Saturday, January 30, 2010

Doing Good Versus Looking Good (Another oldie but goodie)

I found this in my archives Richard and it's a good example of what I was talking about in our previous discussion.

Also it surprised me how many other issues I had forgotten about that are touched upon in my should lead to many interesting comments...

Doing Good Versus Looking Good

This was an interesting article about the genesis of young girls acting out like brain dead, boy-crazy idiots from about the age of 10 or so (and continuing right through well into their adult years as evidenced by Brittany Spears, Jessica Simpson, ALL of the women on Sex in the City and many others whose names escape me right now).

On how most of the media (as well as many of the adults these young girls come in contact with) instill the insidious idea that the ONLY time girls are doing anything worthwhile is when they are either chasing after a boy or having a boy chase after them.

This starts early as the article notes and has the effect of young girls wasting ALL of the time they should be putting into their education and future career for instance; instead focusing on what they should wear that can attract some boy’s attention to them, how they should ‘play dumb’ as that works to attract boys, when is the right time to lose your virginity and even pitching the outmoded idea that every boy who wants to have sex with a girl is in love with her.

How can you say, “leading to a lot of early sex, disappointment and low self-esteem” in their young lives.

The author was located in Australia but this could be found throughout the western world. Even Disney, which is supposed to be a family entertainment channel has many childrens’ series where the ONLY apparent thing girls focus on in school or home is boys.

How to meet one they like (usually the captain of some sports team), how to dress to be in the right crowd of girls (again, the entire goal being to meet boys). How to get that after school job: again, the central goal usually to raise money for more shopping, of course, the reoccurring theme to get the attention of a boy.

Many of the main story lines focus on parties, who gets invited versus who doesn’t.

Again the whole reason for the party is ALWAYS to meet boys. The most significant thing that ever appears to happen to the girls is not whether or not they get into the school of their choice to get a science scholarship or something that mundane, but who tried out for the cheerleaders squad and either made it or didn’t. But never any discussion about any educational goals or focus on ANYTHING other then how to meet boys.

Well is it any wonder that girls grow up with the idea that the ONLY thing of substance they will EVER accomplish will be meeting Mr. Right with everything else being secondary until Mr. Right comes along. Well, Shades of Sex in the City where even the most professionally successful women is doing nothing (at least in that series) but marking time until they meet the man of their dreams.

Well you want to know where that attitude starts, read below.

Frankly I even find that attitude throughout the blogosphere.

Where most of the womens' blogs (even the supposedly more serious ones) function as little more then places for women to post snarky remarks, along with their picture, the main function obviously being to attract the attention and approval of men.

Meanwhile the mens' site are taking care of serious business.

Someone posted a survey a while back that stated MOST bloggers were blogging in order to meet someone. Or as they delicately put it to get laid.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't think a male blogger or commenter on one of the mens' sites would turn down a decent opportunity to get laid if it was presented by a young woman, but yet I don't see their sites as allowing any untoward focus on women to distract them from their stated mission.

That's why personally I'm in favor of the two-lane highway concept that Congress has been debating for the internet.

This way people who have serious blogs can pay the extra fees and get the public access; while the ones who are using the free blog service as an enhanced dating mechanism can instead join one of those internet dating services.

AND we won't be bogged down with hundreds of women cluttering up the blogosphere when their main purpose is just to meet a guy.

Sorry there are better and more efficient ways to do that.

Why should serious women bloggers lose what is a newly forming and potentially wide reaching forum for us to get our ideas out to the public, so that some of you can keep your dance card filled.

The Age

What is your daughter reading?August 10, 2004

The emphasis in Australian magazines aimed at teenage girls is on sex, writes Christopher Bantick.

For many parents, seeing their daughter curled up with Dolly or some other teenage magazine seems innocent enough. But perhaps parents should take a look inside these glossies to see what is on offer.

The emphasis in most magazines directed at teenage girls is on sex. Articles in the August editions of the four market leaders - Cosmopolitan, Girlfriend, Dolly and Cleo - advise how to do it, get it and have more of it.

Magazines for girls are aimed at the 12 to 18-year-olds. But the readership is often far younger. Children on the cusp of adolescence regularly read up, not down. Parenting expert Michael Grose has described this shrinking childhood as "adolescent creep".

Dolly declares that its core readership is 16-year-olds; Girlfriend's is 13 to 14-year-olds. Cleo and Cosmopolitan aim for the 16 to 20-year-olds. But the readership of such magazines by those between 10 and 14-years-old is growing - something that the American Psychological Association has warned is dangerous.

In February, the APA attacked American advertisers for pitching to and exploiting the under-14 market, saying these readers "inherently lack the cognitive capability to effectively recognise and defend against commercial persuasion".

A casual thumb through the August editions of Australia's top four girl glossies is revealing.

Girlfriend advises in a response to a correspondent who is asking about a boyfriend insistent on having sex: "I am sure he really does care for you. It's pity you don't believe him coz maybe he really does love you. Negotiating sex is so much easier with your clothes on."

A casual thumb through the August editions of Australia's top four girl glossies is revealing.

Dolly, in a lead story titled "Losing Your Virginity" offers 11 helpful ideas based on real-life accounts. These range from "It's Totally Nerve-Racking" to "It's Messy" and "You Might Bleed".

Both Cleo and Cosmopolitan are in an altogether different league. Both have sealed sections. Cleo this month teases: "Bizarro sex habits that will freak you out"; Cosmo, not to be outdone, offers: "Cosmo's Sex-Fantasy Decoder", where girls can explore their fantasies of being a "Sex Slave" or perhaps a "Naughty Nymph-O".

But besides the heavy emphasis on sex - and problematic sex at that - teenage girls' magazines capitalise on adolescent insecurity. Cosmo offers, "Your Erotic Thoughts Explained" and tips on "Surviving a Sex Drought". Dolly examines, "Bad Boys: Good Fun or Heartbreak?" Girlfriend asks, "Do You Really Want a Boyfriend?" Meanwhile Cleo explores "Ex Sex. Would you? Should you? Will it work?"

Still, as much as girl teenage magazines might be questioned in their emphasis on sex, they may still fulfil a need. In so far as sex education is taught at school, research has shown that this largely fails.

Teenage girl magazines are seen by their market as sources to trust. This is worrying. The information can lead girls to doubt themselves if they are not sexual beings at a young age.

A British study published last month found that teenage girls benefit from being taught about sex and contraception by their peers. The source of the information is largely through magazines. Thirty-five per cent of girls taught by their peers are less likely to have sex before 16, compared with 41 per cent if taught by their teachers.

Another British study, by the girl teenage magazine Sugar and published last month, found that 78 per cent of the 500 13 to 18-year-olds surveyed said that sex tutoring from teen magazines offered "information they were unable to get at school".

Apart from the heavy stress on sex in teenage girl magazines, there is also an unwavering reinforcement that self-esteem and identity is inexorably linked to having a boyfriend.

This dependence on male attitudes to women should be strongly challenged by magazine editors. But instead, they are complicit in presenting girls as dependent on boys for approval and success.

Cleo covergirl Jessica Simpson declares: "I've played dumb all my life. Guys love it." Cosmopolitan, in a section called "Man Manual", tells "What Guys Want in a Girlfriend". What they want includes: "Fill his car with petrol", "Be ready when he rings the bell" and, at the video store, "suggest you rent Bad Boys II instead of Chicago".

The problem with teenage girl magazines is that they give highly suspect information, they create misconceptions about sexuality, they reinforce stereotypes about male and female behavour and they show craven irresponsibility in their disregard for the emotional maturity of their readers.

Do you know what your daughters are reading?

Christopher Bantick is a Melbourne writer.

posted by NYMOM | Saturday, June 17, 2006
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