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There are several components to sexualization, and these set it apart from healthy sexuality.Sexualization occurs when All four conditions need not be present; any one is an indication of sexualization.Some may allow or encourage plastic surgery to help girls meet that goal.Research shows that teachers sometimes encourage girls to play at being sexualized adult women (Martin, 1988) or hold beliefs that girls of color are “hypersexual” and thus unlikely to achieve academic success (Rolón-Dow, 2004).Although extensive analyses documenting the sexualization of girls, in particular, have yet to be conducted, individual examples can easily be found.These include 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).Virtually every media form studied provides ample evidence of the sexualization of women, including television, music videos, music lyrics, movies, magazines, sports media, video games, the Internet and advertising (e.g., Gow, 1996; Grauerholz & King, 1997; Krassas, Blauwkamp,& Wesselink, 2001, 2003; Lin, 1997; Plous & Neptune, 1997; Vincent, 1989; Ward, 1995).
The report (a) defines sexualization; (b) examines the prevalence and provides examples of sexualization in society and in cultural institutions, as well as interpersonally and intrapsychically; (c) evaluates the evidence suggesting that sexualization has negative consequences for girls and for the rest of society; and (d) describes positive alternatives that may help counteract the the influence of sexualization.
Parents may contribute to sexualization in a number of ways.
For example, parents may convey the message that maintaining an attractive physical appearance is the most important goal for girls.
Although few studies examined the prevalence of sexualized portrayals of girls in particular, those that have been conducted found that such sexualization does occur and may be increasingly common.
For example, O’Donohue, Gold and Mc Kay (1997) coded advertisements over a 40-year period in five magazines targeted to men, women or a general adult readership.