SPARK: Sexualization of Girls and the Consequences

Hardy Girls, Healthy Women
Monday 12/06 @ 7 PM Pacific — 10 PM Eastern

BettyJean is joined by Renee Randazzo & Jackie Dupont to talk about The Hardy Girls Healthy Women Training Institute and the wonderful work they are doing. SPARK in October really caught my attention.
Join us tonight at 10 PM Eastern

SPARK Summit: Pushing Back on the Sexualization of Girls!

The SPARK Summit: Sexualization Protest:  Action, Resistance, Knowledge

This day-long summit will bring 200 girls and young women (ages 14-22) and 200 adults to Hunter College in NYC on Friday, October 22nd to challenge the sexualization of girls by engaging girls to be part of the solution rather than protecting them from the problem. 

The day will feature workshops for girls and adults, action stations, meetings with celebrities & girl activists, exhibits, performances, protests, opportunities to create media, an Intervene on Halloween costume show, and more! 

We’re confident that the SPARK Summit will be the launch of the most important social movement for girls (and for all of us) in the 21st century!  Together, we’ll create enabling conditions necessary for all girls to be strong, healthy, and connected.  An absolutely amazing coalition of individuals and groups from around the country have come together as SPARK partners, ensuring big success for this movement.  Will you join us?

The American Psychological Association (APA) suggests that the proliferation of sexual images of girls and young women in the media is harming their self-image and development.

An APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls examined research papers covering the effect of all kinds of media content including television, music videos, magazines, video games, the Internet, movies, and music lyrics. They also looked at the way products are sold and advertised to young girls.

The Task Force described sexualization as: “when a person’s value comes only from her/his sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics, and when a person is sexually objectified, e.g., made into a thing for another’s sexual use.”

The report suggests that the volume of sexualized images has increased as more media content exists over a wider range of accessible technologies, leading to increased exposure and pressure on young girls. Attitudes of family members and friends can also increase the pressure.

“We have ample evidence to conclude that sexualization has negative effects in a variety of domains, including cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, and healthy sexual development,” said Dr Eileen Zurbriggen, Chair of the APA Task Force.

“The consequences of the sexualization of girls in media today are very real and are likely to be a negative influence on girls’ healthy development,” she said.

They gave examples of images from advertising. One featured a well known female pop star, Christina Aguilera, advertising a trainer. She was dressed in school uniform, with an unbuttoned shirt and licking a lollipop.

The report suggests that the sexualization of girls impedes the healthy development of a girl or young woman in several different areas. For example by undermining her confidence and making her feel dissatisfied with her body, this can result in negative self-image and lead to feelings of shame and anxiety.

Also, a body of evidence now links sexualization with several of the most common mental health problems in young women and girls: eating disorders, low self -esteem and depression. And there is also the increased chance that it will impact a girl’s ability to develop a healthy sexual self-image.

The Task Force suggests that parents have a strong influence in this area. They could wittingly or unwittingly be contributing to the problem, or they could protect their daughters by educating them and supporting them to overcome the effects of the negative images they come across in their everyday lives.

They call on all members of the community – parents, teachers, school staff, health professionals to look out for the impact that sexual images might be having on the young girls and women in their care. Schools should teach media literacy and include sexualization topics in sex education, they say.

3 Responses

  1. What a wonderful organization and you had a great show tonight.

    Thank you for calling this group to our attention!

  2. Wow excellent blog article about the sexualisation of girls. The Youtube video does complement well with it. Even child beauty pageants also sexualise girls at a young age too.

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