After finishing reading the last lines of the Sexualization of Childhood,
it took a long-deep breath to be able to stand up, and several days of semi-comatic shock to recover. I thought I had heard it all, but guess that I hadn't. I haven't had a sheltered life by any means, but what was related in this book was something shocking. What is happening behind the scenes in the United States, Eastern Europe and other countries in the way of pornography and the exploiting of children is beyond imagination.
That the Internet is being used to such a large extent for pornography in such a short time that it has been in existence is remarkable. According to the statistics quoted in this book, 30% of all searches in Internet Search Engines are for pornography.
The Sexualization of Childhood
compiles articles in chapters by eight contributing authors as well as the introduction and conclusion by the Editor, Sharna Olfman, who has edited a series of book that deal with children's issues. The books that she has released are All Work and No Play (2003), Childhood Lost (2005, No Child Left Different (2006) a Child Honoring: How to Turn this World Around (with Raffi Cavoukian (2006), and Bipolar Children (2008).
Does viewing child pornography lead one to sexually acts against children? It would seem that the answer to that question is yes, according to the statistics compiled in The Sexualization of Childhood.
How many photos are uploaded daily on the Internet of photos related to child pornography? According to the statistics in The Sexualization of Childhood,
20,000. daily. Is child pornography accessible on Google and Yahoo search engines? Again the answer is yes. What are Teen Sex
sites that are widely available on major Search Engines? Also, why are girls reaching puberty at a much younger age today than 100 or even 50 years ago? A most thorough and reasonable explanation is offered here.
The Supreme Court of the U.S. in a landmark decision, while continuing to give an illegal status to child pornography of teens and children under the age of 18, allows the distribution of pornography marketed as child pornography, with photos of teens the age of 18 or older. Pornographers deliberately search for young looking models to pose and convey the image of children in these Teen Sex sites, even dressing these as children or with childish props. Thus, a "seamless bridge" is created from adult pornography to child pornography. It is a bridge that some cross without realizing they are crossing it, in this addictive, druglike activity of online pornography.
Advertising, Children's Television, Magazines, Cartoons, Disney, (some current) Children's Dolls, much Popular Music and Music Videos...Contribute to the Sexualization of Children
The bridge towards the sexualizing of children involves such activity as advertising in magazines, television, and in movies. Advertising on the television such as that of Calvin Klein, 15 year old Brooke Shields, Britney Spears, at 17, who used the director of The Devil in Mrs. Jones to choreograph her music first music videos, and who sexily-donned childish clothing for her dance moves to music, as well as magazines such as Cosmopolitan, and other "soft porn," such as Victoria's Secret, where in television broadcasts, sexy Victoria's Secret models dress in childlike girls' sexy garb along with the typical Victoria's Secret go-go worthy lingerie.
Cartoons such as Disney films for children, with sexy cartoon characters, and the prostitute-like Bratz dolls for little girls are also part of the scheme which brings sexuality into a child life and heart. Also, not mentioned in this account is the Nicolodeon television network for children which pits pre-adolescent Nat the Girl Magnet with sexy 20 and 20+year olds in "situations" for pre-teen viewers as young as four years old. And, in the child's pop world, Disney reared Hannah Montana
, Miley Cyrus, crossed the line from sexy-cute child pop idol to a full-fledged sex-symbol with her nude and sexy photos, some of which were reportedly with posed with her father. at 15 years old, in Vanity Fair, which. Spears, similarly is a Disney production, having been a modern Mousketeer.
And the Spice Girls mentioned in The Sexualization of Childhood,
and how it affects the behavior of preschool girls, has been supplanted with the even sexier Cheetah Girls, also a Disney production. The modern Disney is a bit different than the family values, squeaky clean Mickey Mouse image it tired to project in the 1960s and prior. It has become something of a sexual-music and television production factory for preteens. This is daily staple for millions of children.
Finally, YouTube videos, which one could say are 50% harmless, and 50% porn, rough porn and semi-porn, are freely available, accessible and downloaded by children, teens, and even young children in public schools at times. Finally, finally, in print, the documentation of children's exposure to pornography, more common that we might think, from pre-teen years, helps to alert parents and educators to the dangers for children from the Internet and so many other sources, and how it can affect a child's psychological, emotional and sexual profile.
All of these factors tends to both awaken sexuality in children, as well as weaken their resistance to sexual suggestions by predators or others. Amazingly 70% of sexual photos and videos involving children are through family, or persons close to the family, rather than strangers.
The Sexualization of Childhood
is a needed documentation of what is happening in the world with realization to the subtle desensitizing and acceptance of the sexualizing of children. and what is happening on the Internet. It is deliberately shocking in some of its chapters, so the reader might want, as I did, to not delve too deeply, and skim over a couple of the sections.
It is necessary because, of the many bridges that are created from an innocent appearing starting point, to that of actually abusing children.
Some of the contributors to The Sexualizing of Childhood
Sharon Cooper, of the University of North Carolina
- Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. An expert in Internet crimes and prostitution.
Gail Dines, a professor of sociology and women's studies at Wheelock College in Boston,
and the co-author of Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality, as well as a school textbook on Gender and the media. She is an expert on the impact of pornography on women's lives as well as its impact on children.
Matthew Ezzell is an antiviolence activist and PhD. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Melissa Farley is a clinical psychologist and research on international prostitution how has written two books on the subject.
Dianne Levin is a professor of education who is an expert on the impact of violence and media
on children's development and has published eight books, the latest of which So Sexy So Soon (co-authored with Jean Kilbourne). Susan Linn is a psychologist at Judge Baker Children's Center and Harvard Medical School and also an author of two books on the subject.
Margo Maine is a clinical psychologist who is a specialist in eating disorders
for over 25 years and has also authored a number of books on the subject. The link between media, advertising and eating disorders is clearly elucidated in this essay.
Sandra Steingraber is a biologist who included scientific evidence that answers the question why girls are reaching puberty at an earlier age,
and Carolyn M. West is an associate professor of psychology who writes on interpersonal violence and sexual assault.
Should you read The Sexualization of Childhood?
For any psychologist, social worker, or Treatment team member (in a public or private school), grade school or high school, The Sexualization of Childhood
is required reading. Too many psychiatrists and others in the mental health field totally ignore the effects of both the power of the media on the mind of a child, in fact to find one who gives any thought to it would be extremely unusual, it is generally not being considered, and the
sexual abuse of children
is something that many times, may not be noticed by mental health
in both the public and private sector.
In public schools psychologists and especially
might "miss" this vital clue, and start to aggressively treat children with pharmaceuticals, when in fact the source of their mental health "disorders" is deeply rooted in abuse, sometimes years of abuse. Pressed for time, a
mental health professional
, strongly entrenched in the
: label a list of symptoms and prescribe medication, a way of treatment that has been largely discredited, but that is still the most widely practiced form of psychiatry, may fail to perceive that a child has been or is being abused, and pharmaceutical treatment then, is not helping at all, but rather exasperating an already horrific problem. All this through the auspices of the public school mental health system.
Principals, unaware of the problems associated with abuse, sometimes administer stern discipline and verbal abuse, rather than compassionately helping, advising and protecting, as a person in the position of oversight over hundreds of children should do. Every principal in the U.S., in the world, should be aware of the social dynamics that are documented in The Sexualization of Childhood. Why not purchase the book as a gift to your principal? The same can be said for all teachers, especially special education teachers, school nurses and social workers, ministers and pastors, and legislators and politicians, anyone whose work could have an impact on children, the least of which would be parents.
Most parents need a wake up call, to get shocked out of materialistic complacency and the indulging of their children in what has become a sexual labyrinth of morally and mind-weakening "entertainment". The majority of parents have the attitude, "It can't happen to me," when it comes to their children, and so the best of parents might give these things some attention, but only when something does happen, do parents "wake up," but then it is after damage has already been done. So parents, need to get on their toes.
Why an educator would sit a child in front of a home DVD player to watch six hours of movies such as Bratz to keep a child busy, is beyond understanding. Parents who identify their child, often times preschoolers, with Bratz icons have lost their good judgment, as the sexually provocative little Bratz, are a label for the eyes of sexual predators, and their have been sexually predators in schools and elsewhere, and certainly on the street, so parents are playing a game of sexual Russian Roulette for their children.
Why would a parent allow a pre-teen to watch hours and hours of music videos on BET, MTV and on the Internet, given the extremely sexual nature of the vast majority of music videos in the hip hop world today? Is the child's behavior affected, when (usually) she is in school? Absolutely! The children who watch hours of music videos daily, have a difficult time sitting still, concentrating and behaving. Both their behavior and their grades are effected.
One student, who was just 13, in the 7th grade was a very intelligently, beautiful young African American girl. She fit this exact profile, but only with much extra last-minute help did her F-grade reach a generous C, because she couldn't concentrate in class, as a result of daily indulgence, with parental consent, in hip hop music videos on the home entertainment unit. Not only were her grades being effected, but she was being sexualized, a beautiful young girl, and that is a school district where the high school SAC coordinator (substance abuse) stated that every other girl that walked through her doors was pregnant.
"It won't happen to me," is how most parents feel and go about their business, but when it does happen, they can't understand how it could happen. So parents especially need to wake up, get some "shock treatment" and smell the coffee. The world is not milk and cookies anymore, and The Sexualization of Childhood provides just such a wake-up call.
Five Media Myths - From the Lolita Effect
1. By flaunting her "hotness," a little girl is acting powerfully
2. Barbie has the ideal body
3. that children, especially little girls, are sexy
4. that violence against women is sexy
5. that girls must learn what boys want and not vice versa
Pages Related to the Sexualization of Children
The influence of sex and violence
in children's media
Television effects children
's language development
Influence of television
sex and violence on children
Effects of television on children
Art for children
- Art's positive effects for children.