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.”
Let’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.