News flash: Sex is sold to young girls!

A report argues that the media is hypersexualizing adolescents, leading to an "ideology of seduction."

Published June 24, 2008 7:30AM (EDT)

Hold on to your hats, Quebec's Council on the Status of Women has some news for you: The media hypersexualizes young girls. (No! What ever could they mean?) The council's 100-page report argues that the media is selling sex to younger and younger female audiences and teenagers spend several hours a day watching media that "convey the conception of a sexuality based on inequality, stereotypes and the objectification of women." For instance, a highly popular site among Quebec teens is, where the aim is to create an avatar that is "the hottest, coolest, most famous bimbo in the whole world" by buying her breast implants and snagging her a rich boyfriend. And, what do you know, as a result of digesting this cultural cotton candy, young girls are adhering "to the ideology of seduction," says the report. Council President Christiane Pelchat told Montreal's Gazette, "It becomes their role model for behaviour, and we've noticed young people -- both girls and boys -- mimicking what they see."

This report is reminiscent of last year's report from the American Psychological Association's Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, which found that sexualized advertisements negatively affect girls' "cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, sexuality and attitudes and beliefs." One reader labeled it a "no shit" study-- but, you know what they say about common sense. The Globe and Mail's Lysiane Gagnon made fun of the report, especially its "comical" reference to the "ideology of seduction." Gagnon argues, "The desire to seduce the other sex (and more generally to attract and please other people) is a perfectly human and healthy aspiration that is also shared by men." True, but the report refers to seduction that is based solely on sexual inequality -- and, of course, let's not forget that we're talking about adolescent girls, not adult women who might understand the distinction.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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