The sexualisation of children and adolescents through advertising
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The sexualisation of children and adolescents through advertising. Geraldine Holland. What does this mean?. When asked about this by a 2008 senate enquiry the Australian Psychology Association, described the sexualisation of children and adolescents as having two important components:

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The sexualisation of children and adolescents through advertising

The sexualisation of children and adolescents through advertising

Geraldine Holland


What does this mean

What does this mean?

When asked about this by a 2008 senate enquiry the Australian Psychology Association, described the sexualisation of children and adolescents as having two important components:

  • Sexuality (that) is inappropriately and prematurely imposed on a person such as a child; and

  • Sexualisation where a person’s only ascribed value would be their sexuality, their physical sex appeal. (P.6, 2008)


Where do we see this

Where do we see this?

  • In advertising sexualisation occurs both in television and in the print media.

  • Sexualisation also occurs in music video clips and more generally, in the content of girls magazines.


What does it look like

What does it look like?

In a recent document entitled “Corporate Paedophilia” Rush and La Nauze found,

“Typically, children appear more heavily sexualised when more of these factors - clothing, pose, cosmetics and setting - apply.” (October,2006p.9)


What does it look like1

What does it look like?

A recent fact sheet from the Commission for children and young people and child guardian, suggested the sexualisation of children and adolescents occurs in the following way:

“Camera angles (where the model is often looking up) averted eyes, wounded facial expressions, and vulnerable poses which display children in varying degrees of undress with ‘come-hither’ looks and ‘bedroom eyes’.


Some examples

Some Examples


Why is this a problem

Why is this a problem?

Rush and La Nauze (2006) found the harm in this type of advertising could range from encouraging paedophilia to decreasing girls participation in other worthwhile activities, as they are too concerned about how they might look.


The sexualisation of children and adolescents through advertising

  • The 2008 Senate enquiry however found there was no evidence of harm.

  • The reason they gave for this finding was the lack of studies into the effects of sexualisation on children and adolescents.

  • In basic terms, for the senate enquiry to find harm, there has to be data to support the claim. No data, no harm.


Why is advertising heading this way

Why is advertising heading this way?

Money

  • It is estimated that in the US, budgets for advertising to children rose from $100 million in 1983 to $16 billion in 2004.(Kanner, 2006 cited Rush and La Nauze, 2006 p. 48)

    Markets

  • The 7-13yr old market in Australia is worth more than $10 billion dollars. (Rush and La Nauze, 2006 p. 48)

    Rush and La Nauze note that “…. The sexualisation of children, especially the marketing of fashion and image-related products , aims above all to increase children’s consumption. (2006, P.49)


How can this be stopped

How can this be stopped?

  • Since the Senate enquiry in 2008 the Advertising Standards Board has streamlined their procedures to ensure complaints about advertising are easier to make.

  • They have also developed a standard category under which to file all sexualisation complaints.


How can this be stopped1

How can this be stopped?

  • Complain to the Advertising Standards Board (ASB)

  • Lobby your local politician for better regulation of the advertising industry. (They currently regulate themselves.)

  • Become proactive, ensure parents and children alike are aware of what is being sold to them and how.


The sexualisation of children and adolescents through advertising

What Else?

  • South Australia has developed a successful sex education programme (SHARE) which works with parents to educate their children.

  • This programme has an advertising component which explicitly teaches about sexualisation.

  • It is taught to yr 8 students and has had the added effect of reducing the incidence of teenage pregnancy.


Sources of information

Sources of information

  • Rush, E & La Nauze, A. Corporate Paedophilia: Sexualisation of children in Australia. Discussion Paper Number 90, October 2006.

  • Rush, E & La Nauze, A. Letting Children be children: stopping the sexualisation of children in Australia. Discussion Paper Number 93, December 2006.

  • The Senate Standing Committee on Environment,Communications and the Arts. Sexualisation of children in contemporary media. June 2008.

  • Children and the media. Fact sheet 4. Commission for children and young people and child guardian.

  • Moore, E. Children and the changing world of advertising. Journal of Business Ethics Issue 52: 161-167, Netherlands: 2004.


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