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The Sexualization of Girls and the Development of Emotional Problems

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

Both as a psychotherapist and as the father of two daughters I thought it was important to point out this new report from the American Psychological Association, (APA), about how the media impact girls.

A task force of the American Psychological Association just came out with an important report about the impact that the sexualization girls in the media has on the adjustment of females around the nation. What the report found was the sexualization of women as portrayed in music, advertising, movies, television, video games and on the Internet contributes significantly to low self esteem, depression and vulnerability to eating disorders.

For both girls and young women there are cognitive and emotional consequences to females being portrayed as sex objects in mass media. Among these consequences, girls become uncomfortable with their bodies, develop negative self image problems and become filled with shame and anxiety about now they believe they look to other people.

The APA states that parents can have a powerful effect in counteracting the impact of what girls are viewing. A few of the things that parents can do to help their daughters are to:

A. Watch their television programs with them and discuss how women are being portrayed and discussing how harmful and inaccurate it is.

B. Talk to their sons and raise them to value their sisters, mothers, teachers and other women and treat them with respect.

C. Focus the attention of girls on the importance of valuing their selves for who they are and not for having to appear "sexy."

These are just of few of the suggestions.

For more information on this important topic readers can go to the APA website and view the report as well other articles about how to help these girls make healthy adjustments to their bodies and to their selves as human beings.

A summary of the report that includes a lot of additional information about how parents can help can be found at the following URL:

http://www.apa.org/pi/wpo/sexualization.html

Your comments are always welcome.

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