Staying Informed — Sexualization

I guess this kind of links up with a previous post. I was on CNN today lurking through the opinion section and found Don’t Dress Girls Like Tramps. While I agree, I thought it was kind of an abrasive title. So I went to check it out. And I read the evidence to validate this guy Granderson’s claims.

The Sexualization of Young Girls.

Granderson makes it simple. Imposing the narrow ideas of beauty upon girls at a young age is linked with the three most common mental health problems of young girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression.

When I talked about eating disorders a few posts ago, I blamed the media for its strong influence on college aged students. Its easier for me to address factors that would affect college students than young girls (I relate slightly better to a 20 year old over a 10 year old). Granderson, interestingly enough, lays the blame for sexualization and its related disorders primarily upon parents.

He makes a valid case. How many 10 year olds are shopping alone, with their own money, and then will proceed to buy an Abercrombie push up bra?

I can read studies like this and understand why. Why problems exist, what is causing these issues. But it’s harder for me to find a place to move forward, asking how can we change this?

Obviously you cannot control what information your child gets from their friends or classmates. But parents can definitely take a stand in the household, where media is more readily available. Furthermore, parents do not need to be buying their children material or clothing that promotes age inappropriate ideals.

But even saying “age inappropriate” is like justifying these ideals for young adults and up. And I disagree. Like I said before, the present narrowness of beauty shouldn’t persist for any generation. I just think that childhood is a critical period for learning and acquiring morals and ideals, and that there must be a greater push to protect girls and boys from sexualization at a young age.

If you have time read the study . Its startling. The fact that our government is issuing a grant for studies of sexualization should affirm its realness in our society. I don’t want to grow up in a world where the majority of girls have eating disorders or mental distress trying to satisfy a nearly unreachable ideal. I don’t want my kids to grow up in such a world. I’m not an extremist in my views, I just think our society as a whole needs to take a serious look at these issues and decide if this is something that should persist or be vehemently addressed.

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