Hypersexualization of young girls: Why should we care?

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Is the sexual development of our girl children being hijacked by a culture of hypersexualization? Or are we adults just reacting out of fear of our children’s natural expressions of sexuality?

Hypersexualization of young girls – also known as sexualization, early sexualization, or precocious sexualization – is a hotly debated topic lately.

Hypersexualization of girls can refer to girls being depicted or treated as sexual objects. It also means sexuality that is inappropriately imposed on girls through media, marketing or products directed at them that encourages them to act in adult sexual ways.

Examples are thongs marketed to 6-year old girls, ads of young girls in ‘sexy’ poses, and girls dressing up and dancing porn-style to their favourite pop star’s very adult lyrics. A brief search for “hypersexualization” on the web offers up many more. 

Whether hypersexualization is new or not – some argue that we have always sexualized girls in pop culture – the widespread use of the Internet, cell phones and other communication devices has made it commonplace.

One fact is clear: the debates about hypersexualization are highly charged – and can be very polarizing.

With the resources we have gathered on the topic, we try to frame these debates by looking at the arguments, the evidence and where we can go from here.

What are the issues? Should we be worried?
What can we do about it?