Got Orthonomics in your Email Box?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Interesting Article for Father and Mothers of Daughters

CBS Article I linked to from another news site is a worthwhile read and and worth discussing and considering:   
Study: Girls As Young As 6 Are Thinking Of Selves As Sex Objects.

The study outlined in the article was one in which Midwestern girls aged 6-9, chose from two public schools and one dance studio, picked a doll that they looked like, wanted to look like, would be most popular, or that they wanted to play with.  In the study, 68% of the girls wanted to look like the sexy doll and 72% thought the sexy doll would be most popular.  I think many Americans are concerned about over-sexualization of society, especially children.  So, SL, what's actually interesting in this article l'havdil?  Try this:

An inverse relationship?  . . . . ."the girls in the dance studio chose the non-sexualized doll more often... . [authors] believe being involved in dance and other sports likely boosted the girls’ body image."

Moms, how much do you invest in your children's appearance?  Are our children exposed to a plethora of media that emphasizes appearance?  Probably!    The readers of the Jewish Press were even were recently treated to a public flogging of the Bat Yisrael of marriagable age who wasn't attractive enough.  Many complain about what media is doing to girls.  I think frum media can play havoc on image too . . .  . .  "The study found that girls who watched a lot of TV and movies, and who had mothers who worried about their clothes and appearance several times a day, were more likely to choose the sexy doll."  

Should we teach tzniut in a bubble and not?  "The study also found that girls who consumed a lot of media but had religious mothers were less likely to choose the sexy doll, likely because their mothers held more conservative values such as modesty, the publication reported. But girls with religious mothers who did not consume a lot of media overwhelmingly did choose the sexy doll, in what the authors called a case of “forbidden fruit” that the girls idealized due to a lack of exposure to it."


Mark SoFla said...

Today we had our eldest daughter (13) read this -

And as the rest of our daughters grow up, they will read it (and things like it) as well.

Anonymous said...

What is the "frum media"? All I can think of is magazines that don't print any pictures of women (and, increasingly, young girls either).

I don't think young frum women and girls are dressing "sexy" compared to any benchmark in the general population, but by and large, they are into fashion, makeup and hairstyling more than the general population. Is that wrong?

Here are some links to ponder, which readers can evaluate for themselves. I'm not passing any judgment:
(post points out that even the word "pregnant" is verboten)

Most young frum girls will not be visiting any of these sites, due to constraints on their internet usage and because teens and tweens tend to disdain anyone above the age of 20.

And by the way, the "Fashion-Isha" donated a kidney! I think we can accept that there are many different types of people and we shouldn't judge.

JS said...

I remember hearing many times while in high school girls offering to split a small bag of pretzels (or the like) for lunch.

Orthonomics said...

This article has some food for thought in it and I'm asking if parents, through be overly concerned with their daughters' appearances might be sending an unintended message. . . . this isn't about judging. And I gave an example of frum media. ... even if the girls don't read such articles, that doesn't mean the message won't get internalized.

AztecQueen2000 said...

I think it also depends on the way tznius is presented even among the grown women in the home. If the message is "Don't show your elbows because you'll distract a man from his learning," then naturally, a girl will see herself as an object that incites lust. However, if you are more low-key about it, then it will help develop a healthier self-image.

Anonymous said...

Eating disorders are a tragedy, but to my mind the "tznius lady" is just as likely to inflict emotional harm as a mother who encourages her daughter to dress nicely and wear makeup at an appropriate age.

I know this blog is also concerned with financial issues, and it is certainly possible to dress nicely and modestly on a budget. If one is inclined to take a little extra time shopping, one can even find modest styles at inexpensive retailers like Target and Lands' End.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if overconcern about tznius is not too much of a good thing. I see young girls who are too tzniusdik to wear visible makeup at 20! From Lakewood. I think that a little inhibition is good, but too much could be - inhibiting.

JS said...

I was thinking about the study done and was wondering if maybe the study itself exhibits a form of sexism. One would never dream of performing such a study on 6-9 year old boys to see if they see themselves as sex objects.

Imagine a study done with 6-9 boys who are asked to pick an action figure that they looked like, wanted to look like, would be most popular, or that they wanted to play with.

Imagine that 68% of the boys picked the muscleman shirtless wrestler action figure as the one they wanted to look like and that 72% thought that action figure would be most popular.

Would the study's conclusion be that boy's are too exposed to negative images in society and in the media and in the home and therefore see themselves as sex objects - only good for their physique and appearance? Or would the study most likely conclude that young boys like the fantasy and play violence of wrestling?

I think body image and sexualizing youth is a problem, but I'm not quite sure that it's not partially just how we choose to view things.

Anonymous said...

Did the study control for single parent and divorced households? I have always heard that girls with an absent father are more likely to act out sexually. Dance lessons are expensive-could those girls be less likely to come from single parent households- or at least have a more involved father even if divorced who at least pays child support?

Look, as a mother who wears pants and short sleeves, I would love to accept your conclusions but i am wondering if this study has some serious flaw...

Anonymous said...


Mr. Cohen said...

Television and movies promote unrealistic expectations about what people should look like, dress like, and spend like.

Parents should remind their children that television and movies are never reality, even when they appear realistic.

Ariella said...

I agree with Mr. Cohen. Even the models you see in ads don't look like that perfect in real life. Not only are they made up, they are enhanced and improved with Photoshop before the pictures are published. Even the most attractive people cannot replicate those looks because they are literally beyond natural ability.