Six Year Old Girls Seeing Themselves as Sex Objects? Believe it or Not-Yes!

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Teresa Tomeo on Sep 08, 2012
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2younggirlsRenoirIt’s been known for some time that the average age for a young girl to start dieting is about eight years old. That statistic itself is difficult to comprehend, although it’s getting a little easier to grasp given the onslaught of images and messages that bombard our world every day. We are told practically 24/7 and women especially, that we are not pretty enough or thin enough. One out of every four TV commercials for example contains a message about appearance. And these messages come from a long list of sophisticated media outlets in addition to the television; radio, magazines, billboards, movies, and more recently and more frequently through social media messaging.

Learning about media influence on 8 year olds is bad enough but the long arm of the culture continues to reach into our homes grabbing younger and younger victims. A recent study from Knox College in Illinois reveals that girls begin to sexualize themselves as early as the age of six. Yes that’s right, six years old! The study conducted by two psychologists at Knox involved girls in the six to nine year old age range. Researchers used paper dolls to assess how the girls viewed themselves sexually.   The dolls were both dressed in hip and attractive attire but one of the dolls was fitted with a less revealing outfit, while the other doll was clad in a low-cut midriff top and a mini skirt. Nearly 70% of the girls went for the doll that more closely resembled Madonna or Lady Gaga so to speak when asked which doll that wanted to look like. The Miss Modern but Modest number was quickly left behind on the shelf. When asked which doll was more popular, 72% of the girls picked, you guessed it, the buxom Barbie type toy. The researchers blamed both the media and Moms who had their own issues with appearance.

When I read this, I immediately thought of how badly women everywhere and of all ages, need to know how much they are loved by God and how they are made in His image and likeness. As I say in my latest book collaboration, Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Women, just processing and taking this one concept concerning God’s love to heart would make such a difference. And maybe, just maybe they would begin to see themselves so much differently and certainly not as sex objects and at such tender and impressionable ages.  T.