Toddlers and Tears: The sexualization of young girls

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  • Admiring Gentile Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 21, 2012 10:23 a.m.

    It's really tragic when parents lay their own issues (e.g., looking good, getting applauded, etc.) on their kids.

    Why not let your kids tell you what *they're* interested in doing, rather than imposing your own unresolved needs on them? I'll bet your kids will be wildly interested in things appropriate to their own age.

    Childhood is an essential part of human development. Take it away from your kids and they'll wind up as troubled adults. Maybe . . . like their parents?

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Nov. 21, 2012 7:28 a.m.

    Dora the Explorer!? Really? Well if you're still changing diapers and teaching them to count to five, then yeah, you can pretty much control most of their choices for them. In a way at that age they're really not individuals yet.

    My kids are teens and one preteen. There are trends, habits, jokes, songs, videoclips, salty language, playground games, toys, pressures to go steady, movies, parties, sleepovers, relatives, friends, school projects, and all sorts of weird things their peers share one with another.

    As your children mature, you'll see that the ability to shelter your kids from most trends in media is mostly an illusion, unless you intend to cut them off from all human contact. I encourage you wholeheartedly to set a high standard in your home; but, at a certain point, you'll start to look for different strategies, like how to equip them with coping mechanisms for the toxic elements of our society.

  • What is the truth? Sandy, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 1:12 p.m.

    To Raybies..

    Sorry dear, still think I'll have my kids watch Dora the Explorer, Sesame Street and other shows. No I won't insulate my children... just be sensible about what they watch. and express my disgust at those "tame" shows that exploit children.

  • georgeman Kearns, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 10:03 a.m.

    My three little girls will change the channel if they see T&T on, same thing with Dance Moms. My girls tell me that the shows are stupid and the girls that are on there don't look real. My 4 year old even said that the girls on T&T look like plastic and are ugly.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Nov. 20, 2012 7:24 a.m.

    Re: What is the truth?

    Sexually explicit forms of entertainment are everywhere these days. There are a couple approaches to this sort of thing.

    1. Insulate your children from it by controlling all exposure or any hint of innappropriateness. This approach requires the parent to monitor a child's time and isolate the child from other children whose parents have less stringent habits. In this method, the parent does all the work. It can be exhausting, is prone to fail due to the pervasive media available.

    2. Look for opportunities to educate your children about the toxic nature of the society in which they live. Honey Boo Boo is a very tame show, but it touches upon a toxic aspect of our society. It is a decent vehicle for having deep discussions about beauty, selfimage, and even sexualization, without exposing the child to a lot of graphic or disturbing content that a child can't process. What's interesting about this approach is that your children will start to criticize the trends in popular media if they are given the tools to do so.

    Ideally the world would clean up its act and we'd do a bit of both...

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Nov. 20, 2012 2:29 a.m.

    And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

  • BlueEyesFr Paris, 00
    Nov. 19, 2012 12:09 p.m.

    I think women should learn to take care of their appearance. There is nothing wrong with that ... not to be sexy .. but to be elegan.

    But they certainly should learn to get a good job, manage their lives the best way they can and should be taught good moral principles .

    But so should men .... it seems that we never emphasize enough good behaviour from men in the way they treat women and in the sharing of responsability and virtue and family life .... that's is why it does not work because it is only women who are requested to behave when many men are left to do what they please;...

    As long as double standards exist ... the world problems will prevail

  • What is the truth? Sandy, UT
    Nov. 19, 2012 10:01 a.m.

    Raybies... I hope what you say is true. But that underling principle of the show, beauty trumps all, all concerns me. After all we may talk to our children but they are still influenced by what they see. I wouldn't let my children watch a movie with sexually explicit scenes just so we can talk about sex. Definitely healthier ways to go about that.

  • Joe Moe Logan, UT
    Nov. 19, 2012 7:20 a.m.

    Raybies, you emphasize a key point. Parents having open, positive discussions about what the kids see in society and in the media (whether on this topic or many others) Is crucial to development of healthy perspectives and attitudes. The consistent discussions parents have and the example they set will generally trump the outside influences.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Nov. 19, 2012 6:13 a.m.

    The show Toddlers and Tiaras isn't about promoting sexualization, it's about exposing it. Honey Boo Boo isn't a star because she's succeeded at being sexy, she's a trainwreck that no one can take their eyes from--a symptom of the dysfunction in society. And just because it has high ratings doesn't mean everyone's okay with it--it means that a lot of people are concerned about it.

    I'll watch T&T with my young girls and we'll laugh and groan and make comments one to another about how we might better approach beauty and our own self-image. It's actually quite a decent springboard for discussion, because the kids I raise in my house can see there's something horribly awry as soon as the glitz begins.

    Fwiw, there's a great spoof on YouTube by Tom Hanks about these pageants that pokes fun of just how narcissistic and vain these pagaents are. Do a search for Tom Hanks and Toddlers and Tiaras.

  • Joe Moe Logan, UT
    Nov. 19, 2012 12:29 a.m.

    aceroinox, very good points. Some aspects of the "women's liberation" movement have been good, and some misguided -- but if they were serious this issue would be their keynote, not a side note. The reduction of women to their physical appearance not only persists but it's getting worse, and there is possibly no greater threat to the valuable contribution that women can and should make to society.

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Nov. 18, 2012 2:44 p.m.

    If you know someone who is exposing their children to this, you might want to purchase for them the book "So Sexy So Soon" by Diane Levin, PhD., to help open their eyes.

  • aceroinox Farmington, UT
    Nov. 18, 2012 1:10 p.m.

    This article seems to miss the point. No, we shouldn't be sexualizing young girls with tight, revealing clothing and "glamour shoot" makeup and hair. But the real problem lies in the fact that adult women are also being dragged into that realm. It has become the norm for adult women to wear clothing that is tight and revealing. Baring cleavage and wearing short skirts is a media-driven expectation that objectifies women and puts them on display for men. Many women defend those styles, not realizing they've been influenced into that thinking by Hollywood and the media. They try to justify it by claiming the right to dress as they please, but in the end, they are still on display with the invitation for men to drink it all in.

    So, my point is, that girls grow up into women, and if society supports the notion of sexualized women, how can they expect anything different from young girls when all they have as examples are sexualized adult women?

  • CathyReads VISALIA, CA
    Nov. 18, 2012 12:42 p.m.

    Much of this general information isn't entirely new, though the studies are, but it's certainly a great reminder about what's going on in our society. Our culture, especially the mainstream media, is making it very difficult to be a fully realized female, and it's sad that it's reaching down to earlier and earlier ages. I HIGHLY recommend everyone take some time to ponder and investigate more about media literacy, as is mentioned at the very end of the article (wish this was higher up in the story so more readers would see this). We as parents need to restrict what our children view, but we also absolutely MUST teach our children elements of media literacy. Yes, and they and we should be rightly angry about these deceptions that we see and hear regularly every single day.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 18, 2012 7:40 a.m.

    Scary stuff. I find beauty pageants for adolescent girls disturbing. To be honest I have never been a fan of beauty pageants for any age group.

  • CP Tooele, UT
    Nov. 18, 2012 3:52 a.m.

    I think the picture with this article says it all..this little girl is not happy and it seems to me that these poor little children who have to endure this don't have a say. It's all for the parent. Let little children be just that..little children. Enjoy them while they are young, they grow up fast enough and also let them enjoy their childhood instead of throwing makeup on them and tiaras.