The best approach to solve the problem of sexualization of girls is through the use of Media Education and Show Talks (MEST) plan. This is attained by the advocacy of developing career oriented girls and women in the society. There are a number of ways this can be achieved but the most compelling and appropriate method that can be applied and produce the desired results is the use of successful women in the business and the corporate world as icons and references. There is a famous saying in the bible that states that iron sharpens iron. This same principle seems to work in many aspects of mankind. For example, sexualization of girls is a problem that has been in existence for many years. However, the people who have perpetuated it are the women celebrities and models in the society. They have successfully promoted the concept of sexualization of girls through production of sexualized images of themselves in the media and the business world. Music and other video productions are filled with sexualized messages and images of women who are mostly half-naked dancing in the name of entertainment. In essence, the current cultural life that women celebrities and successful women live is the key to continuous sexualization problem. Therefore, the best and easy way that can be used to eliminate sexualization of girls in the society is through the use of popular and successful women in the corporate world to act as role models for young girls to emulate (Siddiqui, 2013).
There are a number of other ways that have been suggested by experts such as educating parents to manage their daughters and regulate on what they watch on televisions and the music they listen to. This approach seems not to work appropriately because young girls and teenagers tend to have a low profile of their parents. This therefore becomes a hindrance for their daughters to listen to them and do as they advise them. Additionally, young girls especially at the adolescent stage tend to be rebellious to parents. It is therefore very difficult for girls at this stage of life to listen and follow the guidance of their parents on matters of sexualization culture. Even though the American Psychological Association Task Force report of 2007 strongly advised parents to teach their daughters and sons on sexualization, this method does not seem to work well. This may be due to the fact that young boys and girls are highly influenced by their peers. They therefore emulate their peers on various dressing codes and versions as well as their behavior as far as sexualization is concerned.
There are a number of ways this plan can be put in place. The first and most important avenue to be used is the media society. Media is one avenue that has perpetuated and magnified the problem of sexualization of girls through advertisements, music, videos and television and radio shows that portray the celebrities and popular women in the society as sexualized stereotypes (Curry & Choate, 2010). Most of them dress inappropriately in order to impress men audience since this culture of sexualization of girls and women has been an avenue for popularity and famousness. The media should then turn around and enforce policies that prohibit commercial advertisement of any kind that portrays sexualization of girls. The policies should also employ the fact that no popular woman entity should be put on air waves in the name of shows if they are dressed appropriately or in the manner that do not depict them as sexualized objects. Additionally, the media fraternity should also come up with regulations that control the content that is aired in their channels through music and video shows. This regulation should entail the banning of playing music where women are depicted dancing half-naked or sometimes fully naked entertaining their male counterparts. If this is put in place, young girls will not be able to access the sexualized messages and information that teaches them to value how they look rather than what they can do.
In addition, the implementation of this plan requires that women celebrities and popular female entities in the society should come forward and campaign against sexualization of girls. These women should be used as icons in the society through which young girls will emulate. The successful women in the corporate world, media and other various fields of study should come out more often to give their stories to the public. Instead of the media using their resources portraying messages of sexualized women and girls, they should use these resources to fetch out popular and successful women in the society to advocate and campaign for girls to realize their potential if they focus in their studies and business rather than focusing on their physical appearance. A good example is Melinda Tankard Reist and Danielle Miller who are discussed by Charles (2012) a two prominent Australian women who have undertaken their career of commentators to educate women and girls on sexualization. They have successfully done this by writing books, magazines and even holding talk shows. They have become popular figures in the media on feminist agenda and their success story has inspired many girls in Australia, United States and the United Kingdom (Charles, 2012).
According to Frances (2013), the increase of sexual content available over the internet and other media channels has led to a rise of 37% sex related behaviors in teenage girls and boys. Additionally, girls who watch rap music videos through various media channels for more than 14 hours per week have high chances of having multiple sex partners. This is because these rap music videos contain 93 sexual situations on average per hour. These situations include “hard core” scenes portraying oral sex or intercourse (Frances, 2013). This is a clear indication that media has great impact on the influence of sexualization of girls and teenagers in general. Teenagers are mostly and greatly influenced by the content they receive through media. This same media can also be used to effectively change the perception of girls on sexualization by changing the content from sexualized images, messages and videos to talk shows featuring popular and successful women in the society in different fields of study and corporate world.
Howard (2013) features the world’s most powerful women that include Chief Executive Officers, politicians, celebrities and activist billionaires. The message given in this website is powerful and influential as well as motivating. Such and more features should dominate today’s media society in order to change the perception of young girls from being sexually objectified to being women of substance and influence. By emulating their characteristics or admiring their achievement, young girls can set their own goals and be determined to attain them without any external pressure. They then will be able to exploit their potential both academically and in the corporate world without minding too much on non-essential things such as how appealing they look sexually (Howard, 2013).
With this statistics, it can be noted that the percentage of female figures that often appear in media stations is significantly higher than that of men. More so, these female figures enhance sexualization culture through their appearances. The media society should embrace this fact and use it against sexualization culture. These women should be used to rally towards eradication of this culture in the society (Howard, 2013).
This plan will greatly help to save time, money and lives wasted through the practice of sexualization of girls’ culture. Firstly, the plan saves money because the media society will only change their programs from the usual sex oriented shows to hosting of popular and successful women in the society to talk on their success stories and their motivational speeches. Therefore, the same resources they use to host popular celebrities to talk and show off their sexuality and ‘hotness’ are the same resources media will use to host these popular figures. Secondly, this plan will save many lives that are lost or wasted as a result of sexual violence among teenagers due to the influence of media (Zurbriggen et al, 2007).. The fact that young girls watch sexual contents in the media and go out to practice them endangers their lives in several ways. One of them is getting early pregnancies which prompt them to committing abortion. Research shows that a good percentage of young girls who attempt to abort end up dying in the process. The implementation of this plan will reduce the cases of early pregnancies among the teenagers since they will be focused on achieving their dreams and avoid having early sexual intercourse.
MEST is the most appealing and goal oriented plan that can be implemented to attain or achieve the desired results. My call is to all parents, civil societies, and private organizations, governmental and non-governmental organizations as well feminist movements to embrace this plan and pressure the media fraternity to adhere to it. They should all come out and pressure the media society to amend their constitution and policies so as to include the suggested methodology in this paper. If the media fraternity should adjust and adhere to the plan laid out in this paper, the society will slowly adjust to the new messages and information. This will change not only the girls and women in the country but also the performance and general growth of GDP and improvement in other fields such as education and business world will be realized (Duschinsky, n.d)..
Let us therefore help our girls and daughters unleash their potential and achieve the best that comes out of them rather than how they look by advocating and implementing the MEST strategy. This strategy seems to be the best because it deals with the root cause of the problem rather than suppressing or dealing with the problem on the surface. If we do not come out and ensure that the media has changed their language, images and messages that pro-mote sexualization of girls, we will still be very far from solving the social problem of sexualization of girls in our society. My appeal is to all the public to take the burden on their shoulders and employ any mechanism that will make the media society change their policies on this matter.
Charles, C. E. (2012). New Girl Heroes: The Rise of Popular Feminist Commentators in an Era of Sexualization. Gender and Education, 24(3): 317-323.
Curry, J. R. & Choate, L. H. (2010). The Oversexualization of Young Adolescent Girls: Implications for Middle Grades Educators. Middle School Journal, 42(1): 6-14.
Duschinsky, R. (n.d). The Emergence of 'Sexualization' as a Social Problem. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/1201374/The_Emergence_of_Sexualization_as_a_Social_Problem
Frances, D. E. (2013). Addressing a teen’s inappropriate sexual behavioral issues is difficult for most parents. Yet it’s a problem many families face. Retrieved from http://www.horizonfamilysolutions.com/sexual-behavior-programs/
Gurian, A. (nd). The Sexualization of Girls and Mental Health Problems: Is There a Connection? Retrieved from http://www.aboutourkids.org/articles/sexualization_girls_mental_health_problems_there_connection
Howard, C. (2013). The World's Most Powerful Women 2013. Forbes Staff. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinehoward/2013/05/22/the-worlds-most-powerful-women-2013/
Siddiqui, S. (2013). ‘Successful women can create better societies’ Retrieved from http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-3-203550-Successful-women-can-create-better-societies
Zurbriggen, E. L. et al. (2007). Report on the Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. American Psychological Association, 1-9.