Instead of advancing women’s social and professional empowerment, popular culture trends appear to be backsliding into the blatant sexual exploitation of women and girls at younger and younger ages. This study investigates the effects of mass marketed sexual images and cultural trends on the behaviors and attitudes of young girls and describes many ways in which young girls are increasingly taught to go to outrageous lengths in seeking male attention. Topics include the powerful effects of cultural phenomena such as revealing fashions, plastic surgery, and beauty pageants in influencing teen and preteen girls to willingly participate in and promote their own sexualization. These chapters also explore other cultural factors contributing to this early sexualization of young girls, including absentee parenting and material overindulgence. Later chapters focus on the sexual representations of females in the mass entertainment media, focusing specifically on how popular magazines, television programs, films, and the Internet prey upon, promote, and reinforce young girls’ physical and sexual insecurities.
About the author
Patrice A. Oppliger is an assistant professor of mass communications at Boston University. She is the author of books on gender and social issues and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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