Three days after America’s most celebrated jailbait emerita flaked out of rehab and shaved her head, the American Psychological Association declares that “empowering” eight-year-olds by dressing them in “Porn Star” t-shirts might not be such a hot idea.
“The consequences of the sexualization of girls in media today are very real and are likely to be a negative influence on girls’ healthy development,” says Eileen L. Zurbriggen, PhD, chair of the APA Task Force. “We have ample evidence to conclude that sexualization has negative effects in a variety of domains, including cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, and healthy sexual development.”
Research evidence shows that the sexualization of girls negatively affects girls and young women across a variety of health domains:
* Cognitive and Emotional Consequences: Sexualization and objectification undermine a person’s confidence in and comfort with her own body, leading to emotional and self-image problems, such as shame and anxiety.
* Mental and Physical Health: Research links sexualization with three of the most common mental health problems diagnosed in girls and women–eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression or depressed mood.
* Sexual Development: Research suggests that the sexualization of girls has negative consequences on girls’ ability to develop a healthy sexual self-image.
Singled out for criticism are Bratz dolls, which my beloved boss has been railing against for years.
Exit question, WaPo edition: Why does the APA fear child “sexual confidence”?