Studies & Hot Topics

teen girls new target of sexual exploitation on primetime tv

By the Parents Television Council

Sexually exploiting minors on TV – especially for laughs – is grotesquely irresponsible and must end.
New research from the Parents Television Council’s "4 Every Girl Campaign" found that underage female characters on primetime broadcast television are more likely to be presented in sexually exploitative scenes than adult women, and the appearance of underage female characters in a sexually exploitative scene increased the probability that the scene would be presented as humorous.

Study results revealed that out of 238 scripted episodes which aired during the study period, 150 episodes (63%) contained sexual content in scenes that were associated with females and 33% of the episodes contained sexual content that rose to the level of sexual exploitation.

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Gender Inequality in Popular Films

By Dr. Stacy Smith, USC

Sexualizing a significant portion of women this age may contribute to males viewing girls and women as "eye candy" at younger and younger ages
Perhaps most troubling were the findings about young teen characters in popular films. Professor Smith found the same prevalence of sexually revealing clothing and partial nudity in female characters in all age groups from 13 to 39. In fact, 13- to 20-year-olds were just as likely as 21- to 29-year-olds to be depicted in sexually provocative ways.

The survey found 33.8 percent of female teen characters were seen in sexy clothing, and 28.2 percent were shown with exposed skin in the cleavage, midriff or upper thigh regions. For male teen characters, the numbers were drastically lower - 5.3 percent shown in sexy clothing and 11.2 percent showing skin.

Sexualizing a significant portion of women this age may contribute to males viewing girls and women as "eye candy" at younger and younger ages, Smith said. "Viewing sexualized images of females in film may contribute to self-objectification in some girls or women, which – in turn – may increase body shame, appearance anxiety and have other negative effects."

Sexualizing Teen Girls: Tinseltown's New Target

By the Parents Television Council

Mainstream media have become saturated with girls portraying adult images of sexuality.
Results from this report show that when underage female characters appear on screen, there is: more sexualizing content depicted; fewer negative responses to being sexualized; more sexualizing incidents occurring outside of any form of committed relationships; more female initiation in the sexualized acceptable; and less accuracy in the content rating. Current study findings show that underage girls are rapidly becoming the new female image of sexualization in the media.

Mainstream media have become saturated with girls portraying adult images of sexuality. Past research and numerous reports concur that when females are shown on screen, it is often in a highly sexual or provocative matter. Consequently, the proliferation of sexualized images of and references to teens and women in the media have sent a strong message to young girls that sexualization is not only normal, it is socially acceptable.

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Real to Me: Girls and Reality TV

Girl Scouts of America

While many in society might view reality TV as a relatively benign phenomenon, our research shows significant differences between those girls who consume reality TV on a regular basis and those who do not. Of girls surveyed, regular reality TV viewers* differ dramatically from their non-viewing peers in their expectations of peer relationships, their overall self-image, and their understanding of how the world works. Our findings also suggest that reality TV can function in the lives of girls as a learning tool and as inspiration for getting involved in social causes.

Finding 1: Relationship Drama

All of the girls in our study feel that reality shows promote bad behavior. The vast majority think these shows "often pit girls against each other to make the shows more exciting" (86%), "make people think that fighting is a normal part of a romantic relationship" (73%), and "make people think it's okay to treat others badly (70%)."

Regular reality TV viewers accept and expect a higher level of drama, aggression, and bullying in their own lives as well. They are considerably more likely than non-viewers to agree that:

Finding 2: Two Sides to Self-Image

In our study, we found that girls who view reality TV regularly are more focused on the value of physical appearance.

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Beauty Redefined: Girls and Body Image Survey

Girl Scouts of the USA (New York, N.Y.: Girl Scouts of the USA and The Dove Self-Esteem Fund, 2010)

This nationwide survey, which included more than 1,000 girls ages 13 to 17, finds many girls consider the body image sold by the fashion industry unrealistic, creating an unattainable model of beauty. Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed say the fashion industry (89 percent) and/or the media (88 percent) place a lot of pressure on them to be thin.

However, despite the criticism of this industry, 3 out of 4 girls say that fashion is "really important" to them. These conflicted feelings are further spelled out in the Beauty Redefined factsheet

However:

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OTHER Resources

Below are other resources related to the 4  Every Girl mission

 

Reports/Studies

APA Task Force     Hollywood      Beauty at Any Cost      Women in Peril

 

 

Books

 

Prude      So Sexy So Soon           Cinderella Ate My Daughter  Pornified

 

 

 

Film/Documents


  Killing Us Softly       Cover Girl