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Pornification of girlhood

I was interested in this Quadrant article by Melinda Reist on trends in modern commercial culture towards the sexualisation of girls. Girls are increasingly taught that their bodies are their major asset and the main source of their self-worth. The important thing is to be ‘hot’.

Despite the internalisation of many of the ideas in the ‘women’s movement’ many young women seem to me to lack a sense of autonomy. Modern dress styles mirror this. Freedom and fulfillment are endangered by a promoted need to be desired.

Reist’s arguments are a bit exaggerated – and a bit worn – but, overall, they are a good read. They came at the same time as this Senate report on the sexualisation of children in the media – policy recommendations are here.

Public policy responses to the sexualisation of children are often inappropriate – they should be directed at restricting offensive advertising. Beyond this promoting realistic sense of self-worth is a matter of education and developing sufficiently discriminatory tastes.

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