Combating The Sexualization of Girls…The Right Way

Combating The Sexualization of Girls…The Right Way |

Feminists against sexualization want women to be able to explore their sexuality without having to live up to impossible standards that lead to low self-esteem, eating disorders, and unhealthy sexual choices. And so they oppose the imposition of a male-oriented sexuality on women. Therefore their issue isn’t just that teen girls on TV have sex or engage in sexual behavior like suggestive dancing or making out. Instead, their concern is that teen girls on TV are often reduced to sex objects or miniature versions of sexual stereotypes: temptresses, vixens, sluts.

As the mother of a small girl, (and as an ex-teenage girl myself) these kinds of issues concern me greatly.  I remember how hard I found it to define my own sexuality as something personal and separate from the onslaught of sexual images from popular culture and from the pressure and judgements of the adolescent lads around me. I was lucky enough to have an understanding, adventurous boyfriend to practice with. But I was on my own when it came to the larger issues of how girls and women are defined in our culture.

And, I don’t get the impression that things have improved since I were a lass. In fact they may have gotten worse – feminism and its aims seem to have vanished from the mainstream, women are re-arguing the work vs. motherhood dilemma off in a corner, and images of women and girls presented in the media and arts are more sexualized than ever.

I wonder what the world will look like when it comes time for Petra to make her way into adulthood. I can only hope that it’s better.

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4 Responses to Combating The Sexualization of Girls…The Right Way

  1. iamroewan says:

    It’s not all bad. Some things have improved for women (in Canada at least) since I was a teenager and then in my early 20s going to school and looking for work. I remember being told flat-out out in a 1975 job interview with a major oil and gas company that they were not hiring women. And this was for work in IT!

    I did eventually get a job working for a large computer manufacturer. I was the first female employee in Canada who wasn’t a secretary or assembly-line worker. I remember being constantly inundated with apologies from the men for swearing within my hearing. I had to learn quickly how to traverse the slippery slopes of men’s perceptions: fragile doll, potential hot date, naive blonde, productive member of the team.

    Re the open sexualization of young women in the media…yeah, I agree it’s worse now than it was back then. But I also get the impression from the young women I know that they have more choices and more control/power over it than women my age had. When they speak out, people listen. They aren`t laughed at or ignored or subjected to sarcasm – the usual reactions in my youth.

    • Janettes says:

      You were a pioneering type then. Part of that wave of women breaking into new areas of the workforce. You made it easier for women like me. It was already different when I started working – my boss had no qualms hiring a couple of female English grads to be sysops. He thought we’d have better people skills than his male staff. The guys also had no qualms about swearing like sailors in front of anyone who happened to be passing by. (Which is just as well because I hate it when people apologise for swearing – it’s so patronising.) It was in that job that I learned just how valuable and versatile a word ‘fuck’ can be! Speaking as we were of swearing….
      They were a dodgy bunch in many ways. It was a very blokey environment. But it was also a remarkably tolerant one – you could be as eccentric as you wanted to be and they were fine with it.
      I hope you’re right about the higher status of young women now. I want Petra to be able to speak up for herself without being laughed at or ignored or subjected to sarcasm. And I want her to feel that she’s seen as equal to not inexplicably less than the boys/men around her.

  2. Ted says:

    Maybe allowing the early sexualization of girls on your own moral grounds could be the freedom your daughter, and similarly every girl child in western civ, might need in order that she come, in full knowledge of her femininity, to a state of natural fecundity?

    For what else must a girl desire than to be swollen by the mighty man she roped onto her rapidly sinking ship?

    Youth needs to spawn as early as possible, for for every wasted egg and sperm, a young genius unfolds not…not – and in a place where he would – in the lust of animal desire.

    We monkey brains have insights awakened only by the smoldering crush of adolescent love. It’s a biological imperative, and I admire youth for having the libido to act on it.

    To tell women that they need to be more than the genii of perception that is their natural gift, is to conform to ideals postulated by gay, or other wise antisocially inclined, men of the Christian era. Think twice before you adopt any ideal of a Christian Church.

    • Janettes says:

      The point of the article and my point as well, is not that young women shouldn’t be sexually active, but that they should be free to define their own sexuality outside the strictures and structures imposed on them by male views of sexuality.

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