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Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:31 PM

The sexual objectification of little girls

This is from the American Psychological Association. It is about the sexualization and objectification of girls (and women), and the damaging effects it has upon girls, teens, women, and even on men. It’s excellent. The link is at the end.

Here’s a rough summary of what it’s about:

1) Women are too often portrayed in a sexual manner in the media and society

2) Exposure to the sexual objectification of women in the media affects how GIRLS conceptualize femininity and sexuality

3) A narrow, unrealistic standard of physical beauty is emphasized

4) GIRLS are portrayed in a sexualized manner (for example, with captions such as ‘naughty and nice,’ wearing feather boas, adult women being presented as if they were little girls, etc).

5) Parents (perhaps unwittingly) convey to GIRLS the message that maintaining an attractive appearance is the most important goal

6) GIRLS then themselves encourage one another to meet unrealistic goals of beauty and thinness

7) Products and clothes for girls are designed to sexualize them like sexy celebrities

8) GIRLS learn to treat themselves as objects to be looked at and evaluated for their looks (self-objectification)

9) Studies show that self-objectification impairs mental activities of computation and logical reasoning

10) GIRLS experience anxiety about their appearance

11) GIRLS experience mental problems as a result of objectification and self-objectification, such as eating disorders and low self-esteem

12) Studies have shown a direct relationship between the narrow representations of female beauty (example, a thin ideal) and eating disorders

13) Sexual objectification and self-objectification have been linked to diminished sexual health and sexual assertiveness in teens and adult women

14) Exposure to narrow ideals of female sexual attractiveness can affect men and make it difficult for men to find an ‘adequate’ partner

15) Sexual objectification of women causes sexism, as it forces women to conform to younger and younger standards of an idealized girlified female sexual ‘beauty’

16) The portrayal of women as sexual objects is directly related to fewer GIRLS pursuing careers in math, science, engineering, etc.

http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx

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Arrow 40 replies Author Time Post
Reply The sexual objectification of little girls (Original post)
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 OP
MindMover Dec 2011 #1
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #3
Mimosa Dec 2011 #2
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #4
Remember Me Dec 2011 #35
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #39
rhett o rick Dec 2011 #5
Demoiselle Dec 2011 #6
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #7
undeterred Dec 2011 #8
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #9
westerebus Dec 2011 #10
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #12
westerebus Dec 2011 #21
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #38
badtoworse Dec 2011 #23
Quartermass Dec 2011 #11
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #13
laundry_queen Dec 2011 #25
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #28
laundry_queen Dec 2011 #32
Dorian Gray Dec 2011 #34
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #37
Mopar151 Dec 2011 #40
Iggo Dec 2011 #14
customerserviceguy Dec 2011 #18
ZombieHorde Dec 2011 #33
Zorra Dec 2011 #15
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #16
WCGreen Dec 2011 #17
unkachuck Dec 2011 #19
Odin2005 Dec 2011 #20
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #31
xfundy Dec 2011 #22
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #30
elias7 Dec 2011 #24
laundry_queen Dec 2011 #26
obamanut2012 Dec 2011 #27
Sarah Ibarruri Dec 2011 #29
Remember Me Dec 2011 #36

Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:33 PM

1. where did you say that link is????

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Response to MindMover (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:35 PM

3. Oops, I'll edit and add it right now. nt

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:34 PM

2. You are right, Sarah.

To illustrate, why the heck is 'Toddlers and Tiaras' on TV?

BTW, if women didn't support and cooperate in the objectification and exploitation it wouldn't be possible to the extent it occurs.

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Response to Mimosa (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:36 PM

4. You're right.TLC is a whorish, bottom-line cable station, and will put anything revolting on the air

No matter what it is.

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Response to Mimosa (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 04:49 PM

35. Mimosa

 



BTW, if women didn't support and cooperate in the objectification and exploitation it wouldn't be possible to the extent it occurs.

You're absolutely right, but --

Aren't you blaming the victim here? WHY do women "support and cooperate in their objectification and exploitation" -- because it FEELS good? No! It's the way society taught them to be, to think, to regard themselves and other women.

Because a LOT of us do NOT support and cooperate it and it still goes on. Why is that? Because not enough of us don't support it. Not enough of us broke through the chain of that paradigm into the one that says the objectification of women in this patriarchal society is WRONG.

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Response to Remember Me (Reply #35)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 06:05 PM

39. And it's rampant. But maybe we women need to get the message out better

It's up to women to get out the message that the portrayal of girls as sexual, girls as needing to look gorgeous, girls as needing to be anorexic-skinny, girls as needing to get plastic surgery, is just plain wrong.

Getting the message out is not easy because there's lots of money in making women and girls feel they're not good looking as they are, so that they spend a lot on trying to be that unrealistic, fake, false ideal.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:45 PM

5. Well stated. nm

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:46 PM

6. Take a closer look at Shirley Temple movies...

Turn off the sound. The camera presents her as if she were a luscious ice cream Sundae.
...There's a lot of critical writing out there that cites the erotic nature of Shirley Temple movies..

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Response to Demoiselle (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:50 PM

7. True. They also were sexualized. She gave 'come hither' looks, etc.

I hadn't realized it till you mentioned it.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:57 PM

8. Its all common sense, really.

But I guess it carries more weight if its in a journal article.

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Response to undeterred (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:59 PM

9. Well, the sexualization of little girls has become SO rampant, we don't notice it

anymore.

It has to be pointed out. Then, when it's pointed out, is when people go, 'you're right!'

It's pervasive and all around us, unfortunately.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:59 PM

10. I feel sorry for the kids these days.

They can't be kids any more. And what the hell is a matter with the parents?

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Response to westerebus (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 09:05 PM

12. Nothing. They, too, are influenced by the media. Studies show the media influences the brain

And unless one is VERY conscious and very vigilant, one will be sucked up into the influence of the media.

That's why reports like these are so important. However, the media doesn't really place much focus on these. Only by posting them on the Internet will these be read and people realize the damage done by the sexual objectification of little girls by the media.

And you know what? Pedophiles must be having a field day because the sexual objectification of little girls in media so pervasive.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #12)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 10:50 PM

21. Something.

A little less being their BFF and a little more common sense might help. Could be my expectations of parenting are old fashioned? As to the pedophiles, I wonder if the crime statics reflect what's really going on. Then again a portion is in house and never reported.

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Response to westerebus (Reply #21)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 05:56 PM

38. Now there I agree with you. Parents are not supposed to be the best friend of their children

They're supposed to be the parents and caretakers, safeguarding their lives.

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Response to westerebus (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 11:09 PM

23. I am very inclined to agree with you

I think that being 8 - 12 years old today must be a lot more difficult today then when I was that age (around 1960). I played a lot of pickup baseball, fished down at a local pond and ice skated on the same pond in the winter. My date for the HS senior prom lived a few houses up the block and she was beautiful - (no, it wasn't long term for us, but last I heard, she was happily married with 4 kids which is really cool - I'm sure she was a great mother, likely a grandmother by now.)

In my mind, it comes down to stress. Looking back on my own upbringing, I realize I was very fortunate - I enjoyed being a child and a teenager in the 50' and early 60's. I'm optimistic things will turn around and someting approaching that lifestyle will re-emerge. I certainly hope so.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 09:04 PM

11. I don't watch crap like Toddlers And Tiaras.

 

I imagine all the adults who watch that show have boners.

Trying to turn toddlers into miniature adults sickens me.

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Response to Quartermass (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 09:08 PM

13. I've watched it twice, and it's sickening. But Toddlers and Tiaras isn't the only show

that sexually objectifies little girls.

Every visit a little girls' clothing department? Scary sometimes! Minis, high heels, mesh stockings, lipsticks, bikini panties not unlike Victoria's Secret, etc. etc. All manufactured for use by little girls.

And everything on TV and the media objectifies grown women, and little girls grow up watching this, and thinking it's normal and good.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 11:39 PM

25. When my oldest outgrew toddler sizes

I found all of the girls' clothing to be very sexualized - writing across the bum of pants, high heeled shoes, sequins, mini-skirts etc. I ended up sewing my own clothes for her, until I found some of the higher priced clothing, which was okay to buy even if it was very pricey because I have 4 kids of the same sex, so it all got handed down multiple times. But it was amazing to me how once kids grow out of 3X sizes, how horrible the clothes are. It wasn't just the styles, but the 'themes' - it went from teddy bears, kitties and cupcakes to large red lips, shoes, unrealistically slim females, lipstick, make up and sayings about shopping or beauty. ick ick ick.

As someone who grew up with a mother who put ALL emphasis on looks and figure to measure a woman's worth, I can tell you my self esteem WAS shot to hell, and I had all of the problems mentioned in the original post. I'm fighting like heck to not pass that on to my girls but it's not easy. At least one of them has picked up on the 'message' and is always wanting clothing much to 'old' for her. It's a societal issue. I can only do so much, and I DO talk about it to them - but the message is so powerful and pervasive.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #25)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 09:54 AM

28. I appreciate you explaining what you went through as you grew up

About clothing for girls: It is so sexualized that I frequently see no difference between girls' clothes and the clothes of any starlet, or someone walking the street trying to make a few bucks. It shocks the heck out of me.

That must've been incredibly difficult, growing up with a mother that placed a priority on looking good. You're an amazing woman to fight so hard to not pass on what was passed on to you.

I have TWO friends whose mothers were obsessed with their looks and weight. Both of their stories are so alike, it's almost enough to drive one insane, though one was from Tampa, Florida, and the other one was from Jacksonville, Florida.

Both mothers looked and behaved in identical ways (you'd have thought they were sisters, but they weren't). They were constantly on diets, when they said hello, the first topic of conversation always was whether they lost weight or not, whether the other person lost weight or not, etc. They were always concerned about how they looked in their clothing. They spent their life at the hairstylist. Their looks were everything!

If these women went to dinner with someone, they would eat 1/4 or less of the meal, and take the rest home or just leave it. They were overwhelmingly obsessed about fat and sweets. They looked in the mirror endlessly, trying to catch some little bit of 'fat' that might have suddenly appeared.

And of course, since they were both so alike, they also both tortured their little girls with warnings about not getting fat. They sure as hell didn't do this to their sons though! Makes me so mad!!

These mothers' girls BOTH developed anorexia (the sons did not develop eating disorders). One of these girls nearly died. One day I got the courage to ask the one that nearly died, why she lived that way, and felt she had to look so skinny. She told me that she couldn't BEAR the idea of ending up fat because 'no one' would love her if she were fat, since she wouldn't look good. The proverbial self-objectification. I asked her if she realized that was wrong to do, and she remained silent.

Anorexia and other eating disorders are linked to sexual self-objectification according to the APA.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #28)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 11:38 AM

32. Those poor girls

Those mothers sound exactly like my mother. Weight was always the first topic of conversation. Even recently, she went to visit our extended family and when she came back I got a detailed report on who gained, who lost, who ate what. I had to ASK about their jobs, spouses, etc because all my mother cared about was reporting on their weights.

Growing up every morsel that crossed my lips was evaluated for calories and fat content. If I complained that a half a sandwich for lunch didn't keep me full for more than an hour, my mother would tell me that something must be wrong with me because SHE was full on a half a sandwich for the entire day (and she'd even sometimes call me a little piggy for eating too much).

Instead of developing anorexia, the second I moved in with my now-ex-husband, and he told me to 'stop all the dieting crap', I ate freely for the first time in my life. I gained quite a bit of weight. Then I got pregnant and, well, after 4 kids I'm now obese. I do have legitimate medical issues that make losing weight hard (and that make me understand why I was always so hungry on my mother's cooking) but I do sometimes wonder if I stay this way as a big FU to my mother. I guess I want her to prove that she will love me even if I'm fat. So far, jury's out on THAT.

At any rate, I definitely don't want my girls to go through what I did. I was lucky that I didn't develop anorexia because I also truly believed no one would love me if i was fat. Deep down, I still believe that on some level. Part of the reason I held on to an abusive husband for so long was that I thought no one else would love a fattie like me.

I'm working on it. *sigh*



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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #32)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 04:07 PM

34. I had a lot of the same issues

with my mom growing up. Looks were important to her, and she raised me in much the same way your mom did you. I also gained a lot of weight in my adulthood, also as a big FU to her. I have lost most of my excess weight (though after having a baby last year, I need to drop about 15 - 20 lbs to get back to where I was before the baby... Um... yeah, it's not happening so easily. Andd you know what? I don't really care. My baby is more important to me than the lbs, so if I don't work hard enough at it, so what?

I think it's so important loving who you are no matter what. And weighing more or less doesn't change your essence. So embrace you, and you and your weight will do whatever you do. It does not make you a bad person. And if your mom treats you terribly because of it, that's her issue. If she's anything like mine, things won't change much once you lose weight.

Despite having lost 100 lbs before I was pregnant, my mom still criticized everything I ate. At a lunch, she removed a bread basket from me (Even though I had lost 100 lbs and was newly pregnant) because she was worried about the carbs I was eating. I had one piece. A lot of the fascination with diet is about control and their issues. It doesn't really get much better, even if you are at an "acceptable" weight. I am now in the high end of the proper weight range for me, and I feel fine. My mom still criticizes my food choices, though. Can't wait to see what happens if I dare use butter on a piece of bread at Christmas. LOL.

My husband, however, is supportive, and I feel like I've gotten way beyond those issues.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #32)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 05:48 PM

37. Your mom sounds exactly like the moms of these two girls (now women)!

You know, one of them is now heavy, but at least looks healthy. The other one continues to battle anorexia, and looks as if she were 30 years older than her actual age. Her skin is like a dark mustard-colored gossamer drape over her bones.

I'm sorry you went through all the weight obsession your mom had. I think growing up with the stress of being skinny and as attractive as a high fashion model, puts women under tremendous stress. I've often thought that most eating disorders women suffer from, from anorexia, to bulimia, to compulsive eating, are related to such stressors. I think we need to start a campaign against the standard female anorexic role models we are surrounded by.

I think that, coupled with the auto lifestyle we live in the U.S., makes the weight issue a nightmare.

This is unrelated to the sexual objectification of females, but whenever I have lived in Europe I've always weighed less than here in the U.S., and without ever visiting a gym, yet eating more food. Here in the U.S., I work out daily, and STILL have to be a bit cautious of what I eat. I attribute this to our U.S. lifestyle requiring driving and very little walking. I lived abroad for some years, returned for a few years, then went back abroad for a few years, and it had a natural yo-yo effect. 15 lbs. off, 15 lbs. on, then 15 lbs. off again, then 15 lbs. on again.

I think I'm going to post an article about anorexic models, which is very good.



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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #25)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 06:34 PM

40. My friends are buying "vintage" for their twins

She says that she won't dress her girls skanky - and that's most of what she finds in the stores.

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Response to Quartermass (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 09:31 PM

14. I can't imagine the kind of people...

...who find that shit entertaining.

I really can't.

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Response to Quartermass (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 10:29 PM

18. You know who I hope watches that show?

Lawyers. Ones who can help a divorced dad get custody of his daughter, when some sicko "mother" puts their child on display for perverts. That would gin up the publicity that this issue needs.

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Response to Quartermass (Reply #11)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 03:52 PM

33. The only people I know that watch the show are women.

Or maybe I should I say the only people I know that admit to watching the show are women.

My wife and I took an ethics class together, and we had formal class debates. Two women in the class admitted to enjoying the show.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 09:34 PM

15. That report is spot on. Thanks. nt

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Response to Zorra (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 10:19 PM

16. Thanks, Zorra. nt

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Response to Zorra (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 10:25 PM

17. Yep, I agree wholeheartedly.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 10:32 PM

19. K&R....n/t

 

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 10:39 PM

20. Some of the girls clothes we get into the thriftstore are really awful in this regard. Sickening.

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 10:04 AM

31. Oh, no doubt. They are imitation of really degrading women's clothes

I'd like to know what the heck is going through the minds of designers and manufacturers. I'd LOVE to find out how they come up with this garbage.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 10:58 PM

22. Revolting.

Advertisers often rely on sex and youth to sell their shitty products. The field became crowded with advertisers using the same angle, as they could see its effectiveness among competitors, so they intensified: MORE youth, MORE sex. Don't rinse, just repeat, repeat, repeat.

And it's not just in those sickening model contests featuring children (and now even babies) wearing provocative clothing, lipstick, etc. I've seen little girls practicing their "wiles" (which they can't possibly understand--except as something that is expected of them) as far back as 20 years ago; the source had to be their parents, thinking it "cute" for them to do so. I've seen it in my own family, which is composed almost entirely of Southern Batshits. It sickened me then as it does now.

I saw some online video recently showing teenage boys exhibiting similar behavior, mostly around body-image concepts, starving themselves to show their muscles, which will never grow if they starve themselves; younger children egged on to pretend they are "real men" when they're just 3-5 years old and can't possibly understand the adult concepts they're told to ape.

They are all encouraged by their parents, who are most likely (certainly) influenced by a sick f'n media climate (and, again, the "conservatives" push that crap on their kids as much or more than anyone).

I remember a kid I knew in elementary school--he "wanted" to be a Soldier--without even knowing what that meant, much less what it entailed. He wanted to please his parents, as we all do at certain ages.

I didn't keep up with him, so don't know if he came home in a box, an envelope, or whatever. I suspect he was gay, but who knows whether he ever gained enough self awareness to express himself whether it pleased his parents or not.

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Response to xfundy (Reply #22)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 10:01 AM

30. I agree that the conservatives push this crap more than anyone else in this country

By their adoration of unbridled capitalism, everything goes.

Isn't it something how children will pick up on and do whatever adults are pushing on them.

I shuddered when I read this which you wrote, because it's so spot-on:

"I've seen little girls practicing their "wiles" (which they can't possibly understand--except as something that is expected of them)"

With that, you summed it up perfectly! These things are expected of children, and if they are not expected, they are certainly the only things they grow up seeing, watching, hearing, knowing, and being told about, and if their own parents are okay with these things (or push them), what alternatives are there for kids?

Thanks for that great post!

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 11:32 PM

24. Is this new? Or news?

These points reiterate stuff that has been out there in medical and sociological literature for decades...

Only seems like it's getting worse on some fronts, though I would add that as someone in the medical field, I have observed a trend that many young woman (teens/early 20's) are surprisingly comfortable in their bodies regardless of body type or body mass index (body fat measurement). That, at least seems encouraging towards breaking the shackles of social expectation...

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Response to elias7 (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 11:49 PM

26. Completely guessing

but it seems to me that my generation was raised with a heavy emphasis on weight and looks. Now our children are hitting their teens and 20's and I think most of my generation has made an effort not to raise their children to feel like their worth is tied to their looks (because of the issues we had to deal with being raised like that). It's a generalization but I see it a lot with other moms of my age focusing on achievements and personality - while I remember my mom and my friends' moms always talking about weight and looks as if that was all that mattered. I don't once remember them talking about 'it matters what's on the inside'. And now there are a lot more examples of different body types in the media than there used to be and programs in school that help girls deal with self esteem issues. Baby steps, but hopefully your observations mean it's helping.

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Response to elias7 (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 11:50 PM

27. Yes, to many people

And, since it's still happening, and maybe getting worse, iy's definitely news.

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Response to elias7 (Reply #24)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 09:57 AM

29. I've noticed no difference in the degree to which media sexually objectifies women


So if you have personally noticed some girls feeling better about themselves, I suppose that's good. I'd be the first one to be glad. Maybe there are forces at work out there. It certainly is not because the media has stopped representing women as if women were sexual things.

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Response to elias7 (Reply #24)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 04:59 PM

36. Yes and no.

 

It's not new -- the objectification of women has been going on forever. But the sexualization and objectification of little girls is newer, and out of control. It ALL gets worse all the time. '

And since not enough people seem to CARE about it (it's only women; it's only girls's lives at detriment so who cares?), it bears repeating.

Do you object?

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