Is it wrong to be sexy at a young age?

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Is it wrong to be sexy at a young age?

Perhaps the saddest thing is how many girls and young women have been encouraged to present themselves as porn stars and strippers and to see this as somehow liberating or empowering. To see it as the declaration of independence as a sort of radical choice, whereas the truth is that if the culture offers women and children only one way to be sexy, it can hardly be considered an authentic choice to choose it. And in fact, there is only one way that girls are offered and that is basically the pornographic image of what it means to be sexy. Now, obviously there's nothing wrong with wanting to be attractive and sexy. Just about every woman wants that. What's wrong is that this is emphasized for girls at such a young age and to the exclusion of other aspects and qualities. And it's also wrong in that it makes most women feel like losers because there is no way to really achieve this impossible image and the definition is so narrow and so stereotypical that it really ultimately excludes just about everyone.

See Jean Kilbourne, EdD's video on Is it wrong to be sexy at a young age?...


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Jean Kilbourne, EdD

Author & Social Theorist

Jean Kilbourne is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. Her films, lectures, and television appearances have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. She was named by The New York Times Magazine as one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses...

She is the author of the award-winning book Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel and So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids. The prize-winning films based on her lectures include Killing Us Softly, Spin the Bottle, and Slim Hopes. She is a frequent guest on radio and television programs, including “The Today Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She has served as an advisor to the Surgeon General and has testified for the U.S. Congress. She holds an honorary position as Senior Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women.

According to Susan Faludi, “Jean Kilbourne’s work is pioneering and crucial to the dialogue of one of the most underexplored, yet most powerful, realms of American culture —advertising. We owe her a great debt.” A member of the Italian Parliament said, “Hearing Jean Kilbourne is a profound experience. Audiences leave her feeling that they have heard much more than another lecture, for she teaches them to see themselves and their world differently.”

She has received many awards, including the Lecturer of the Year award from the National Association for Campus Activities. A more unusual tribute was paid when an all-female rock group in Canada named itself Kilbourne in her honor.

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