Objectivization of women as a means of depicting exaggerated sexuality in every single action has now become a severe social issue addressed by equality advocates. Indeed, today’s mass media and retail market are aimed at finding signs of implicit sexual behavior in practically every action performed by women. Such a process has eventually disrupted the general perception of female sexuality and maturity, as people are no longer capable of drawing a line between labeling something a sexual attribute and defining a concept with no sexual implication whatsoever.
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In her article named “Why Are We Dressing Our Daughters Like This?”, Lianne George draws the readers’ attention to the phenomenon of Lolita culture in modern perception of young girls’ appearance. Additionally, she discusses the marketers’ aim to call for maturity among children who are not yet aware of their sexuality and social identification. Thus, the author’s primary argument claims that the eroticization of girlhood has become so deeply integrated into the global culture that it is now hard to dwell on the roots of this issue and reflect on its appropriateness. Indeed, years of popular culture romanticizing and sexualizing adolescence in its purity and childish gullibility intertwined with objectivization has now blurred the boundaries between womanhood and the nymphet cult originated by Nabokov and his Lolita. Having considered the evidence outlined in the paper, it would be quite difficult to object to the fact that modern perception of sexualized “childishness” has irreversibly affected children’s coming of age desire while simultaneously encouraging women to adjust to the standards of pink and naive girlie tendencies on behavior and appearance.
The Adulthood Craving
The modern patterns of the consumerism culture and general tendencies of mass media pressure make people feel observed and judged in terms of their appearance from a very young age. In fact, in the article itself, George (38) points to the fact that modern kids feel the obligation to follow the established standards of appearance set by the media prior to their actual ability to reasonably assess their position in the social hierarchy. Thus, their ability to acknowledge the flaws of girlhood sexualization is distorted and driven mainly by the desire to look like older girls and adult women.
When looking at this issue from a child’s perspective, there is nothing odd in the young girl’s desire to feel more mature and have an appearance similar to older girls. However, it is the overall overtly provocative and sexualized representation of women in a society that affects the final picture. What is also significant in this scenario is the absurdity of the argument that overtly sexualized kids’ clothes do not impact children due to them having limited social cues when it comes to the implicit meaning behind provocative clothing. Although, at some point, children may clearly have a distorted understanding of the complications of the so-called Lolita culture, the root of the issue comes from the adults’ failure to acknowledge the scopes of these complications. Indeed, while adult women seem to address the problem and recognize its impact on younger female generations, they still cannot understand the real scopes of its influence.
The Grounds of Hypersexualized Girlhood
When speaking of evidence claiming girlhood sexualization in today’s world, it is important to mention that the tendency manifestation has already gone far beyond provocative clothing and inappropriate marketing items. In fact, the modern social media paradigm is replete with overtly sexualized content produced by small kids. A vivid example of such content is the videos posted on a social media app known as Likee. In its initial intention, this application was aimed at providing people with a video-making service for users to embrace their creativity in presenting short yet catchy content. However, with time, the platform has turned into a place where young children, who are not fully aware of their sexuality and its perception in society, post provocative and obscene video content.
When this issue was firstly addressed by parents and other concerned media users, caregivers started paying more attention to what their kids were doing on the Internet. However, when it comes to the fundamental question of children’s desire to fit in in the society obsessed with hypersexualized femininity, the concern has not been appropriately addressed. As a result, while having no reasonable explanation of the inappropriateness of these actions, children continue to feel the pressure of objectivization and show their maturity for the sake of belonging to a culture.
What Is Actually Going On?
Considering the issue of girlhood sexualization and societal demands for prematurity, it would be natural for a person to question the roots of the issue. In her article, George appeals to a variety of social trends, including the analysis of childhood perception from a diachronic perspective. She claims that today’s societal patterns reflect the perception of children common for the 17th century when girls were regarded as young copies of their adult mothers or elder sisters (George 38). In such a way, children who are expected to mimic adult behavior from early childhood lose the sense of being a child and gradually discovering the challenges of existing within society.
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In her other arguments, George appeals to the fact that given the complexity of the modern prerequisites of bringing up girls, parents do not have enough time and opportunity to acknowledge the role that clothes and marketing trends play in their child’s contribution to the cult of girlhood sexualization (George 39). Moreover, most adults have already become extremely affected by the expectations of the outside world when it comes to the standards of looks. Therefore, they do not always see the problem with provocative marketing assets tailored specifically for their kids.
Undeniably, one may argue that this issue is no longer relevant to today’s society to the same extent as it was at the time of the article’s publication. Indeed, the modern social patterns may be described as “woke” compared to the trends existing a decade ago. However, despite the increasing rates of sexualization advocacy, the access to inappropriate content posted on the Web also continued to rise unprecedented. For this reason, it is necessary to outline that along with the value of the modern advocacy patterns, the growing scopes of girlhood sexualization should not be ignored by citizens and public institutions.
Having taken into consideration the points outlined in Lianne George’s paper, it would be reasonable to assume that her thoughts unquestionably resonate with today’s patterns of girlhood sexualization. Thus, when looking into the link connecting the issue of sexualization and evidence of the young girls’ behavioral response to it, one may emphasize how deep the idea of Lolita culture has integrated into human conscience. In order to combat this social challenge, it is vital for people to recognize the extent to which their subconscious perception of sexuality perpetuates the image of girlhood purity in the context of women’s objectivization.
George, Lianne. “Why Are We Dressing Our Daughters Like This?” Maclean’s, vol. 199, no. 52/53, 2007, pp. 37-40.