Premature sexualization is putting girls at risk, warns the American Psychological Association. ‘Tweens are turning into thong-wearing tarts.
But the report is a “stat-free zone,” responds Kerry Howley in Reason. The prostitots seem to be turning out OK.
Kids ape their older peers, and theyâ€™ve never had more access to images of underdressed celebutants. A sixth-grader in a short skirt could well be a sign of a sexually dysfunctional society, a pie-eyed Paris in the making. Or she could simply suggest that 11-year-olds pick an outfit the same way they long have, hoping to find acceptance within a social group and signal mastery over a shared culture.
The report warns of “a litany of alarming pathologies that sexualization might conceivably provoke, from eating disorders to depression to low self esteem to addiction.” But there’s little evidence to back up these fears. The teen pregnancy rate is at the lowest level in 30 years; teen abortion rates fell 50 percent from 1998 to 2002.
Women are 56 percent of college enrollees. . . . And while those celebrities the girls are slavishly aping cycle in and out of rehab, teen drug and alcohol use are both down.
. . . All indicators of sexual violence are down, and the decrease is most dramatic among younger women. In the past 12 years, according to the survey, sexual victimization rates have fallen 78 percent.
Of course, it’s possible the “prostitots” will grow up to be Paris Hilton clones, but so far the trends are looking good.