Sext Up Kids

In ECMP 355 last week, we learned about digital citizenship.  This includes how you portray yourself online and proper nettiquette.  Our prof recommended watching a video called “Sext Up Kids”, so I watched it last night.

I was shocked to find out that girls are becoming sexualized at a much younger age.  Kids as young as three are being influenced to be sexualized because they are brought up with Disney stories and Barbies/Bratz.  They grow up believing that beauty is the number one thing to achieve.  I wrote an essay in ECS 110 a couple of years ago about how Barbies affect children and I had mixed feelings about the topic and I still do to this day.  When these children play with Barbies, they may think that looking like Barbie will ensure happiness in their lives and increase their ability to make friends.  In this way, Barbie is producing appropriately gendered females because they are promoting ideals of unrealistic beauty.  The Bratz dolls took a step further because their clothes were getting shorter and skimpier, their lips were larger and their frames were smaller.  These dolls are definitely showing a more sexualized view of toys compared to Barbie.  When I was growing up, I played with Barbies and Bratz.  I feel like these dolls did give me an unrealistic ideal of beauty, but I was never influenced to be like these toys and I feel like I was never sexualized as a kid.  This may differ from child to child and the rise of technology might be a factor because children have more access to content (ex: Barbie.com).  I feel like children are more influenced by the media.

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When you watch TV, surf the net, read a magazine, etc., you will most definitely see a sexualized image of a celebrity.  These are the images I grew up with and I definitely wanted to be like these celebrities because I idolized them.  One of the celebrities that I loved was Britney Spears.  When you are a kid, you don’t really understand that these celebrities are dressed inappropriately or acting inappropriately.  For example, I never thought that “Baby One More Time” was sexual at all when I was younger.  As I got older, girls started looking more like the celebrities I loved.  This is probably because that’s what we were socialized to believe as beautiful and we also saw this as a way to get attention from friends and boys.  Even at my age now, girls are desperate for male attention and will go to great lengths to impress them.  In the video, the young girls explain that Cosmopolitan explains ways to please men and not the other way around.  Girls are led to believe that their own happiness comes second to men.

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With the rise of technology, “sexting” has become a popular act.  Since girls believe that they have to impress the boys, they send naked or semi-nude pictures to them, without thinking about the consequences.  This may become part of their digital identity.  Having an image like that following you for the rest of your life will not be great in future endeavours, so I think these issues need to be addressed earlier on in kid’s lives.  In the video, several women speak to nine year olds about sexualization and how they feel about themselves.  I think this is a great way to get young girls aware of what’s out there and to relate to each other.

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Do you think that the youth today are becoming highly sexualized earlier on in life?  Is there any other factors that influence these ideals?

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Love Yourself

As I patiently await my letter of acceptance/rejection into the Faculty Of Education, a lot of thoughts and questions rush through my mind.  I start thinking about what I’m passionate about and what I want to do in the future.  When I volunteered at the YMCA Day camps, we had a week just for the girls and a week just for the boys.  I was only present for the girls’ week and I thought this idea was brilliant.  We incorporated the Dove campaign into the week and it helped the girls reflect on themselves and their strengths.  I want to do something in the future to help young girls accept themselves and their bodies.  I believe that every young girl should focus on the things that they love about themselves to become comfortable with who they are and how they look.  Coming from someone who has had and still has issues with body image and self-esteem, I feel like I have a deep personal connection to these girls.  I wish there were workshops or programs (that I was aware of) to build self-esteem when I was growing up; maybe my personal issues over the years would have been minimized.  I don’t see my issues as a weakness, however, because I will grow and learn as time progresses and maybe I will become more comfortable with myself when I help others to do the same.  I believe there should be more workshops with young girls available because a lot of these girls will develop low self-esteems and body issues earlier on in Elementary school.  They need someone to remind them that they are beautiful, inside and out, and make them realize that they have unbelievable potential to succeed in this big world.  My mother would tell me that I am beautiful almost every single day, but a lot of other girls may not get the same support I received growing up.  I just really want to inspire change and happiness in youth today and ensure them that love is all around you.  This discussion is mainly about young girls, since I had the experience with Dove, but the same goes for young boys.  They may be insecure about themselves and they face as many challenges as the girls.  In my future classroom, I want to create a safe environment so my students could come to me in times of need or if they just really want to talk to someone.  I believe these positive relationships will bring you closer to your students and also help you grow as a teacher and as an individual.

“Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror” – Byron Katie.

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