'The Lolita Effect' markets sex to tweens
IOWA CITY, Iowa (UPI) -- Media reinforce a female ideal of being svelte and voluptuous, a body not found in nature, requiring near-starvation and plastic surgery, a U.S. expert says.
Gigi Durham of the University of Iowa and author of "The Lolita Effect" did 13 years of research, immersing herself in magazines, movies, TV shows, catalogs and Web sites aimed at girls ages 8 to 12 from Cosmo Girl to "Hannah Montana."
Durham says tweens are given a steady diet of sexuality myths including:
-- If you've got it, flaunt it and bare the "Barbie body" as often as possible. This excludes a lot of girls from enjoying and recognizing pleasure in their own bodies.
-- Representations of sexual girls are getting younger and younger. It encourages sexualization of girls too young to make good decisions about sex and legitimizes the idea that young girls should be looked at as sexual partners. In Britain, preschoolers can learn to strip with their very own Peekaboo Pole-Dancing Kits.
-- Media aimed at children, such as PG-13 "slasher" movies, convey the message that violence is sexy or that sex should be violent.
-- Girls don't choose boys; boys choose girls -- and only hot girls.
Copyright 2008 by United Press International