and psychological health.

From plummeting necklines to mini-skirts and tight-fitting shirts, young girls – not just teenagers – are being told that sexy is cool. Magazine and television ads and even the dolls on the market too often present girls in provocative clothing or stances, or have adult women posing as girls. The result, according to 300 studies the APA analyzed over the past year-and-a-half, is that pre-teen girls are facing depression, eating disorders, and an overly sexualized view of themselves.

The report was particularly critical of the Bratz dolls, which are marketed to girls ages 5-8.  These dolls wear heavy makeup, have pouty, red lips, and often wear immodest clothing.

"The consequences of the sexualization of girls in media today are very real and are likely to be a negative influence on girls’ healthy development," said Eileen Zurbriggen, the APA’s task force chairman. "As a society, we need to replace all these sexualized images with ones showing girls in positive settings. The goal should be to deliver messages to all adolescents — boys and girls — that lead to healthy sexual development."

Dr Jean Kilbourne, co-author of an upcoming book "So Sexy, So Soon: The Sexualisation Of Childhood", also believes that gender identity and values are being misdirected by sexualized advertising. She sees a direct link between sexual clothing and a high teen sex rate. Dr Kilbourne told The Daily Telegraph: "You see these clothes everywhere, tight T-shirts for little girls saying ‘so many boys, so little time’, that sort of thing."

The APA’s concern is mostly directed toward young females. However, further studies would most likely show that young men are also affected. Not only do ads place in girls’ minds the idea that they need to be sexy, but these ads also present to young boys an unhealthy view of what is feminine.  Boys’ expectations of what girls should wear are probably affected by these ads as well.

Unfortunately, girls may not realize how sexualized their views of femininity have become.  Many girls just think that what they are wearing is "cute" and do not realize the homing beacon they have become for sexual predators.  They need to know that even men with strong morals can get the wrong message when girls wear sexually-stimulating clothing. 

Parents do not need to let their girls be prey for a sexually charged culture. They can avoid buying their daughters provocative clothing or dolls. Beyond these things, however, parents should lovingly foster in their daughters and sons an appreciation for a Biblical view of feminine beauty. Fathers are important in their daughters lives, affirming and loving them and letting them know their value does not depend on looks. Parents should teach their children that modesty demonstrates respect; a respect for the God who created them as unique treasures, a respect for their parents, and a respect for themselves.

A sexualized culture too often presents girls as sex objects. Girls and boys must be taught to respect women as precious people for whom Christ died – and never as objects to be used.


About Ask Marion

I am a babyboomer and empty nester who savors every moment of my past and believes that it is the responsibility of each of us in my generation and Americans in general to make sure that America is as good or even a better place for future generations as it was for us. So far... we haven't done very well!! Favorite Quotes: "The first 50 years are to build and acquire; the second 50 are to leave your legacy"; "Do something that scares you every day!"; "The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place". At age 62 I find myself fighting inoperable uterine Cancer and thanks to the man upstairs and the prayers from so many people including many of my readers from AskMarion and JustOneMorePet... I'm beating it. After losing our business because of the economy and factors related to the re-election of President Obama in 2012 followed by 16-mos of job hunting, my architect-trained husband is working as a trucker and has only been home approximately 5-days a month since I was diagnosed, which has made everything more difficult and often lonely... plus funds are tight. Our family medical deductible is 12K per year for two of us; thank you ObamaCare. But thanks to donations from so many of you, we are making ends meet as I go through treatment while taking care of my father-in-law who is suffering from late stage Alzheimer's and my mother-in-law who suffers from RA and onset dementia as well as hearing loss, for which there are no caretaker funds, as I continue the fight here online to inform and help restore our amazing country. And finally I need to thank a core group of family, friends, and readers... all at a distance, who check in with me regularly. Plus, I must thank my furkids who have not left my side through this fight. You can see them at JustOneMorePet.
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