Sexualization of Children: Let's Teach Girls They're More Than a Pretty Face by Rae Pica
Sadly, there are many studies showing that for girls, appearance determines their value. Worse, a girl's appearance is more often – at younger and younger ages – being defined by how sexy she is.
And there's more: Half of all 3- to 6-year-old girls worry about being fat, nearly half of 6- to 9-year-old girls wear lipstick or gloss, and the sexualization of children has led to eating disorders in those as young as 6. Children also rank body image among their highest concerns. What were your highest concerns when you were 6? Mine were having enough time to play and trying to master the cartwheel.
Parents and other adults play an important role in helping young girls grasp that they are more than how they look, and it starts with how they talk to girls. Our first inclination upon seeing a girl is to tell her how pretty/cute/adorable she is, or that we love her dress/hair/shoes. It's hard not to! But if we instead talk to girls about their interests, they'll come to believe that it's not their appearance that matters most.
So, ask a girl her thoughts on a book she's recently read, her favorite sport or even the day's weather. She'll be happy to tell you what she thinks!
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