Monday, September 19, 2011

What Are We Doing To Our Little Girls??

Photo credit: Marilyn Wann @ Tumblr

Twenty-five percent of women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than win a Nobel Prize.( Source...)

Twenty-three percent of women would rather lose their ability to read than their figures. ( Source...)

Fifty percent of 9-year-old girls and eighty percent of 10-year-old girls have dieted. Ninety percent of high school junior and senior girls diet regularly, even though only 10% to 15% are over the weight recommended by the standard height-weight charts. (Source...)

Young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer, or losing their parents. (Source...)

Sadly, more college women can name more Kardashians than wars we are currently fighting.

Ample evidence exists that there is a connection to the measurable harm, i.e. body image dissatisfaction, eating disorders, low self-esteem, poorer academic performance, depression and anxiety, and the inappropriate sexualizing of children.

Our little girls receive constant exposure to adult-like clothing fabricated in their little sizes. We encourage them to focus on their physical appearance alone. They receive encouragement and even lessons on how to mimic adult bodily postures and mannerisms. They are exposed to media images and toys that sexualize girls and women. As contestants, they learn to exploit their "sexuality" in the competitive nature of pageant participation and are judged on beauty and flirty appeal.

Are these the "skills" we want to teach our little girls? Wouldn't they be better served by participating in activities like athletic, music or other organized learning programs where they can learn skills appropriate for their age levels. Who is going to teach them to read, comprehend, think, evaluate and question? Who will inspire them to draw, paint, sculpt, design, create? Who will encourage them to have fun, play, walk, run, swim, ride bikes or climb mountains?

Why are we continuing to teach our girls that their entire self-worth, the only attributes they are capable of contributing to society, is skinny, pretty, flirty, sexy.... and dumb?

In the immortal song lyrics of Peggy Lee, "Is that all there is?"


gina said...

This will be my biggest fear if I ever have children...teaching girls to love themselves no matter what! For Pete's's taken me 30+ years to be okay with myself! {and I can't completely say 100% that I'm okay with me!!}

Terri said...

I know, Gina. I raised two boys. I don't know what kind of mother I would have been for girls. There is so much "out there" that is so very contrary to achieving personal acceptance of our physical selves and so little encouragement or value of our creative, thoughtful, intellectual selves. And it seems like it is getting worse instead of better.

altadenahiker said...

I just wrote a patch piece this very week that all those Princess books aren't doing little girls any favors. Children's lit is highly influential -- I'm glad my early days were spent with Pippi.

Terri said...

I just read your Patch piece. Sad really. I had no idea, but it doesn't surprise me. Confession: I've never read Pippi Longstocking. I've read most of your preferred list, but Nancy Drew and Little House on the Prairie were my favorite books of choice. I guess Pippi will be another series of unread books to add to my pile in the living room.

altadenahiker said...

Oh, don't let it be unread. Only takes about an hour. Just get the first Pippi -- all the others are pretty much alike. If I'm not mistaken, you'll laugh.