This morning I was on The Today Show talking about sexualization of girls, particularly as it pertains to the latest images we’ve seen (loungerie, push up bras for teens, 10 year old model in Vogue). What do you think?
We have been bombarded with sexualized images of young girls over the last few weeks, just in time for back-to-school season. Ten year old Thylane Loubry Blondeau in Vogue Magazine. A bra aimed at teens to help them appear 2 cup sizes larger (along with saucy music in the background of that commericial; “Do you want me? Do you need me? Baby!) Now, “loungerie” for children as young as age 4 years. Are we comparing apples to oranges?
No. I feel that we are seeing thread of sexualization of girls in all of these images. Meaning, that sexuality is inappropriately thrust upon these children through adult styling, adult make-up, and adult positioning that is incongruent with & harmful to our children.
Studies tell us that when girls are sexualized in these ways and when girls are exposed to images such as these, many turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as eating disorders & risky behavior. It can affect self esteem, body image & sexual health as they get older. This is not child’s play.
But how is a “lingerie company” supposed to advertise their garments then?
Not this way. Look; why a 4 year old would need a bra at all I don’t know. But plenty of companies advertise underwear in ways that don’t harm the children involved. The adult styling and adult positioning is sick.
This is happening in France, so why do we care?
What happens in France does not stay in France. These images clog up our airways and are sspread all over our internet. Now if we had the same number of positive, healthy images of girls and a mandatory dose of media literacy for our children, perhaps these types of images wouldn’t affect us as deeply. We need to demand more positive, healthy images of our girls and for our girls across the board.
Is the fashion world crossing a line?
Yes, the fashion world loves to push the envelope. Especially, and conveniently, around back to school time where this kind of hooplah gives them free advertizing. They may call this “fashion” or even “art” but let’s not mince words, this is sexualization. If it walks like a duck…it’s still a duck.
But these models have free will, right? They want to do this, right?
The idea of this being free will is absurd. These are minors who need their parents to step in and say, “no, not for my daughter.” Let’s get these beautiful girls in advertisements that are commensurate with the values we all find important—namely respect for ourselves and respect for the health and wellbeing of others.
Where can you go from here?
Please check back with us often as I think it’s vital that we talk about what’s happening in the world here at DrRobynSilverman.com There are also several other blog communities that can help parents with media literacy, opening up conversations about sexualization, and provide positive product lines counter to what have been touted in these ads. I urge you to check them out…and speak up! A collective shout is needed in order to make waves and SPARK change.
Shaping Youth: Media/Marketing influence on kids
Pigtail Pals: Site aimed to “Redefine Girly” and provide products with positive messaging about and for girls.
Spark Summit: A community devoted to eradicating the sexualization of girls.
APA Task Force Article on Sexualization of Girls
New Moon Girls: Magazine for Girls that allow girls to be girls.
From 10 yr old Models in Vogue to Loungerie for 4 yr olds? is a post from: Dr. Robyn Silverman – Child Development Specialist, Body Image Expert, Success Coach & the Creator of the Powerful Words Character Development System