The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It

Abrams
2
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Pop culture—and the advertising that surrounds it—teaches young girls and boys five myths about sex and sexuality: Girls don't choose boys, boys choose girls—but only sexy girls; there's only one kind of sexy—slender, curvy, white beauty; girls should work to be that type of sexy; the younger a girl is, the sexier she is; and sexual violence can be hot. Together, these five myths make up the Lolita Effect, the mass media trends that work to undermine girls’ self-confidence, that condone female objectification, and that tacitly foster sex crimes. But identifying these myths and breaking them down can help girls learn to recognize progressive and healthy sexuality and protect themselves from degrading media ideas and sexual vulnerability.
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About the author

M. Gigi Durham, Ph.D., is a professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Iowa. Her research on adolescent girls and media has appeared in Youth & Society and Critical Studies in Media Communication, and she served on the editorial board of The Encyclopedia of Children, Adolescents and the Media. A passionate advocate for children's rights and social justice, she lives with her husband and two daughters in Iowa City.

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3.5
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Additional Information

Publisher
Abrams
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Published on
Jun 30, 2009
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781590205945
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Language
English
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Genres
Family & Relationships / Life Stages / Adolescence
Psychology / Human Sexuality
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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At a time when "sexy" can be an adjective for anything, when sexual awareness is declared to be advancing faster in months than in the past half century, and when pundits warn of sexual overload, the actual representation of sex is still deemed confrontational, aggressive, "in your face." While critics accuse the academy of an obsession with sexuality, they also complain that nothing that appears to refer to sex really does.
In readings ranging across film, drama, opera, fine art, and critical theory, Mandy Merck considers these phenomena as well as the role of the dog in anti-porn propaganda, the unacknowledged significance of the lesbian hand, and the early retirement of the phallus. Other topics include the relationship of women's tennis and prostitution, the gendering of the wild and the tame in the age of AIDS, and the sexlessness of postmodern criticism. In Your Face ends with the face and its alleged desecration by fellatio. Germaine Greer's condemnation of Bill Clinton for "fucking the faces of little girls" is examined in the light of one of Monica Lewinsky's endearments for the President--"fuckface."
In a country whose last great Presidential scandal revolved around a key witness known only as "Deep Throat" and whose current Chief Executive works in the "Oral Office," giving head is going down in history. Analyzing the strange relationship of Linda Lovelace, Camille Paglia, and Paul de Man, In Your Face concludes by considering desire and disgust in high and low places.
Thong panties, padded bras, and risqué Halloween costumes for young girls. T-shirts that boast “Chick Magnet” for toddler boys. Sexy content on almost every television channel, as well as in books, movies, video games, and even cartoons. Hot young female pop stars wearing provocative clothing and dancing suggestively while singing songs with sexual and sometimes violent lyrics. These products are marketed aggressively to our children; these stars are held up for our young daughters to emulate–and for our sons to see as objects of desire.

Popular culture and technology inundate our children with an onslaught of mixed messages at earlier ages than ever before. Corporations capitalize on this disturbing trend, and without the emotional sophistication to understand what they are doing and seeing, kids are getting into increasing trouble emotionally and socially; some may even to engage in precocious sexual behavior. Parents are left shaking their heads, wondering: How did this happen? What can we do?

So Sexy So Soon is an invaluable and practical guide for parents who are fed up, confused, and even scared by what their kids–or their kids’ friends–do and say. Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., internationally recognized experts in early childhood development and the impact of the media on children and teens, understand that saying no to commercial culture–TV, movies, toys, Internet access, and video games–isn’t a realistic or viable option for most families. Instead, they offer parents essential, age-appropriate strategies to counter the assault. For instance:

• Help your children expand their imaginations by suggesting new ways for them to play with toys–for example, instead of “playing house” with dolls, they might send their toys on a backyard archeological adventure.
• Counteract the narrow gender stereotypes in today’s media: ask your son to help you cook; get your daughter outside to play ball.
• Share your values and concerns with other adults–relatives, parents of your children’s friends–and agree on how you’ll deal with TV and other media when your children are at one another’s houses.

Filled with savvy suggestions, helpful sample dialogues, and poignant true stories from families dealing with these issues, So Sexy So Soon provides parents with the information, skills, and confidence they need to discuss sensitive topics openly and effectively so their kids can just be kids.
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