New UK Study on the Sexualization of Children
Dear Engaged Bystander: I am sorry to have been ofline for the last week and otherwise "engaged." Please read my humor here. And after two conference in two weeks, I have a lot tI hope o share. I will try to spread this out over the next week and give you only the highlights of what i have learned.
But first, I wanted to share with you a posting by Alisa Klein about the new report from the UK, "The Sexualisation of Young People Review". It is a powerful report and hopefully a call to action about what we all need to be doing differently in this rapidly changing environment. A friend once said that the changes our families and communities are experiencing today with the global information revolution is similar to the changes of the industrial revolution of the 1880's. We need to fully understand these changes if we want to continue our values of sexual health, healthy boundaries, and safety for all women, men, boys and girls.
Here is what Alisa shared:
The report is part of the government's strategy to tackle violence against women and girls and "looks at how sexualised images and messages may be affecting the development of children and young people and influencing cultural norms. It also examines the evidence for a link between sexualisation and violence." It can be found at:
From the Executive Summary:
1. Violence against women and girls is unacceptable, whatever thecircumstances and whatever the context. In March 2009, the government launched the Together We Can End Violence Against Women and Girls consultation in order to raise awareness of the problem and explore policy proposals and ideas designed to help prevent violence against women and girls. This report forms part of that consultation.
2. This review looks at how sexualised images and messages may be affecting the development of children and young people and influencing cultural norms, and examines the evidence for a link between sexualisation and violence. The decision by the government to commission this review reflects the importance of the issue and the popular perception that young people (and in particular young women and girls) are increasingly being pressured into appearing sexually available. The report looks at examples and the prevalence of sexualisation in culture and proposes mechanisms by which sexualised messages are being internalised and the consequences of these on young people.
3. The world is saturated by more images today than at any other time in our modern history. Behind each of these images lies a message about expectations, values and ideals. Women are revered -- and rewarded -- for their physical attributes and both girls and boys are under pressure to
emulate polarised gender stereotypes from a younger and younger age. The evidence collected in this report suggests these developments are having a profound impact, particularly on girls and young women.
If you can, take the time to read through this. It is a powerful summary of our shifting norms. This is information that we all need to know.