In the contemporary media landscape, images of highly sexualized little girls and childified images of adult women run together seamlessly. Everywhere we see grown women and little girls in the same fetishized clothing, in the same poses, with the same facial expressions. In fact, bollywood and other local movies also sexualize young girls (by showing vulgar songs in school uniforms. Remember Dj Doll feat Deepal Shaw?). There are fashion shows arranged by schools where little girls do catwalk in adult clothes. Of course, you cannot forget flood of kids reality shows that pops up every evening.

As images of young girls continue to morph into a pornified mold, so too do many of the images and products being sold to young girls in form of teen magazines.Marketing of adult products and teen attitude to younger and younger kids is increasing. Little girls are sold products like costumes, makeup and even bras to help them look more mature.

According to the American Psychological Association, self-objectification is “a key process whereby girls learn to think of and treat their own bodies as objects of others’ desires.” More specifically, a girl must “internalize the male gaze” . . . so the constant question is not just “how do I look?” but “how do I look to him?”

Between 2002 and 2003, the number of girls aged 18 and under getting breast implants tripled, from 3,872 to 11,326.[1]

The pressures start ever earlier. Highly sexualized practices like shaving and waxing pubic hair are now marketed to girls who are barely old enough to have pubic hair.

What are the effects of self-objectification on girls? The evidence is in, and it’s very strong. According to a 2007 report by the American Psychological Association . . .

– lowers self-esteem
– increases risk of depression and eating disorders
– increases vigilance and “body monitoring”
– increases body dissatisfaction (shame, disgust)
– decreases sexual health (condom use, assertiveness)
– impairs mental function and academic performance

If you are angel’s father/mother – save her from this invisible objectification. Don’t become victim of market forces.

PS: . . . it’s not as if boys are being left to themselves. From cartoons and superheroes to video games and gangsta rap, boys almost from birth are being sold a detached, callous, and often violent hypermasculinity . . .

[1] Washington Post, 10/26/04 (data from American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery)

This is so pervasive now (outside entertainment domain) that even educated parents whom I talk to, do not want to understand nature and motive of this slow poison.

I was not aware about world wide scenario but as I read more on this subject, it becomes clear that global model of objectification of females is now being pushed hard in relatively conservative Indian households.

For example, this is BMW ad for used cars – shocking!