#bodies

FACEBOOK

Twitter

WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND?

50% of 11-16 year olds

13 comments | August 19th, 2011

(story by OOC via Huffington Post)

Frankly, we're not sure of internet standards re how much of an article you can/should reproduce.  Begging the forgiveness of Arianna, Tim and the author (Colleen Perry), we're printing this one in its' entirety.  Only 2 words to add: Effing Horrifying.  Here it is:

As early exposure to themes of sex becomes the norm, children of younger ages are expressing discontent with their physical appearance. Results from a recent survey suggest that children rank body image among the highest of their concerns, above both self-confidence and social life. Recent research also suggests that nearly 50 percent of females between ages 11 and 16 would consider cosmetic surgery to improve their appearance.

These findings have striking implications about the factors comprising young children's self-image and esteem. Eating disorders are now presenting in children as young as 6 years old, with dieting becoming more common among those under the age of 10.

Such ardent focus on physical appearance also comes in response to overly-sexualized messages from the media. Stars considered favorites among youth (i.e. Miley Cyrus and Vanessa Hudgens) have received much press for exploiting their bodies on stage or through images leaked on the Internet.

The media also speaks to the import of sexuality and attractiveness among youth through TV shows such as "Toddlers and Tiaras." In this week's most recent episode, 6-year-old beauty pageant star, Eden Wood, can be seen on stage gyrating her pelvis like a professional stripper during the "talent" portion of the pageant. The message that it is important to be sexy is clear, even if you still have your baby teeth!

Actress Geena Davis, is engaging law makers like Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., to support a bill called the "Healthy Media for Youth Act." Ms. Davis believes that the more hours of television a girl watches the fewer options she believes she has in life. "Of the female characters that were there, the vast majority … were either highly stereotyped or were serving mainly as eye candy. So the concern was clear, what message does this send to young children about the value of girls?" Ms. Davis said.

Girls, more often than boys, receive the message at an early age that in order to be valued, they must look attractive. Attractiveness in our culture requires one to be thin and to appear sexy. This form of validation is externally driven, which leads young girls to believe that their value lies in the judgements of "others." Their internal sense of self is not developed adequately, which in many cases, leads to the eating disorder behaviors.

As a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders, I am often asked what motivates me to treat this often  misunderstood and life threatening disorder. My goal is to help teenagers and young women navigate their way through our culture which, I believe, diminishes the value of women and all of our gifts. We are bombarded with images of unrealistic beauty. Often we are taught to value the feelings and needs of others before our own, restricting our voices and distilling our spirits into a pretty package. I envision a world where women feel joyful about living their lives knowing their beauty and power lies within them.

Please go to HuffPo here, to add your comments and support the author.  What do you think is going on?

13 comments

  • Outraged

    Posted on August 19, 2011

    I was just walking though a department store and saw some of what I can only describe as “sexy lingerie” on sale in the young girls department. I was horrified and outraged and even asked to see the store manager, but they weren’t there.

    I understand we want our children to look cute but sexy? It is so inappropriate and wrong on many levels.

    Report this comment

    • Anonymous

      Posted on August 19, 2011

      What kind of women and mothers are we raising these little girls to be? We’re teaching them the wrong things from early on.

      Report this comment

    • pb

      Posted on August 26, 2011

      I hate how the store Victoria’s Secret looks specifically. I went in there w/my daughter once, and the girl they had picture up on the wall looked, from the waist down, I swear, like my son! (granted missing certain body parts!) Point is, her hips were so thin as to be kind of creepy looking, like she was a space alien or something. I wonder if the men picking the women for these ads either a) secretly like boys or b) have very small ‘s and want a girl w/small hips/butt to make their look bigger by comparison! (sorry if that’s too blunt!)

      Report this comment

    • Emma

      Posted on November 16, 2012

      i totally agree, that is disgusting on so many levels. and i am 12! we shouldn’t be wearing that kind of stuff! i think that shop should get their act together and start thinking sencibly

      Report this comment

  • B.K.

    Posted on August 19, 2011

    I live in L.A. and marvel at the little children who have more style then I ever will. I’ve never seen their underwear, but when I look at them with their expensive haircuts and clothes, I can not help but think they’re just being raised to reflect their parents’ tastes not their own. It’s like if little Susie is cool, then her mother must be also.

    Report this comment

    • OOC

      Posted on August 23, 2011

      Couldn’t agree more, BK. And some of that’s great and fine and okay. Maybe all of it is for little Susie. We wonder though if there’s a moment when it becomes less than great and fine and okay, but that’s every parent and family’s choice to make for themselves. Us though, we’re with you. X

      Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    Posted on August 23, 2011

    My 11 year old daughter asked me for an underwire bra the other day! She’s starting to develop and wears cute, appropriate little bras that provide some coverage. I explained that underwire (like a cellphone) is a need, not a want. When the need is there, I will review it and make the decision. Just because your friends all have the thing, doesn’t mean you have to have it too. Of course, I remember having the same discussion with my mom. Turns out, I STILL don’t need underwire! I’ve seen some “teen” bras that look like something from the old Fredricks catalog.

    Report this comment

    • OOC

      Posted on August 23, 2011

      Our kids are almost 5 and 6. We cringe already at these moments and conversations, because when they come, they come with a vengeance! We hear you. Xo

      Report this comment

  • Anonymous

    Posted on August 23, 2011

    Talking about Bras, did anyone notice that they have padded bras in junior selections? Why do children need to show bigger cup sizes?!

    Report this comment

  • its pretty gross

    Posted on September 7, 2011

    She probably wants an underwire bra because people might bully her in school. In primary everyone already knew all there is about sex by year 5 -6. but some knew everything in year 3-4. If you didnt know about sex your a gimp. Theres your kids solution to matters if this person dosnt know about this then they are a gimp or faggot or la lala.

    In highschool one of my friends had sex on her 13th birthday which was the coolest thing for her she was very excited to brag to all. then when she found out her bestfriend had sex with the same person she did (but she was 14) she had a fight with her thats still continuing now (shes 17 now) except things are a bit more dangerous now because there getting all there friends on each other and getting into lots of fights.

    I duno its just normal to me now, quite boring when i hear it actually, even when i hear about 11 yr olds having sex, or when 2 year 7ers got caught having sex in the toilets at my school.

    Yeah i dont really care about it no more.
    These things usually happen to people who have really strict parents who dont tell them things and then they think the know everything and end up making mistakes, or are just let to do whatever they want,
    or even normal kids who just follow peers.

    Ide say right now its seen as normal for 14-15 year olds to have sex with their boyfriends as long as they are on the pill and have condoms. thats all i can say.

    Report this comment

  • Cherry

    Posted on September 23, 2011

    Parents, you NEED to educate your children at id say age 6. i was one of those kids that was over sheltered and wasnt told about sex. and for me that led to MANY issues over tha years. if my parents had been relaxed and open with me i would have been soooooooo much better off. instead i had to learn from my peers and tha media, and lets just say it didnt end so well. just please dont hide sex, or talk around it like a secret!! have relaxed nerves and tell tha truth/facts. your children will thank you one day for it.

    Report this comment

MORE STORIES