In class last week, we had a discussion about tweens and how young girls are being sexualized earlier and earlier, especially through marketing. One of the points that someone brought up was how as the perennial Disney stars grew up, so did their fan base. To qualify that: while the teen stars actually aged, their fan bases, while remaining the same age (not the same individual girls as before), have grown up with them.
One thing I am reminded of is the ever-creepy countdown to the Olsen twins’ 18th birthday (them being finally ‘legal’), and bets on who would pose for Playboy, Maxim, etc., first. I found a website counting down to their 21st birthdays; it has a timer and everything, just like there was for their 18th birthdays. I have to wonder, if websites like this are so widely profilerated all over the Internet, and the acceptance of ‘jailbait’ as something sexy and desired is so widespread, how is it not surprising that young girls are becoming sexual/sexualized earlier and earlier?
Right now, Mary-Kate and Ashley are in college, snorting coke and struggling with anorexia and being hounded by the tabloids–not exactly actions that we want preteen girls to emulate. However, the constant media (tabloids, yes, but still media) attention paid to them and their problems only makes such news readily available to young girls, who have not yet fully developed their reasoning capabilities. I don’t want to say that the media is to blame for everything, but I do think there must be some correlation between such ‘scandal’ being so widely published and talked about, and young girls developing body image issues and eating disorders–and with that, a more ‘grown-up’ sense of sexuality–earlier on.