Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sexualised images harm young girls

Sexualised images in the media and advertising have a negative effect on healthy sexual development in girls, warn US experts.
A task force from the American Psychological Association analysed the content and effects of television, music videos, music lyrics, magazines, films, video games and the Internet on young girls, reported BBC News.
The experts scrutinised recent advertising campaigns and merchandising of products aimed at girls and found that sexualisation has negative effects on them, including in their cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, and healthy sexual development.
Sexualisation was defined as occurring when a person’s value comes only from her or his sexual appeal or behaviour, to the exclusion of other characteristics, and when a person is portrayed purely as a sex object.
Sexualisation can lead to a lack of confidence with their bodies as well as depression and eating disorders. Such images also have a negative effect on healthy sexual development in girls, said Eileen Zurbriggen, chair of the group and associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
The task force called on parents, school officials and health professionals to be alert to the potential impact on girls and young women.
It also advised that pupils be taught media literacy skills and be exposed to information on the negative effects of images portraying girls as sex objects in sex education programmes.


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