Youngsters spend one-third of each day with some form of electronic media, and as a result more than 20 percent of American high school students have sexual intercourse for the first time before age fourteen. Youth that engage in sexual behavior before age thirteen are more likely to have multiple sexual partners, frequent sexual intercourse, use drugs and alcohol before sex, and have sex without a condom. The more sex children see on TV and in the movies, the more they intend to be sexually active with youth acting nine to seventeen months older than they really are.
TITLE: "Media and Risky Behaviors.”
AUTHORS: Soledad Liliana Escobar-Chavez and Craig A. Anderson
JOURNAL: The Future of Children. YEAR: 2008
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from JSTOR online by subscription.
|Media use second only to sleep in children's lives (2008)|
Media geared for families has shifted from originally targeting children and their parents to solely targeting young children as a separate marketing demographic. Children now devote more time to media than to any other single activity except sleep. Because of this they are performing worse in school, are less socially adjusted and engage in more risky behavior than previous generations.
TITLE: "Trends in Media Use.”
AUTHORS: Donald F. Roberts and Ulla G. Foehr.
JOURNAL: The Future of Children. YEAR: 2008.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from JSTOR by subscription.
|Boys and girls who listen to sexually degrading music have earlier sex (2007)|
Both boys and girls who listened to a lot of music with lyrics that promote "acceptance of women as sexual objects and men as pursuers of sexual content” were more likely to engage in a wide range of sexual activities at an earlier age.
Even though these songs are mostly derogatory towards women, they also degrade and stereotype men by portraying them simply as "studs” with no individuality who are all focused on sex.
TITLE: "Exposure to Degrading Versus Non-degrading Music Lyrics and Sexual Behavior among Youth.”
AUTHORS: Steven C. Martino, Rebecca L. Collins, Marc N. Elliot, Amy Strachman, David W. Kanouse, and Sandra H. Berry.
JOURNAL: Pediatrics. YEAR: 2007.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available freefrom the US Department of Justice.
|Hyper- sexualization of young women linked to depression, eating disorders (2007)|
Young women are being inundated with commercials, TV shows, toys, and other media encouraging them to be sexy and seductive. As a consequence, they are dieting to achieve a thin "ideal” body, focusing more on projecting seductiveness, and having more sex and less safer sex. This hyper-sexualization of young women is linked to three of their most common mental health complaints: eating disorders, depression, and low self-esteem. The authors believe that the early sexualization of young girls is linked to the same sort of harmful outcomes as young women experience.
TITLE: "Report of the Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.”
AUTHORS: Eileen L. Zurbriggen, Rebecca L. Collins, Sharon Lamb, Tomi-Ann Roberts; Deborah L.Tolman, L. Monique Ward, and Jeanne Blake.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Acknowledge American Psychological Association.
|Girls with narrowly stereotypic beliefs about their bodies have less safe sex, more early pregnancy (2006)|
"I am more concerned about how my body looks than how my body feels.” "I think that a girl has to be thin to feel beautiful.” "I often wish my body were different.” Teenage girls who accept stereotyped statements like these about their bodies were less likely to use contraception, whether pills or condoms. They were also more afraid to ask their boyfriends to use condoms or to refuse sex when they don't want it but their boyfriends do. On the other hand, girls who were more comfortable with their bodies were more likely to use condoms.
Other stereotypic beliefs about girls were also strongly linked to lower sexual health. For instance, girls who believed they should be "seen and not heard” were also less likely to use contraception, to feel confident about speaking their mind, or to feel comfortable being successful if it might make others feel inferior. Almost 50% of these girls did not use a condom during their last sex-- which makes them more likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and more likely have an unplanned or early pregnancy.
TITLE: "To Be Seen and Not Heard: Femininity Ideology and Adolescent Girls' Sexual Health.”
AUTHORS: Emily A. Impett, Deborah Schooler, and Deborah L. Tolman.
JOURNAL: Archives of Sexual Behavior. YEAR: 2006.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from SpringerLink, $32.
URL: http://www.springerlink.com/co ntent/y35724315812qh52/
|TV viewing impacts adolescents' sexual attitudes, behaviors (2006)|
TV viewing can greatly impact the sexual attitudes and behavior of adolescents. High school students that frequently view talk shows, "sexy" prime-time programs, and view TV more intently for companionship are likely to highly endorse sexual stereotypes. Additionally, more frequent viewing and stronger identification with popular TV characters leads to greater levels of sexual experience among high school students. The more specific the stereotypical content, the greater the acceptance of gender and sexual stereotypes. As a result, television is serving as a major sexual educator in the lives of teens.
TITLE: "Using TV as a Guide: Associations Between Television Viewing and Adolescents’ Sexual Attitudes and Behavior.”
AUTHORS: L Monique Ward and Kimberly Friedman.
JOURNAL: Journal of Research on Adolescence. YEAR: 2006.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Ovid by subscription.
|Exposure to sexual media increases sexual activity in white, Black adolescents (2006)|
Exposure to sexual content in music, movies, television, and magazines accelerates white adolescents’ sexual activity and increases their risk of engaging in early sexual intercourse. White adolescents aged 12 to 14 years old that watch high levels of sexualized media are 2.2 times more likely to have had sexual intercourse when 14 to 16 years old than white adolescents who watch limited levels of sexualized media. On the opposite side, Black teens are more influenced by perceptions of their parents’ expectations, which often include disapproval of teen sex, and their friends’ sexual behavior than by what they see and hear in the media.
TITLE: "Sexy Media Matter: Exposure to Sexual Content in Music, Movies, Television, and Magazines Predicts Black and White Adolescents’ Sexual Behavior.”
AUTHORS: Jane D. Brown, Kelly Ladin L’ Engle, Carol J. Pardun, Guang Guo, Kristin Kenneavy and Christine Jackson.
JOURNAL: Pediatrics. YEAR: 2006.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available free from Pediatrics.
|Self-objectification can affect girls' performance in sports (2005)|
Studies show that girls do actually throw differently from boys. In fact, "throwing like a girl" can be linked to media sexualization, which teaches girls to see their own bodies as objects to be viewed and judged, rather than to be used and exercised. This study found that girls throw with a weak, arm-only motion because they think of their bodies as objects to be viewed. So they worry about the way they look throwing the ball, not how well they throw it. Moving only their arms is an attempt to maintain an appearance of femininity and avoid looking silly or uncoordinated (a problem boys don't have).TITLE: "Throwing Like a Girl: Self-Objectification Predicts Adolescent Girls' Motor Performance"
AUTHORS: Barbara L. Fredrickson and Kristen Harrison
JOURNAL: Journal of Sport and Social Issues YEAR: 2005
DIGITAL RIGHT: Available from SAGE Journals Online for $25
URL: http://jss.sagepub.com/cgi/ content/abstract/29/1/79
|TV changes Fiji's centuries- old beauty perceptions in just a few years (2004)|
Studies have shown that being bombarded with television messages really is harmful to girls’ self-image. One of the ways researchers have demonstrated this is to look at relatively isolated "virgin” cultures, where TV is just being introduced.
The tiny, isolated country of Fiji just got TV a short time ago, but after just three years young girls began to desire slim, thin bodies. Families began encouraging them to imitate the modern, successful TV characters by eating less and "going thin”. Purging and skipping meals entirely have become commonplace and have led to Fiji’s first cases of anorexia and bulimia. What makes this all the more remarkable is that for centuries, Fijians had considered larger body types as healthy and attractive; thin bodies were considered sickly and unattractive.
TITLE: "Television, Disordered Eating, and Young Women in Fiji: Negotiating Body Image and Identity during Rapid Social Change.”
AUTHOR(S): Anne E. Becker.
JOURNAL: Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry. YEAR: 2004.
DIGITAL RIGHT: Available from SpringerLink for $34.
|Advertisements encourage girls to dress sexy (2004)|
Advertisements are increasingly showing girls "dressed up” to look adult and promiscuous, while grown women are "dressed down” to appeal to "school girl” and "jail bait” fantasies. Because these images are so widespread girls assume they are condoned by adults and often seek to imitate the ads by dressing suggestively. Problems such as high teen pregnancy rates, sex slavery, sexually transmitted diseases, eating disorders and teen suicide are linked to these pervasive "Lolita” images which suggest that girls want to engage in sexual activity with grown men.
TITLE: "Reviving Lolita?: A Media Literacy Examination of Sexual Portrayals of Girls in Fashion Advertising."
AUTHORS: Debra Merskin.
JOURNAL: American Behavioral Scientist. Year: 2004.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Sage Journals Online, $25.
|Tween clothing becoming sexier, more adult (2004)|
Today’s "tweens” result from 60 years of marketing that entices young girls to dress like teenagers and women. In the late 1970s, a shift toward more sexual clothing for tweens began. Girls were encouraged to embrace the attitude of "13 going on 18” by wearing form -fitting jeans, tight blouses and high heels. Today’s advertisers continue supporting this attitude with products like "eye candy” thong underwear for 7-year-olds and using tweens as models for adult fashion lines. These marketing strategies are so successful at sexualizing young girls that the line between child and adult is being blurred. One girl believes that tween clothing "screams abduction". Indeed, children's clothing is now a sexual fetish for some adults as women shop for schoolgirl skirts and uniforms in order to look sexy for men.
TITLE: "Betwixt and Be Tween: Age Ambiguity and the Sexualization of the Female Consuming Subject.”
AUTHORS: Daniel Thomas Cook and Susan B. Kaiser.
JOURNAL: Journal of Consumer Culture. YEAR: 2004.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Sage Journals Online, $25.
URL: http://joc.sagepub.com/cgi/content /abstract/4/2/203
|Making girls hyper- feminine can undermine sexual health (2000) |
Traditionally, "good girls” are assumed to be white and middle class and inquiries into sexual health have been focused mainly on girls of color and those from lower income families. This is apparently based on the tacit assumption that these are the only girls who are sexual. However, stereotypic beliefs about femininity threatens the sexual health of girls, including any girl who believes in her body as an object, feels she must be someone else in romantic relationships, and who feels she should defer to boys about her sexuality. In fact, the more a girl believes she should let boys control relationship sexuality, the more likely she is to engage in high-risk behavior that threatens her health.
TITLE: "Femininity as a Barrier to Positive Sexual Health for Adolescent Girls.”
AUTHOR: Deborah L. Tolman.
BOOK: Women’s Health: Contemporary International Perspectives. YEAR: 2000.
EDITOR: Jane M. Ussher, British Psychological Society.
|Model and fitness magazines linked to eating disorders and supplement use (2003)|
Teenage girls and boys who read health and fitness magazines are less satisfied with their bodies, and are more likely to take supplements and participate in anorexic and bulimic behaviors.Teen girls and boys who compared their bodies to the pictures of models and athletes in health and fitness magazines were more likely to want to be thinner, avoid eating when hungry, vomit after eating, and take laxatives to lose weight. In addition, teenage boys were more likely to take pills or supplements to get bigger muscle. The pictures seemed to be particularly important, because teenagers who read but focused more on the articles were less likely to participate in harmful behaviors, so it's probably comparing themselves to unrealistic body images that creates the body dissatisfaction.
TITLE: "For Your Health? The Relationship between Magazine Reading and Adolescents' Body Image and Eating Disorders.”
AUTHORS: Renée A. Botta.
JOURNAL: Sex Roles. YEAR: 2003.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: SpringerLink, $32.
|Peer pressure pushes girls into physically and sexually abusive relationships (2003)|
The pressure upon girls to be sexual at an early age is contributing to abusive relationships. Adolescents of both genders believe that boys are sexually promiscuous by nature and that girls are objects and prized to be won by boys. This attitude has contributed to 80% of girls in secondary school reporting some form of sexual harassment, Moreover, many of these girls now believe that a certain level of abuse is to be expected because "boys will be boys.”
Some girls do express frustration at sexual double standards. Boys who engage in sexual activity are praised by their peers, while girls who do the same are called degrading names and looked down on socially. Despite their frustration, many girls still believe that any attention from boys is better than none at all and thus are willing to tolerate abusive or sexually inappropriate relationships.
TITLE: "Sowing the Seeds of Violence in Heterosexual Relationships: Early Adolescents Narrate Compulsory Heterosexuality.”
AUTHORS: Deborah L. Tolman, Renee Spencer, Myra Rosen-Reynoso, and Michelle V. Porche.
JOURNAL: Journal of Social Issues. Year: 2003.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from INIST, $20.
URL: http://cat.inist.fr/? aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=14712966
|Older girls more concerned about their looks (2002)|
|Girls in grades 7 and 10 were shown pictures of extremely thin, idealized models. Both groups were unhappy with their bodies and more depressed afterwards. But the 7th grade girls suffered significantly less than 10th graders. The reason is probably because the younger girls have yet to fully internalize gender ideals while the older girls have done so.
TITLE: "Predictors of vulnerability to reduced body image satisfaction and psychological wellbeing in response to exposure to idealized female media images in adolescent girls.”
AUTHORS: Sarah J. Durkin and Susan J. Paxton.
JOURNAL: Journal of Psychosomatic Research. YEAR: 2002.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Journal of Psychosomatic Research with registration.
|Black girls more resistant to teen magazines' beauty messages than white girls (2000) |
Teen magazines in particular appear to affect white girls’ perception of their bodies, but not necessarily black girls. Fashion models presented in the magazines are predominantly white, ultra thin and have unobtainable looks, but white girls still tend to internalize these images. For instance, they began to see makeup as necessary to look normal and one even described herself as "looking awful” without it.
Black girls reacted quite differently, perhaps because they desired to achieve the looks of their female family members, instead of thin ideal models presented in magazines they deemed as by and for whites. Images of ultra thin, Black models were dismissed by Black girls and not internalized. They were far more interested in the activities and personalities of the women presented in the magazines and professed greater confidence in their looks than white girls.
TITLE: "Black in a Blonde World: Race and Girls’ Interpretations of the Feminine Ideal in Teen Magazine.”
AUTHORS: Lisa Duke.
JOURNAL: Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. YEAR: 2000.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from High Beam Research with a user account.
URL: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P 3-59449625.html
|Natural body development during puberty causes dieting and depression in girls (2000) |
As they enter puberty and their bodies develop, they look less like the ideal thin body-type, which leaves many girls very depressed. Unlike boys – whose self- esteem improves during puberty as their body’s bulk up – girls’ self-esteem plummets. To combat the natural weight gain of puberty, girls often turn to extreme dieting, and the more they dislike their bodies, the more likely they are to use extreme dieting techniques like fasting, binging and purging.
TITLE: "Body-Image and Eating Disturbance Predict Onset of Depression Among Female Adolescents.”
AUTHORS: Eric Stice, Chris Hayward, Rebecca P. Cameron, Joel D. Killen, C. Barr Taylor
JOURNAL: Journal of Abnormal Psychology. YEAR: 2000
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from PsycNet $11.95
URL: http://psycnet.apa.org/index.c fm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2000-05424- 009
|Idea lizing thin models on TV leads to eating disorders and poor body-image (2000) |
Television’s influence on young girls depends on how girls watch TV not just how much. The different viewing habits of teenage African-American and white girls shows. White girls watch less TV than Black girls, but suffer from poorer self-images because their viewing is more often based on observing thin, idealized models and comparing themselves to them. The anxiety produced by falling short in comparisons contributes to white girls being six times more likely to engage in vomiting to control their weight (bulimia) and four times more likely to engage in dieting than Black girls the same age.
Perhaps because there are fewer Black models on television, they have not learned to watch TV and compare themselves to the characters presented. Although their weights are heavier than average, twice as many Black girls are satisfied with their weight than white girls. However, this cultural difference in body image is becoming narrower as minority women are appearing in the thin ideal on TV. Black girls are increasingly comparing themselves to these characters and desiring slimmer bodies. As a result, eating disorders and poor self-image are on the rise among girls of color.
TITLE: "The Mirror of Television: A Comparison of Black and White Adolescents’ Body Image.”
AUTHORS: Renee A. Botta.
JOURNAL: Journal of Communication. YEAR:2000.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Questia with a paid subscription.
|Black and white girls desire different body types (1999)|
Most girls, Black and white, personally consider the thin ideal presented in teen magazines to be unrealistic and unattainable. Despite this critique, white girls strongly desire the thin look because it is "what everybody wants.” They do not believe that other white girls share their view that the thin ideal is unachievable. White girls who do not desire the thin ideal are seen as rebellious and not caring about their looks.
In contrast, Black girls believe that few of their peers want the thin look. They openly share their critiques of these magazines with each other. They view the magazines as products of white culture and the thin Black models in the magazines as "whitened.” Black girls desire larger body types and read other magazines that present a wider range of female body sizes.
TITLE: "Social Comparisons, Reflected Appraisals, and Mass Media: The Impact of Pervasive Beauty Images on Black and White Girls’ Self-Concepts.”
AUTHORS: Melissa A. Milkie.
JOURNAL: Social Psychology Quarterly. YEAR: 1999.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from JSTOR for $14.
|Action figures increasingly created with unrealistic, impossible muscles and bodies (1999)|
Since 1964, GI Joe has been a top selling toy which basically invented the "action figure” category. If the '64 GI Joe had been real, he would have been 5'10” tall with a 31.7-inch waist and biceps 12 inches around – large but not abnormal. He has muscles, but not a lot of definition. By 1973, the new GI Joe had a 31.7-inch waist, 15-inch biceps, and highly defined muscles. By 1994, GI Joe had ripped abs and chest – and the overall definition of an advanced bodybuilder. His waist had shrunk to 29 inches, his biceps had ballooned to 16 inches. The 1998 GI Joe Extreme Sergeant Savage had a freakish musculature including a 27-inch bicep.
The trend towards impossible, hyper-masculine bodies is echoed in other boys action figures as well. The 1998 Batman would have a 30.3- inch waist, a 57.2-inch chest, and a bicep circumference of 26.8 inches. The 1998 Wolverine action figure would have a 33-inch waist, a 62-inch chest, and an unheard of 32 -inch bicep.
The average American man's bicep is 12-13 inches in circumference. The largest ever measured is 28 inches – by a body-builder who admitted to heavy steroid use.
TITLE: "Evolving Ideals of Male Body Image as Seen through Action Toys.”
AUTHORS: Harrison G. Pope, Jr., et al.
JOURNAL: International Journal of Eating Disorders. YEAR: 1999.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available free from btinternet.com.
|Fashion magazines linked to dieting, weight control and body dissatisfaction (1999) |
The body image and dieting practices of girls from 5th
grade to 12th
grade are directly influenced by pictures in fashion magazines. 69% said that pictures in magazines like Seventeen, Jet, Sassy, and Glamour influence their ideal body shape. While only 29% were actually overweight, fully two-third (66%) thought that they needed to lose weight, and 47% wanted to start dieting. Girls who read fashion magazines at least twice a week were up to 3 times more likely to report dieting or exercising to lose weight. The power of fashion images was so strong that over half (59%) of girls who didn't even read magazines said that the pictures influenced what they thought was the correct, ideal body shape, and 41% admitted that seeing the pictures made them want to lose weight.
TITLE: "Exposure to the Mass Media and Weight Concerns Among Girls.”
AUTHORS: Alison E. Field, Lilian Cheung, Anne M. Wolf, David B. Herzog, Steven L. Gortmaker, and Graham A. Colditz.
JOURNAL: Pediatrics. YEAR: 1999.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available at no charge online from Pediatrics.
|Teen magazines teach girls about sex and romance (1998) |
Girls often turn to teen magazines for advice and information on relationships, sex, and how to take care of their bodies. These magazines have an important impact on the way girls act and take care of themselves, and understanding magazine content helps us understand teen attitudes toward sexuality. For the most part, teen magazines like Seventeen
strive to empower girls and promote their well-being by encouraging them to engage in healthy physical and emotional practices, like having safe sex and balancing romance with other things in their lives.
This content is usually successful in helping girls maintain sexual health and avoid harmful consequences like unwanted pregnancy and eating disorders, but is unhelpful if a reader cannot relate to girls portrayed in the magazine. However, since girls depicted in Seventeen are mostly white, heterosexual, and middle class, minority girls may have a more difficult time relating to advice given.
TITLE: "From Girls into Women: Scripts for Sexuality and Romance in Seventeen Magazine.”
AUTHOR: Laura M. Carpenter
JOURNAL: The Journal of Sex Research YEAR: 1998
DIGITAL RIGHTS: JSTOR available by subscription
URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/38 13668?origin=JSTOR-pdf
|Two-thirds of third graders are already "very scared" of being fat (1997) |
Third graders have already internalized strong stereotypes about weight and gender. Almost two-thirds of girls and boys say that they are already "very scared” of being fat, and about two-thirds are already exercising to lose weight.
Almost every 3rd grader admits to sometimes selecting specific foods to stay thin. A small segment of kids have already started throwing up after meals to maintain their weight. About half of 3rd graders already believe that being thin is important for girls and women.
TITLE: "Fear of Fat, Disregulated Restrained Eating, and Body-Esteem: Prevalence and Gender Differences Among Eight- to Ten-Year-Old Children.”
AUTHORS: Susan Shapiro, Michael Newcomb, and Tamra Burn Loeb.
JOURNAL: Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. YEAR: 1997.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from InformaWorld, $28.
|Bedroom decorations show media is important to teen identity (1995)|
The posters, magazines, CDs and other media- inspired decorations that make up a girl's bedroom can explain a lot about who she is and who she wants to be. The bedroom is usually the most private and personal space she has, and the fact that she uses media images to decorate it shows the importance of celebrities and pop culture in a girl's formation of her identity. However, this relationship can be problematic because many of these items promote unrealistic ideals of beauty and thin-ness and a focus on the body as a measure of worth, at the expense of intelligence and other personal traits. This can lead to low self esteem and unhealthy behaviors like early or unprotected sex.
TITLE: "Adolescent Room Culture: Studying Media in the Context of Everyday Life"
AUTHOR: Jeanne R. Steele and Jane D. Brown
JOURNAL: Journal of Youth and Adolescence YEAR: 1995
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from SpringerLink for $34
|Children who watch music videos are more tolerant of sexual harassment (1994)|
Most music videos are produced by men, producing a male bias in videos that portrays women as sexual prizes to be won by other men. Watching these videos increases tolerance for sexual harassment among young people, as boys and girls each internalize the roles played in the videos. This has contributed to widespread sexual harassment. 89% of girls report being the target of sexual comments and gestures at least once, while 39% experienced harassment on a daily basis.
TITLE: "Correlates of Attitudes Toward Sexual Harassment Among Early Adolescents.”
AUTHORS: Jeremiah S. Strouse, Megan P. Goodwin, and Bruce Roscoe
JOURNAL: Sex Roles YEAR: 1994
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from SpringerLink for $34