More importantly: what does that have to do with you?
A lot, actually.
No matter if you’re a child, a teen, a young adult or a parent: this has affected and is still affecting you right now, directly or indirectly.
We are all bombarded with sexual content by the media to such extent that we lose track of the true meaning of what we see. We have become desensitized and regard certain things as normal when in reality they aren’t normal at all. We need to look at them with fresh eyes. We need to see things for what they are.
I never gave much thought to that until I stumbled across Subliminal Hyper Sexualization of Children Exposed on Youtube. It parades a collection of sexual imagery in entertainment and products aimed at children. I gasped as I watched the full menu, from genitals to oral and anal sex, not to mention plain pedophilia. In fact, I was so appalled that I did a research and found countless other instances all over the place.
What the heck is going on?
Boys and girls are exposed to sex from a very tender age. They suffer a sexual assault from ads, toys, games, films, music, TV and fashion. Sexual content is used not only to sell but ultimately to condition behavior that will affect future romantic relationships and sexuality. According to the Geena Davis Institute of Gender in the Media, recent research shows that girls as early as 6 years old view themselves as sexual objects: they feel they need to be sexy in order to be appreciated.
Not dolls: plastic prostitutes for girls to role play with
Dolls, for example, are hypersexualized, and so are female cartoon characters. Girls are sold the notion that being sexy is more important than developing qualities such as self-acceptance, independence and individuality. As a result, girls are indoctrinated to value sex appeal, materialism and conformism—as objects they become inherently passive, since objects are passive by definition.
Smartphones, tablets and TV fill the lives of children all day long. Many spend more time interacting with media than they do with anything else. The three largest media conglomerates are Disney, NBC and CBS, and most children shows on those networks promote the sexualization of young children through their programming.
Programming means conditioning: it can change you without you realizing. You start to act upon beliefs and patterns of behavior that are not your own but rather forced upon you in a deceptive way and through repetition.
Hypersexualized exposes a load of sexual images in children shows that are hidden in plain view or flash on the screen before your conscious mind can filter them. Those images go straight to your subconscious mind, which stores the information and uses it to program your behavior. I was shocked with what I saw in the seemingly innocent images gathered in the video.
Is this appropriate for children?
How about shows heavily geared towards kids kissing, dating and cheating? Let’s remember that whatever children see shapes their view of the world and teaches them their role in society: children imitate behaviors to which they are exposed. You have young girls that are children idols and grow up to become young celebrities in the music industry. Then they are pressured to hypersexualize themselves, as Miley Cyrus explains to Barbara Walters in an interview: “I don’t always want to be naked. Once I came out on stage completely covered, and they rolled ‘Miley is boring, she doesn’t get naked and she’s boring.’ No matter what I do, I’m either boring or I’m a slut.” Young adults such as Cyrus are role models to their teen fans, who want to be like them. That reinforces the slut culture and opens up a whole market for the fashion industry.
How about a T-shirt that reads “I love cock”? Girls as young as seven-year olds are wearing it.
Sociologist Dr. Gail Dines says there used to be two main categories of porn: the implicit soft porn and the explicit hardcore porn. Today, porn is categorized as hardcore mainstream or hardcore extreme, while soft porn has moved to popular culture. If you watch videos by artists such as Lady Gaga, Rhiana, Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears and others, you get the full soft porn deal: nudity, twerking, orgies and quite often sexual lyrics. In fact, even hardcore porn can be found in pop culture these days: the music video All Over the House by Skepta features porn actors, genitals and real penetration right on your face.
Remember that children and young teens copy what they see and hear.
Children pageants like Toddlers and Tiaras are another example of how pervasive this hypersexualization is. In a spoof starring Tom Hanks, he takes his daughter to the Ultimate Sexy Baby Pageant. For starters, the words sexy and baby shouldn’t even be in the same sentence. Tom Hanks alleged 6-year old daughter performs with heavy makeup and a dress that exposes her midriff. In the end, she sings the line “Talk dirty to me” in a flirtatious way and Tom Hanks applauds, repeating several times what a sexy baby she is.
Is it me, or this is plain creepy? Yet people are so conditioned to find it normal they don’t realize how twisted this is. They think it’s cute and hilarious.
The message is clear to girls: you’re expected to be sexy at all costs in order to earn appreciation. That also means being morbidly thin like the photoshopped models seen in ads everywhere.
Educational psychologist Lori Day writes in the Huffington Post that the widespread practice of misrepresenting the appearance of models in order to sell products and services creates false and unrealistic expectations about what people should, can, and do look like. “Advertisers don’t even have the tip of a fig leaf over themselves on this issue. This is deceptive and damaging to our daughters—and to our sons, who are also influenced to believe girls can and should look like these advertisements, and who are starting to see male models photoshopped to unrealistic muscular proportions as well.”
Many studies provide crucial data connecting these ads to negative outcomes for girls. Here are just a few:
- Eating disorders, depression and low self-esteem are the 3 most common problems
- 42% percent of girls in grades 1-3 want to be thinner
- 53% of 13-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies
- By the time they’re 17, girls have seen 250,000 TV commercials telling them they should aspire to be a sex object or have a body size they can never achieve
- 78% of 17-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies
- 30% of high school girls suffer from disordered eating
- Adolescent girls are more afraid of gaining weight than getting cancer
- Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses
To be loved becomes synonym to be desired
Then we have this desperate need for social validation not only leading to health problems and low self-esteem but also promiscuity. Moreover, this kind of objectification promotes a culture of rape and pedophilia. What do you think happens when you have young girls trained to be sexual objects, and boys and men trained to view them as such? Objects are meant to be available for grabs. Objects are meant to be used and abused since they lack humanity—they’re just “things.”
Here’s some food for thought. How does this female objectification affect romantic relationships? Does it contribute to a closer and more satisfying bond for men and women? Does it promote equality and respect, which constitute the foundation for a healthy relationship and, ultimately, a well-adjusted society?
Before I end this post, let me be clear: I’m not a moralist by any stretch of the imagination. But the same way I don’t like the church preaching chastity, I don’t like the media preaching porn and objectification, and thus rendering sex utterly banal. Sex is not banal—especially for females, because it implies opening up their bodies to someone else. Of course sex can be casual, but it needs to be rooted in self-respect and true desire, not merely triggered by social pressure and indoctrination. Having sex is not as simple as having a glass of water—it does have consequences, both physical and emotional.
Sex needs to have meaning. Sex devoid of meaning is dirty in the worst possible sense.
I’ll leave you with another video called The Great Deception: Subliminal Messaging, which is a collection of ads and additional Disney material with subliminal sexual messages. I invite you to watch it on Youtube along with Subliminal Hyper Sexualization of Children Exposed.
We are all bombarded with sexual content by the mass media to such an extent that we lose track of the true meaning of what we see. We have become desensitized and regard certain things as normal when in reality they aren’t normal at all. We need to look at them with fresh eyes. We need to see things for what they are.
Want to make a difference? Sign the Truth in Ads petition to ban those hideous photoshopped ads that lead our girls to such a miserable condition.
On my next post I’ll be talking about the greatest porn experiment ever made. Stay tuned. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.