The hyper-sexualization of girls in the media

Actor Geena Davis explains how female characters in television shows and movies aimed at children still portray a lot of hyper-sexuality
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The hyper-sexualization of girls in the media

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So what was really disturbing was we found a lot of hyper-sexuality of the female characters in even television and movies aimed at little kids. For example, in G-rated animated films, the female characters wear the same amount of sexually revealing clothing as the female characters in R-rated movies, which is pretty horrifying. What are we putting that much hyper-sexuality in things aimed at the littlest of kids for? There was research that just came out that showed that girls as young as 6 years old have started to self-sexualize, in other words they have started to see themselves through the male gaze and realize that they have to be sexy in order to be appreciated. And this is at 6 years old. And this is a very new development. We knew that women and teenage girls were doing that. So clearly the culture is sending a very negative message to girls and to boys about girls when the female characters are constantly shown in this sexy light.

Actor Geena Davis explains how female characters in television shows and movies aimed at children still portray a lot of hyper-sexuality

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Geena Davis

Academy Award Winning Actor & Founder of Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

Academy Award winner Geena Davis is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, appearing in several roles that became cultural landmarks. Earning the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama, Davis broke ground in her portrayal of the first female President of the United States in ABC’s hit show “Commander in Chief.”In 1989, Davis received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the offbeat dog trainer Muriel Pritchett in Lawrence Kasdan’s “The Accidental Tourist.” She was again nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her performance in Ridley Scott’s “Thelma & Louise,” in which she co-starred with Susan Sarandon. Davis went on to receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of baseball phenomenon Dottie Hinson in “A League of Their Own.” Davis made her feature film debut starring opposite Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie.” She went on to star in such films as “The Fly,” “Beetlejuice,” “Angie,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” and “Stuart Little.”

Few have achieved such remarkable success in as many different fields as Davis has: she is not only an Oscar and Golden Globe winning actor, but a world-class athlete (at one time the nation’s 13th-ranked archer), a member of the genius society Mensa, and is becoming recognized for her tireless advocacy of women and girls nearly as much as for her acting accomplishments. She is the founder of the non-profit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which engages film and television creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters – and reduce gender stereotyping – in media made for children 11 and under.

Davis was appointed Special Envoy for Women and Girls in ICT for the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Davis is also an official partner of UN Women, working toward their goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women worldwide. Davis is the Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women. Davis holds honorary degrees from Boston University, Bates College and New England College. 

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