Archive for February 21st, 2007

Happy Birthday to Dangerous Intersection

| February 21, 2007 | 4 Replies
Happy Birthday to Dangerous Intersection

One year ago, I made my first tentative post to this blog.  It was really a test more than a post, as were the handful of posts for the next two weeks.   We really didn’t get running until mid-March, 2006.   In that month of March 2006, “Grumpypilgrim” and I were happy to see that, on […]

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Astrophysicist Ashes: Sort of a Rambling Eulogy

| February 21, 2007 | 4 Replies
Astrophysicist Ashes: Sort of a Rambling Eulogy

Today is the first anniversary of my dad’s death. Yesterday I came home from the crematorium “with me dad took’d under me arm,” to badly paraphrase the children’s song about Ann Boleyn. Death doesn’t frighten me in an abstract way. I grew up with Tom Lehrer music, Charles Addams cartoons, Hitchcock short story books, and […]

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The effect of media images of sexed-up girls and women posing as adolescents

| February 21, 2007 | 13 Replies
The effect of media images of sexed-up girls and women posing as adolescents

According to a recent report by the American Psychological Association,

Inescapable media images of sexed-up girls and women posing as adolescents can cause psychological and even physical harm to adolescents and young women.

According to this APA report, the pressure of this “sexualization” can lead to depression, eating disorders, and poor academic performance. See, also, Yahoo’s article on this report.

What are the sources of these images? The report points to these examples:

Advertisements (e.g., the Skechers “naughty and nice” ad that featured Christina Aguilera dressed as a schoolgirl in pigtails, with her shirt unbuttoned, licking a lollipop), dolls (e.g., Bratz dolls dressed in sexualized clothing such as miniskirts, fishnet stockings, and feather boas), clothing (thongs sized for 7– to 10-year-olds, some printed with slogans such as “wink wink”), and television programs (e.g., a televised fashion show in which adult models in lingerie were presented as young girls).

It is difficult to not notice this modern smearing of the boundaries between female childhood and adulthood. Our media is obsessed with presenting images of women acting like little girls and little girls forced to act “sexualized.”

What’s the difference between “sexualization” and healthy sexuality? According to the APA report, “sexualization” occurs when

a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics;

a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy;

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