Saturday, November 03, 2007

Sexualisation of children

The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) have expressed their concern at the overt sexualisation of childrens’ toys, clothes and entertainment. International studies confirm children are influenced by items familiar to them as they grow up. Exposure to sexual imagery can cause eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. Letters to Telecom´s Santa online site before Christmas last year showed fashion and image concerns among primary school children. Girls as young as six, asked Santa for clothes, necklaces, earrings, and wedge shoes. According to Times Online , dolls and toys bought 10 years ago for the 8-10 year age bracket are now being sold to children under six, and older children now prefer items previously sold to adolescents and teenagers. Genuine concern has been expressed at the messages pouty-lipped dolls, dressed in provocative clothing including fishnet stockings, lingerie, leather, boa feathers, and in sexually suggestive poses have on young children. Criticism has been levelled at celebrity stars such as Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, and pop group Pussycat Dolls to overtly popularize sexualized clothing. In a society which shuns paedophilia it seems ironic T-shirts with suggestive slogans such as 'So many boys, so little time', crop tops, mini skirts, lingerie are being made and sold to girls as young as five-years-old. Following a report by the American Psychological Association concerning the potential consequences of young girls viewing themselves as sexualised objects the Australian government has instigated an inquiry into the increasing amount of sexually provocative advertising to children. The NCWNZ has called parents to buy age-appropriate items for their children.

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