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Study Shows Teen Girls Being Targeted By Hypersexualization On TV

A new study conducted by the Parents Television Council shows that Hollywood oversexualizes teen girls more than any other group. The study is based on a content analysis of the most popular primetime broadcast shows among 12 to 17-year-olds during the 2009-2010 TV season, and the results tell us that underage girls are attaching their value to their self worth more than ever before, because of messages received from TV programming.

According to PTC: When underage female characters appear on screen, more sexual content is depicted; the teen girls show next to no negative response to being sexualized; more sexual incidents occur outside of any form of a committed relationship; and there is less accuracy in the TV content rating.

“The results from this report show Tinseltown’s eagerness to not only objectify and fetishize young girls, but to sexualize them in such a way that real teens are led to believe their sole value comes from their sexuality. This report is less about the shocking numbers that detail the sickness of early sexualization in our entertainment culture and more about the generation of young girls who are being told how society expects them to behave,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

Here’s a break down of the study’s major findings:

• Underage female characters are shown participating in a higher percentage of sexual depictions compared to adults (47% and 29% respectively).

• Only 5% of the underage female characters communicated any form of dislike for being sexualized (excluding scenes depicting healthy sexuality).

• Out of all the sexualized female characters depicted in the underage and young adult category for the entire database, 86% were presented as only being of high school age.

• Seventy-five percent of shows that included sexualized underage female characters were shows that did not have an “S” descriptor to warn parents about the sexual content.

• Based upon a definition established by the American Psychological Association of “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” sexuality, the study findings show that 93% of the sexual incidents involving underage female characters occurred within a context that qualified as “unhealthy.”

• The data revealed that 98% of the sexual incidents involving underage female characters occurred outside of any form of a committed relationship.

• The data show that 73% of the underage sexualized incidents were presented in a humorous manner or as a punch line to a joke.

Do you agree with this research? Are young girls being targeted and negatively affected by hypersexualization on TV? Are we all numb to it? What’s the solution?

To view PTC’s full report, visit: www.parentstv.org/sexualization

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