Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"Sexualizing" Children

Wondering how or if this new report by the American Psychological Association fits into the ongoing discussion about pedophiles and sexual predators...

"The American Psychological Association's report says inappropriate marketing is leading to the sexualisation of children by a consumer society. Apart from clothing for five- and six-year-olds, with old-fashioned frilly frocks replaced by mini skirts, plunging necklines and sequined crop tops, the report specifically criticises "Bratz dolls".

"The consequences of the sexualisation of girls in media today are very real and are likely to be a negative influence on girls' healthy development," said Eileen Zurbriggen, the APA's task force chairman. "As a society, we need to replace all these sexualised images with ones showing girls in positive settings. The goal should be to deliver messages to all adolescents — boys and girls — that lead to healthy sexual development."

Her comments were endorsed by Dr Jean Kilbourne, the co-author of a forthcoming book So Sexy, So Soon: The Sexualisation Of Childhood, who said clothing, toys and adverts were shaping a child's gender identity and values in the wrong way.

She saw a direct link between what was happening and the rise in under-age sex." (source)

Neither the article or the study make the leap to pedophilia, but I am wondering if it plays a role. Ever since my kids were born, my mom has always said "you don't want them to look too cute...and I found myself discouraging my sister from buying her baby girl a two-piece bathing suit. Why take any chances?

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