Friday, May 23, 2008

Little Little Girls Gone Wild

University of Iowa journalism professor M. Gigi Durham has a debut book out called The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It. And it's about time. If I see one more ad for Beyonce's clothing line featuring tarted up toddlers working it, I'm going to scream.

Here's word on the book from Publisher's Weekly:
We've all seen it--the tiny T-shirts with sexually suggestive slogans, the four-year-old gyrating to a Britney Spears song, the young boy shooting prostitutes in his video game--and...Durham has had enough. In her debut book, she argues that the media--from advertisements to Seventeen magazine--are circulating damaging myths that distort, undermine and restrict girls' sexual progress. Durham, who describes herself as "pro-girl" and "pro-media," does more than criticize profit-driven media, recognizing as part of the problem Americans' contradictory willingness to view sexualized ad images but not to talk about sex. Chapters expose five media myths: that by flaunting her "hotness" a little girl is acting powerfully; that Barbie has the ideal body; that children--especially little girls--are sexy; that violence against women is sexy; and that girls must learn what boys want, but not vice versa. After debunking each myth, Durham offers practical suggestions for overcoming these falsehoods, including sample questions for parents and children. In a well-written and well-researched book, she exposes a troubling phenomenon and calls readers to action.
May this book--and its message--travel far and wide. For Salon's review, click here.


anniegirl1138 said...

As the mother of a five year old girl, and a former middle school teacher, I am incensed by the way the media/pop culture/clothing manufacturers have downsized the sexy wear of teens and twenty-somethings for children. Little girls are not sex objects. Small wonder females are still growing up with misguided notions of their own worth and confusing sex with love.

Ugh, I could rant about this all day.

Deborah Siegel said...

I know, it's creepola, right?