“Teen female sexualization.”

From FoxNews:

According to a new study conducted by the Parents Television Council (PTC), Hollywood is shockingly obsessed with sexualizing teen girls, to the point where underage female characters are shown participating in an even higher percentage of sexual situations than their adult counterparts: 47 percent to 29 percent respectively. …

Storylines on the most popular shows among teens are sending the message to our daughters that being sexualized isn’t just acceptable, it should be sought after,” Winter said. “It is outrageous that TV executives have made it their business to profit off of programs that depict teen girls blissfully being sexualized by casual partners.”

Tinsel Town reportLet’s ignore the fact that the actors in question are adults; the PTC is talking about teen characters, after all. And let’s pretend not to notice that the PTC’s prurient concerns are confined to female teen characters, and don’t extend to male teen characters. Let us not dwell on the pedophile-friendly cover of the PTC’s own report, either, or the sanctimonious pretension that it is the PTC, and not parents (and certainly not teenagers themselves), who ought to decide what teenagers should be able to see, and hence what should be allowed on television. What interests me — even more than the PTC’s repetitious references to Hollywood as “Tinsel Town” (or “Tinseltown;” the PTC lacks editorial consistency) — is the word “sexualize.”

The PTC’s report offers a definition:

For purposes of this study, “sexualization” was defined as the act or process of sexualizing. It refers to the making of a person, group or thing to be seen as sexual in nature or a person to become aware of sexuality.

In that context, it’s obviously nonsense to talk about “sexualizing” teenagers. I don’t believe that anyone who has ever been a teenager, and is even marginally intelligent, really thinks it’s possible to “sexualize” teenagers. Teenagers are sexual. They’re just like real people that way. Even a teenager who is as chaste and inexperienced as any Christian daddy could ever wish his little princess to be, is still a writhing mass of hormones struggling toward adulthood — usually with consequences that are messy even if they don’t involve intercourse. My initial reaction to the article was to think that the PTC’s problem isn’t girls being sexualized, but girls not being desexualized to the PTC’s satisfaction.

But wait. The definition continues. “It also refers to the making of an interpersonal relationship into a sexual relationship.”

Now it’s clear what they really mean. “Sexualize” is the PTC’s word for “fuck.” What they’re outraged about is Hollywood’s obsession with fucking teen girls; that is, the PTC’s perception that “[s]torylines on the most popular shows among teens are sending the message to our daughters that being [fucked] isn’t just acceptable, it should be sought after.”

It makes you wonder whether they’ve ever meet a teenaged girl.

In their quaint and patriarchal way, it never occurs to them that girls fuck — that fucking is something girls can do. Girls and women, of course, are only the passive receivers and victims of fucking. Fucking is something only boys and men can do, and for girls and women it’s something that is done to them by boys, men, and those nasty TV networks — which also, the PTC solemnly warns us, “really stick it to families.”

That’s a big part of why fundamentalists hate gay folks so much, too. In their minds lesbians, by having sexual relations with women, put themselves in the proper place of men, a form of female arrogance that should not be tolerated. And to the fundamentalist way of thinking gay men, by having sex with men, insult their sex by putting themselves in the proper place of women — the inferior, passive role of victim and martyr. Homosexuality doesn’t conform to the sexual caste system intrinsic to patriarchy, in which fucking — at least, outside of a proper Christian marriage — is not a way to be intimate with someone, but a way to dominate and humiliate someone — and that someone had better be a woman, and her “owner” a man. Homophobia is fundamentally and intensely misogynistic, just like the fundamentalist fear of female sexuality.

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10 Responses to “Teen female sexualization.”

  1. The sexualization of children and adolescents has been found by reputable non-partisan research to lead to all sorts of psychological problems in girls and women. However, as you astutely point out, the Parent’s Television Council makes a mockery of such research by messing with the definition of “sexualization” in order to make political gains.

    Here is the American Psychological Association’s definitions of sexualization:

    Sexualization occurs when:

    a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics;

    a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy;

    a person is sexually objectified—that is, made into a thing for others’ sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making; and/or

    sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person.

    • The DV8 says:

      Thanks for that explanation, Sunstone. To be honest, I didn’t know the APA definition; I just knew the PTC definition was nonsense.

      • The APA is very careful to distinguish between appropriate sexuality in children, adolescents and adults and the inappropriate sexualization of children. While the PTC quotes the APA in its report, and professes to follow the APA in several ways, including following the APA’s definition of sexualization, the PTC seems to stretch the definition of sexualization beyond anything the APA would recognize as its own.

        For instance: Let’s take just one example of a stretch. Where the PTC says sexualization “…also refers to the making of an interpersonal relationship into a sexual relationship.” Jeebers! If you take that statement at face value, then anytime two friends are depicted falling love and having sex — that’s sexualization. The APA definition, by contrast, would not call that sort of situation “sexualization”.

        Because of that and other things, the PTC comes across as denying human sexuality to children and adolescents.

    • Near as I can figure it out, DV8, the PTC report was based on no more than 35 hours of TV watching, and is in all likelihood more of a fund raising tool than an honest effort at science. I say that after reading the PTC executive summary. If I can find the PTC report, I will read that too.

      • The DV8 says:

        The “study” doesn’t say much beyond what the executive summary says; there are links here: http://www.parentstv.org/FemaleSexualization/Study.htm

        It was probably in the neighborhood of 35 hours or a little less. They watched a total of 45 episodes of 14 different scripted shows, 6 of which are one-hour shows and 8 of which are half-hour shows.

      • Damn! What I’ve been thinking is merely their executive summary turns out to be their whole frickin’ report! Twenty-three pages! This has got to be a fund-raising project and not an attempt at more than the mere appearance of science.

  2. “Even a teenager who is as chaste and inexperienced as any Christian daddy could ever wish his little princess to be, is still a writhing mass of hormones struggling toward adulthood — usually with consequences that are messy even if they don’t involve intercourse.”

    :::collective gasp!::: (from all those Christian daddies)

  3. K. Capach says:

    Perhaps I’m a prude… but I find the fact that young people are being sold media and merchandise using sex as a tool is disgusting. Not that I’m supporting a ’50’s paternalistic nightmare, but prepubescent girls should not feel they need live in a way to make men horny. Or that doing so gives them power, rather than objectifying them.

  4. andry says:

    naiz info…..

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