The modesty of young ladies is a lost art. As a society, the manipulation is present through the commoditization of the sexualization of young women. It existences throughout sinister television, internet, and glossy, airbrushed magazine advertising: would-be underage paramours in seductive imagery. They’re clad in revealing clothing and suggestively posed, embodying unrealistic or unattainable figures.
The temperament, dress, and rise in sexual promiscuity encapsulate the chaotic zeitgeist of this generation. Girls now post themselves on YouTube aired catfights. They’re humiliated and tormented by the exposure of sexts and intimate photos and videos shared amongst peers. Slut-shaming is rampant. It’s becoming more ordinary for teenage girls to walk the mall and school hallways dressed in inappropriate and revealing fashion. Young girls lash out at authority figures, ignoring the pleas of parents, educators, and even police officers who warn their behavior is completely out of control. They are sacrificing the innocence of their childhoods.
Parents are witnessing their little darlings’ catapulting into adulthood, succumbing to the pressure of today’s hyper-sexualized culture. Children are hunting for a sexual identity younger and younger. Promiscuous sexual experimentation has exponentially increased. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 36.9 percent of 14-year-olds have had sex; more than one out of three. Among 12th graders, 66.4 percent have had sex. They feel a social obligation to.
The boys aren’t much better as there are growing numbers of them with more swagger than sense, and take no responsibility for their actions. Among teens each year there are about three million cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and approximately one million pregnancies, according to the Aspen Education Group. Less well-known is the fact that the rapid surge in the numbers of girls who perform oral sex is leading to a far greater incidence of mouth and throat cancers.
Girls are now afflicted with eating disorders and negative self-perceptions. They are stressed and depressed, and are forced to present a facade of confidence. They’re more concerned with an external superficial importance, seeking unnecessary plastic surgery in order to augment their bodies.Dosomething.org reports 75 percent of girls with low self-esteem engage in negative activities such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking, or drinking.
Girls are being urged by society to grow up too fast, losing critical years of healthy, personal emotional and psychological development. Instead they are precariously putting themselves into danger, making careless decisions. CBS News reported a study which found about 30 percent of surveyed teen girls (250 adolescent girls aged 14 to 17 years), admitted they met a person in real life who they had previously met online, even though that person’s identity had not been fully confirmed prior to their meeting. While these teens may think they know the other person speaking to them, they could be risking an encounter with a predator.
One of the main factors in teen promiscuity is self-esteem. When a teen has little or no self-confidence, he or she will use sex as a means to build confidence. However, the majority of teen girls’ perceive sex as a manipulation or negative. Psychologist Deborah Tolman discovered through numerous interviews with girls that the way they talk about sex is overwhelmingly undesirable. Their sexual encounters were most often described in weak and passive terms.
Steve Biddulph, a child psychologist, points out that girls aren’t born like this. Something has been happening to poison their lives. The signs are familiar to every parent: the eight-year-olds who are already worried about their figures; the ‘too-sexy too-soon’ 12-year-olds who won’t go out without make-up; the magazines aimed at 10 to14-year-olds that discuss oral sex. To put it bluntly, our 18 is their 14. Our 14 is their 10. Never before has girlhood been under such a sustained assault, from ads, alcohol marketing, girls’ magazines, sexually explicit TV programs, and the hard pornography that’s regularly accessed in so many teenagers’ bedrooms.
As a parent of girls, you need to take into consideration the extraordinary social pressure they’re under. Their image and self-esteem are the first to fracture. Teach your girls to be strong, capable, educated, and opinionated. Bestow an understanding of their worth, that it is not solely physical, and should not be given away recklessly. Monitor what websites and television programs your children visit. Explain that what is seen on television and in magazines, through celebrity images or reality shows, are false portrayals. Set limits on social networking.