Moms & the Media, Monkey See, Monkey Do.

22 Jul

Halter top,short shorts and strappy heels. A new trend for preteen girls across America. Who’s to blame? 

On one side of the ring we have the evil media. Commercials, music videos, advertisements, and television shows. What’s a girl to do but want to be like the celebs on TV and the models in magazines? 

On the other side we have…moms? 

According to an article on Salon.com, moms should be blamed for their little girls wanting to wear over-sexualized outfits. 

Here’s a clip: 

Girls learn what it means to be a woman by watching their moms. A new study has not only corroborated that but also found that mothers are a strong predictor — even more than the amount of media consumption alone — of whether a girl will regard herself as a sex object. The study sample was too minute to be definitive and has to be followed up with future research, but it raises important questions about how to best prevent young girls from regarding themselves as Bratz dolls.

Researchers had a group of 60 girls between the ages of 6 and 9 choose between two paper dolls that were identical save for their dress: One wore revealing, “sexy” clothing, while the other wore “stylish but non-sexualized clothing.” The researchers found that “girls overwhelmingly chose the sexualized doll over the non-sexualized doll” when asked which one they would like to look like and which one would be popular. Given our sex-saturated culture, this surprised no one. What was surprising was this conclusion: “We do not find media consumption to be the primary culprit for early sexualization of young girls.” The researchers went on to say that “the quantity of TV and movies watched is not, in and of itself, a risk factor for young girls’ sexualized self-views.” Instead, it’s “the interaction between media hours and maternal self-objectification that creates vulnerability for early sexualization.”

That is to say, media-immersed girls with moms who view themselves as sex objects were more likely to pick the sexy paper doll.

This study isn’t surprising, but I don’t think one factor should be more harmful than another. Moms and the media go hand in hand in this cause. One reinforces the other. Monkey see, monkey do. 

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