You already know that television is full of inappropriate and unhealthy sexual content for children and teens. If you need any more reasons to turn it off and speak out, take a look at a new report by the Parents Television Council that documents the high level of sexualization of young teenage girls on broadcast tv, which backs up what you can see with your own eyes.
Among the findings, many more underage female characters than adults are shown in sexual depictions, and almost all of those are unhealthy sexual situations. At the same time, almost all of the underage female characters are portrayed as accepting their sexualization.
The PTC study is based on its analysis of the most popular broadcast shows among 12- to 17-year-olds, and builds on the February 2007 report by the American Psychological Association task force on the sexualization of girls in the media. The APA found that girls’ exposure to such content is linked to mental health problems such as eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression, among other negative consequences. The APA defines sexualization as occurring when a person’s value comes only from her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics.
The problem here is the power of television to influence culture. Former elite model Nicole Clark, director of the documentary film Cover Girl Culture, supported the findings, saying, “What I find most shocking about this study is that young teens ranked entertainment media as their top source for information regarding sexuality and sexual health and that media outranks parents and peers as the primary sexual educators of young girls.”
“Sexuality is an easy thing to prey upon in young girls and boys – it’s the most obvious source of potential anxiety because they don’t have healthy understandings about sexuality,” she said. “Tweens and teens are very impressionable when it comes to fitting in, being loved and accepted. Advertisers know this, show creators know this. It’s part of their formula.”
See her interview on CNN here.
Los Angeles Times blog
Mamarazzi Knows Best
Go to the APA task force report to learn what parents can do.