Monsters in the Closet

Check out this new PSA put out by the Verizon Foundation. Just in time for Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October). The video does a great job discussing the cycle of violence and the effects witnessing violence in the home has on youth.

What are your thoughts? What are other ways of raising awareness?


Advertisements or Child Pornography?

I couldn’t help but notice the startling trend in several articles lately. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe there’s something in the water. Regardless of if there is some catalyst or simply my increased awareness, I can’t help but feel queazy at this increase and hyper-sexualization of girls. Not just teens and tween that’s been the trend for several decades, but young girls. Prepubescent girls who want nothing more than to play and learn (like all children). While I know this has been an issue plaguing our culture and is one of the many mechanisms in which young girls are trained, conditioned and socialized on proper gender roles, I can’t help but to continue to feel outraged and downright nauseous.

There are two articles that have been glaring red spots on our radar, one reports of a mom making her 4-year-old wear fake breasts for a beauty pageant, and the other is a new French line of lingerie for girls. Both make the startling statement that girls can (and should) be viewed in a sexual manner and it is ok to objectify them for an sake of selling your product. Jean Kilbourne has been discussing the objectification of women in advertisements since the 1970s. One of her main arguments bringing to light that this objectification and dehumanization of women and girls makes it ok to enact violence against them. Think about it. If we don’t see women and girls as human, but instead a collection of body parts and pieces, then we don’t need to treat them as such. This type of break down brings with it several things, but most importantly clear messages to both adults and youth. It also reinforces very rigid gender stereotypes about females and males. Especially what their roles and interests should be. It takes the Disney Princess hoopla to an entirely new level – above the pink and frilly to the seductive and sexual.

How do these examples contribute to violence against women? Do they? What other messages can this be sending our girls?