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?
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
Posted in advertising, body image, capitalism, celebrities, child sexuality, childhood, choice, christian right, colleen carroll campbell, consumer culture, eating disorders, girlhood, lindsay lohan, marketing, modesty movement, nicole richie, paris hilton, preteens, raunch culture, sexuality, sexualization of children, teen pregnancy, teen sexuality, teen stars, teenage girls, tween
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.
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
Posted in cultural studies, keisha castle-hughes, maori, motherhood, people magazine, preteen stars, race, sexuality, tabloid, tabloids, teen pregnancy, teen stars, tween, whale rider
I found this article informing me that Keisha Castle-Hughes, the tomboyish preteen star of Whale Rider (2003) is pregnant and expecting to deliver this spring. She has a boyfriend who is 19 years old, and she will be turning 17 this year. Somehow I can’t comprehend the fact that a celebrity younger than me–especially not the prepubescent role model for girl power we saw in Whale Rider–is going to be a mother soon. I know that no one nowadays wants to judge anyone else for their choices, but Continue reading