Anecdote – Imagine you are a young girl, nothing has really tainted your innocence, in an everyday routine. You go to school, deciding to wear knee high socks, as you would do when you were younger . You enter school happily, eager to learn. After a few lessons a teacher comes up to you, one of your favourites. You feel a weight coming down on you when she utters the words, “Sorry, but you can’t wear these. Senior pupils have complained to me that your socks are distracting and provocative.
Those words come as a surprise to you, not only because you’re young, but also because the class of the pupils she mentioned would mean that adults were finding your attire provocative. How would you feel? What would your reaction be? Would you feel maybe dirty or ashamed? However that’s only one case of adults sexualizing underage girls, consequently events like the one mentioned before happen all the time, all across the world. Young, underage girls being sexualized is not a rare thing happening and you’re about to see why it’s so wrong. P – There are many consequences and negative results of sexualizing young girls.
It often results in stress, anxiety, in addition to putting a lot of pressure on the girls once they’ve been sexualized to the extent that it becomes normal for them. It affects their mental health from a young age and it interferes with their intellectual performance. A similar theory was provided and tested by Barbara Frederickson on college students “Barbara Frederickson wondered if being concerned with one’s physical appearance might impair one’s ability to think clearly. So she and her colleagues devised an experiment in which they asked 82 college students to change their clothes Frederickson et al 1998).
Each student was randomly assigned to try on EITHER a crewneck sweater OR a one-piece bathing suit. Next, the student was asked to evaluate the garment and the way it made him or her look. Afterwards, the student was given a math test. How did the clothing experience relate to the students’ subsequent performance on the math test? For male students, there was no difference between conditions. But for female students, the swimming suit experience had a more negative effect: Women performed significantly worse on the math test after changing into the bathing suit.
A subsequent study found that both sexes were adversely affected by the swimming suit experience (Hebl et al 2004). Does something akin to the “stupid swimming suit” effect apply to our kids? Nobody yet has done the research. But it seems rather likely. From ” As said in the extract from the report, children and underage females may suffer just as much as college students. Furthermore if girls suffer from a young age, stressing about whether they look attractive enough, especially to appeal older men and women.
However some might oppose and say it adds to their confidence, knowing that they are being “appreciated” by others which they benefit from with a higher self-esteem, but all it will achieve is for the young girls to begin thinking about how to be attractive, and make themselves “perfect” to others eyes. Sexualizing underage females causes long-term effects on the mental image of themselves. P II – Furthermore, underage girls aren’t sexualized only in person and by singular adults, no, it also comes down to capitalism, media, and advertising.
Sex and sexy things are celebrated and not hidden from younger ones, especially in stores and in public. Capitalism adds to the problem. More and more products on sale introduce children to things they are too young for, such as thongs with “cute” slogans like “Eye Candy” or “Wink Wink”, fashion dolls dressed explicitly, beauty pageants for children, pornography and magazines featuring scantily dressed women inspired by children’s outfits, and magazines portraying young girls with heavy makeup as ophisticated and stylish.
But why is this so bad? It’s because if we decide to join in on these “quirky” trends, some may think that it’s acceptable to view underage children in a sexual way. Therefore things like these may even lead to – in the worst case – rape. P III – In addition to the previous statements, sexualizing underage girls objectifies them and steals their childhood and innocence. By sexualizing young girl we erode their innocence and force them to grow up before their time.
PIV – Furthermore, it’s not just about the mental health of young girls. It’s paedophilic, it’s perverted, and it’s creepy. How would you feel knowing that fully grown, capable of thinking rationally, adults are seeing your child as a sexual object. Moreover, when an adult is exposed to underage children as sexual even a few times, their brain records it as a normality, and have no trouble associating girls of age 12 with sexuality.
When repeatedly exposed to such material – pop culture endorsing children being sexualized -, maybe even younger, such as 7 years old rather than teens, what will be the result of culture inviting pedophilic imagery? Will it possibly make them think it’s … okay? Not only is it absolutely disgusting, but it teaches girls that they belong to men, as an object. It’s almost never the child’s fault for being sexualized, instead it’s usually what insensitive material they’re exposed to at a young age