Category Archives: sexuality

the modesty movement

Girlpower1 links us to this article about the budding ‘modesty movement’ in America, aimed at the same young girls who are being targeted and/or influenced by marketers and popular culture to participate in the ‘raunch culture’ instead of a more innocent, non-sexualized childhood. The author uses celebrities who are constantly in the media and in the tabloids, and the recent Paris Hilton-goes-to-jail debacle, as a starting-off point for her conversation–Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie, etc. She points to their ‘vulgarity’ and asks, are these the role models we want for our young girls?

linday lohan in a sexy halloween costume

 

The author, Colleen Carroll Campbell, gets so much right:

Today’s pop culture tells women that sexual power is the kind that counts most and they can achieve it by showing skin. That message has trickled down to girls, forcing them to trade carefree childhood pleasures for sexual competition.

You can see them in the mall, tugging nervously at their skimpy shorts and halter tops, straining to see how men react to their little bellies flouncing out of low-slung jeans. They look more exploited than empowered as they fuss and cringe, adjust and squirm. How odd that in an age when girls have more athletic and academic opportunities than ever, girlhood has become a high-pressure dress-rehearsal for adult mating games.

This is no doubt, disturbing. As are the following conclusions: Continue reading

dakota fanning is really just a kid

dakota fanning

Ew. (No, not at the picture of Dakota, but at what I’m about to write about).

I mentioned the countdown clock to the Olsen twins’ 18th birthday in a previous post (which is now counting down to their 21st birthdays–which I don’t really understand, because once you’ve been in rehab for a cocaine addiction, does it really matter when you can legally buy alcohol?).  But I wasn’t prepared to find a similar countdown clock to Dakota Fanning’s 18th birthday.  It’s really obscene, juxtaposing a very childlike layout (the color pink, hearts, stars, a picture of Dakota smiling all child-like) with the desire for her to become an adult–why?  So she can legally pose nude and sick people can enjoy their jailbait.

I shouldn’t really be surprised, though.  Continue reading

keisha castle-hughes is now a mother! & more on teen pregnancy

There was a post over at the main blog about Keisha Castle-Hughes’ now being a mother!  I talked briefly about the issue in a previous post in which I wondered what ramifications this would have on ‘girl power’ and young girls who look up to either Castle-Hughes or her character in Whale Rider.

keisha castle-hughes, mother, actress

The post on the main blog brings up how teen pregnancy is usually brought up in the media, though–as a ‘problem’ in poor Black & Latino communities.  So far I haven’t addressed race on this blog, and I think this is a grey issue that relates to some of the other themes of cultural studies.  Obviously, we don’t want babies to be born into the world unwanted.  So why not celebrate pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood?  However, there’s also the fact that a lot of these babies are born into poverty, and that possibly if the parents had received the same opportunities that people in wealthier communities receive–namely, access to the same standard of education and being put on the track to college–they wouldn’t have had the babies.  It’s that question again–can you really be empowered when your options are limited by society?  In the case of the ‘problem’ of teen pregnancy, it definitely seems good that people try to create their own narratives within the system by celebrating pregnancy and making it something worthwhile, even if it’s just for lack of a better option.

The case of Keisha Castle-Hughes, though, is a strange one.  Continue reading

teen stars

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.

From Olsen Twins toGraduation!

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 Continue reading