Sexualization of Young Girls in the Media

Nowadays, the desire to look sexy is being emphasized in incredibly young ages of women. When I flip through TV channels, it discomforts me to see seven-year-old girls parading around in padded bras and high heels. The reality TV show “Toddlers and Tiaras” blatantly promotes this weird sexualization of a child who is supposed to look like an adult with a ton of sex appeal. The increased sexualization of little girls presents a plethora of psychological issues: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and low-self esteem.

Some may argue that the concept of “Toddlers and Tiaras” and similar reality TV shows is “harmless” and “cute,” but I disagree. The brazen objectification of young girls places unnecessary pressures on children to obsess over their physical attributes. It is devaluing and teaches girls to obsess over superficial characteristics instead of pursing their intellectual abilities. It is hard enough already for women to feel emotionally secure in this society, which constantly bombards us with unrealistic standards of beauty. Why place this same burden on a child?

In the media, there is a strange paradox where women are infantilized and portrayed in very child-like poses, whereas young girls are sexualized and made up to look like adult women. In both scenarios, nobody is empowered.

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One Response to Sexualization of Young Girls in the Media

  1. sdavis2012 says:

    I agree that these television shows are a problem. You make a very good point with the paradox you mentioned. Often, many people express their frustration and anger with the mothers on Toddlers and Tiaras. Personally, I feel sorry for the mothers just as much as the daughters. The mothers are subconsciously dumping their insecurities (that society has created) on their daughters, as their mothers probably did them. In this way, a poor sense of self –image is a vicious cycle that’s hard to break. Actress Jada Pickett Smith said it best: “This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self- determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are HER domain…little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother’s deepest insecurities, hopes and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be.”
    Parents (especially fathers) can be hard on their sons when it comes to competitive sports. I think it is just as damaging as pageants are for girls. I’ve been to games and track meets where parents put way too much pressure on their kids. I’ve seen a boy get yelled at for crying. Sometimes people forget that little boys are young children, and expect them to show no pain or fear. It seems as if boys are rushed into “manhood”, whereas women are infantilized. This goes to show that sexism is everybody’s problem.

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