Study examining teen female sexualization in prime-time TV.

Study examining teen female sexualization in prime-time TV.

“Duh.  They had to do a study to find that out?  Teen girls have been the prime target for sexuality since the sixties!  Finally someone notices?” was the response of a UFI reader to a listing of this new report in our UFI Weekly.  Perhaps that is the obvious reaction, but the study’s authors, Parents Television Council (PTC) had a specific goal for their special report:  “to ignite a national dialogue about the sexualization of teenage girls in the entertainment industry.”

Their goal includes bringing the dangers of early sexualization of females by the entertainment and media industry to the attention of parents, marketers, corporations, and, of course, to the entertainment moguls themselves.

The executive summary points to the past and present research by PTC that continues to demonstrate the power of media “as a highly persuasive device for delivering images and message into our homes.”  What are some of these messages?

  • Models of bad behavior made to seem acceptable and normal, “frequently within a framework that is void of consequences.”
  • Underage females associated with more sexual depictions than onscreen adult females.  While adult females talked more about having sexual encounters, underage girls were shown exhibiting the behavior.
  • Just five percent of teen girls are depicted as having any dislike of their early sexualization.
  • “Youth are growing up with a media-market version of sexuality.”

Here’s how the Parent Television Council summarizes their report:

“Results from this report show that when underage female characters appear on screen, there is:  more sexual content depicted; fewer negative responses to being sexualized; more sexual incidents occurring outside of any form of committed relationships; more female initiation in the sexualized scenes, or mutual agreement between the teen and her partner that the sexualization scene is acceptable; and less accuracy in the content rating.”

We all seem to know this huge problem exists; so let’s use this report as an opportunity and an impetus to do something about it!

To read the entire report go here.

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