Saturday, March 10, 2007

Damaging sexualization

Just ran across a wonderful piece from Kathleen Parker on the recent discovery by the APA that girls are "sexualized" and that's not necessarily a great thing.
When it comes to figuring out what's gone wrong with our culture, we can usually rely on the American Psychological Association (APA) to catch on last.

Thus, it came to pass a few days ago that the APA released its findings that American girls are sexualized. And that's bad.

If you missed the headlines, it may be because of stiff competition from the breaking news that Anna Nicole is still dead and Britney is still disturbed.

Irony doesn't get to be ironic when it's that conspicuous.

It's a great piece, and I recommend it. But what she's talking about is both obvious, and greatly concerning, particularly to a parent. It is very difficult to bring children up in a culture that is so obviously hostile to traditional standards of deceny. As Parker says, "we shouldn't need a scientific study to tell us that sexualizing children is damaging." I don't want to spend all my time shielding my children from the outside world, but, on the other hand, the attitudes of the culture in which we live are so pervasive, and so harmful, that you really do have do a lot of teaching just to overcome the baseline.

In any event, this is a good article. With a strong, common-sense close.
It can't be coincidence that girls' self-objectification -- looking for male attention in all the wrong ways -- has risen as father presence has declined. At last tally, 30 percent of fathers weren't sleeping in the same house as their biological children.

The APA is calling for more education, more research, forums, girls groups and Web zines to tackle girl sexualization. But my instinctual guess is that getting fathers back into their daughters' lives and back on the job would do more than all the forums and task forces combined.

Ultimately, it's a daddy thing.

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