Technology and the Sexualization of Young Girls/Women:​ Homework for Friday 10/25

  • Tai White, Gabby Evola, Allie Cohen, & Hannah Dwyer

Hi everyone!

The homework we have assigned for you all to complete is down below. On class Friday we will be talking about technology and the sexualization of young girls. We will also be talking about the sexualization of women in general online and there is an interesting short reading down below that draws attention particularly to the sexualization of black women. 

Read through these articles:

Pages 7-13;Hyper-Sexualization

Watch these short videos as well:

After reading these articles and watching these videos we want for you guys to write a short reflection about your feelings towards these readings, videos, and this topic. Then, we would like for you guys to attach a picture or any comment(s) from any social media website that relates to this topic or anything interesting pertaining to this topic that you’ve found. Please post your comments by Thursday night by 10 PM if you have enough time to do so. If you are unable to post your comments by then please post your comment before class Friday morning. 

In class, we will be having a mini-debate and will be dividing the classroom into two sections so come ready and excited! We will give you guys the debate topics on Friday morning.

12 Replies to “Technology and the Sexualization of Young Girls/Women:​ Homework for Friday 10/25”

  1. Hi Tai, Allie, Gabby & Hannah
    I really liked all the readings and videos that were assigned for class today. I found it interesting reading about the sexualization of girls because it’s something that I didn’t think about until maybe a few years ago. It also makes me think of decisions my parents would have made to protect me. I found this picture online from Disney and it shows the percentages of characters in family films that were wearing more revealing clothing. I feel like Disney does sexualize quite a few of the characters which are harmful to young girls growing up because it gives them a false reality of how they should represent themselves. I think it could also possibly put young girls at risk for developing eating disorders as well. I also really liked the video about youtube’s algorithm and disabling comments due to the fact that some videos of children have reached pedophiles. I was already very familiar with this policy since I watch a lot of family channels already. I don’t think youtube disabling comments is really solving anything. It is stopping possibly dangerous people from making comments on the video, but also in a way it is punishing creators, and it disables them from being able to connect with their audiences. I think youtube could have gone about this situation a lot better, and they have improvements to make in the future.

  2. Hi Tai, Allie, Gabby, and Hannah!
    I really liked your post and all the great resources you listed for the class to look at. One article that really intrigued me was the one that discussed hyper-sexualization of women, especially black women. I think it is important to acknowledge and look at the large scale intersectionality of this issue, which this article did. I was astonished to find out that the founder of the “Me Too” movement, Tarana Burke was forced to take the back seat to cis white women in terms of the movement being publicized in magazine covers. It was a huge reminder of how white feminism can cover up the issues that particularly affect black women and make them less shown. It is quite disappointing that there are such marginalizations within the construct of feminism. Women should work as a cohesive unit to address all the issues that affect us, not just the ones that affect those of us that are white and cis. Doubled with the information presented about the sexualization of girls and their acknowledgement of the male gaze from the much too young age of six, there is a clear problem at hand with the digital media and its use to marginalize young girls and women further. Women are sexualized to an insane degree, to the point that they are made to seem like they are objects for the male gaze and are useful for nothing else. This is a horribly toxic form of representation, and it must be acknowledged and stopped before it is permitted to go further. I chose the image attached because it reminded of the ways in which we look at feminism usually only protects white cis women while non-cis women and women of color (which often intersect in some way) are left to suffer the consequences of the lack of inclusion and protection that the white brand of feminism provides.

  3. Hey Tai, Allie, Gabby, and Hannah!

    I must say that I can feel the immense passion you women have for this topic that affects us. You all picked awesome sources for the class to reflect on that display the many angles the issue of over-sexualization in young women has. There are so many things to reflect on, but what immediately caught my attention was the Youtube algorithms that inhibit child predators to watch home movies of other children. A Harvard researcher found that kids doing daily activities uploaded to YouTube cater to peoples most-watched videos which allow for a “digital playground for playground” Youtube did release a statement about this horrifying issue and the company did take a lot of action such as deleting videos and taking down suggestions of videos that expose children is “risky” situations. It shows that the company does care about protecting young children, but YouTube should educate their users about dangers like these. Youtube stated: “Sexually explicit content featuring minors and content that sexually exploits minors” is strictly forbidden, adding that content featuring these types of images will be reported to law enforcement. This issue instantly sparked the idea of that this can be happening to women YouTubers who post things like a bikini hall, to a makeup tutorial, even their daily outing routines, can create obsessive behavior or even generate stalker-like behavior. This ties into the reading on how especially black women are being hyper-sexualized in the media. There is a great amount of tension between how black woman feel targeted more and compared to other entities that make them over-sexualized as a stereotype. It makes this community of strong women hard to control their sexuality. The media has such an influential role that over time, portraying black women with the same qualities, makes it hard for them to break out of these stereotypes generated over time.

  4. Hi Tai, Allie, Gabby, and Hannah!!

    Thank you all for choosing a truly important topic for us to discuss and providing us with plenty of resources to help us further understand the complexity of this relevant issue. As I was reading the section of “Television, film, and music” in the article “Sexualisation of Young People,” my mind went right to the child beauty pageant industry.

    Personally, I am strongly against entering young girls into beauty pageants due to the physical and psychological problems these girls face during the pageants and for the rest of their lives. Television shows such as “Toddlers in Tiaras” promote the sexualization of young girls through glorifying their body with exotic outfits that show a lot of skin and creating this false image of young girls to fit this “perfect” standard. The moms of these girls are so desperate for their daughter to win that they force the girl to receive bikini waxes, botox injections, fake eyelashes, hair extensions, etc. These young girls face self-esteem issues, eating disorders, desire for an unrealistic body image and the struggle of understanding their self-worth. It is horrible that these pageants exist and television shows further encourage the sexualization of young girls. I am definitely a big advocate of natural beauty and I believe that all women should be able to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin without the pressure of needing to feel “sexy” or “hot”.

    Society and technology play a huge, influential role in women and their bodies. These two sources are constantly over-sexualizing young girls and women which is disgusting, unfair, and in my opinion, unacceptable. Below I have attached two pictures of a young girl dressed for a pageant show. The image on the left is her picture and the one on the right highlights the aspects of the young girl that sexualize her and further creates a false image of her beauty.

    Technology & Young Girls Image

  5. Hi all,

    Thank you for this provocative set of readings and viewings! You’ve put a lot of great material on the table.

    As I was reading, two ideas kept coming up. The first: in terms of the objectification of women, what has changed with the advent of digital technologies? We know that women have always been objectified, and so I’d love to talk more about what, specifically, has changed since digital technologies have become more readily available — say, 1990s-ish onward. Is it the scale, scope, intensity, pervasiveness of these damaging representations of women? Something else…?

    The second idea — and this one is more complicated, and I’m still kind of working through it — has to do with my gut sense that involving young people in discussions about consensual sex (in all its myriad forms) is actually a positive thing for society — that, in fact, we don’t start these conversations young enough. In other words, at the same time that we work to address the sexualization of women online, we also don’t want to reinscribe fear and mysteriousness around sex, making it something taboo that children need to be sheltered from. Given what we’ve read about how difficult it is to monitor and regulate the images children see online, sexual education (Papadopoulos 10) seems totally key. Kids are naturally curious, and involving them in conversations about gender and sexuality from a young age seems to me like the way to go. Through robust, meaningful sexual education we can teach children to recognize when a woman is being objectified or treated violently, or when pornography is glorifying “aggression, power, and control, blurring the lines between consent, pleasure, and violence” (Papadopoulos 12).

    For my contribution, here is an article ( about an academic whose work I often teach, who recently twerked on stage with Lizzo. As a Black woman, she is involved in a movement called “Pleasure Activism,” that embraces and celebrates sexuality as part of our identities.

    Which is all to say, very much looking forward to tomorrow’s debate!

  6. Hi, I really liked this topic and I found the articles and videos interesting. The sad fact about it is that being a female I have already experienced a lot of things that were brought up. While Geena Davis’ video was very educational and drew towards the statistic side of sexualization who is her demographic? I feel like a lot of the time with things like this the people who are watching the videos or reading the articles are people that already care and who are already making a difference. How do we change this narrative? Also, I understand that Youtube’s child pornography issues have been really harmful and so terrible. I’m happy that they are at least trying to make a change, they took down over 800,000 videos, to be honest, that’s a lot of work. The only way to get rid of all of them is to keep deleting them while coming up with a screening process of some sort before videos get uploaded. I don’t blame companies for not thinking of these algorithms or screening processes in the first place because I’m sure Youtube never thought that is a path that their content could possibly go down. But I do blame these companies for not doing enough when they realize there is a problem.
    I feel like women have always been looked down on, I have experienced this so many times in my life that I could never recall all of them. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. So many times men and even other women “slut-shame” or think lesser of someone because of their gender, and so many more things. I can’t walk into the SLC without someone looking at me while I use the gym equipment to make sure I don’t need help… #mansplaining. It’s become one of the biggest issues in society, but I don’t believe we can get rid of this notion without thinking about it intersectionally.

    Here’s a video I found on TikTok, please don’t make fun of me for watching them.

  7. Hi Tai, Gabby, Allie and Hannah, I enjoyed learning about this topic very much because I feel like it is a very prominent issue in contemporary society. Women are constantly hyper-sexualized and pressured into either conforming to societal norms or being shamed for not doing so. I particularly enjoyed the first article which named various ways in which girls are hyper-sexualized at such a young age. It was excruciatingly eye-opening to see all the ways in which girl’s are negatively impacted by mainstream marketing and how this so gets overlooked so often. In addition I found the second article interesting and kept thinking of the reading we had on intersectionality early in the semester, as well as a previous class I took called queer theory. Women are hyper-sexualized at a young age as well as people of color. In the societal spectrum, these two identities overlap causing increased hyper sexualization of women of color. This is not only racist, but highly misogynist. Furthermore, I found that the last article in regards to youtube and the comments of pedophiles related closely to the Algorithms of Oppression reading we did earlier in the semester. Particularly when Alexander states, “the heart of the problem is Youtube’s recommendation algorithm, a system that has been widely criticized in the past (Alexander, 1) “. These readings altogether remind me of this ad for burger king which is clearly offensive and objectifying to women.

  8. Hi Tai, Allie, Gabby, and Hannah
    I really enjoyed the readings that your group assigned for the class along with the resources you posted with them. One thing that I thought about while reading was that the media promotes and reinforces a standard of beauty for women which is widespread especially because individuals are constantly connected by the use of technology and use social media on a regular basis. In reference to the photo I chose, from the 1950’s with Marliyn Monroe and her body type and nowadays with Anglina Jolie, women have a specific notion to fulfill. Women not only need to be thin, but have to be sexually desirable as well. Marliyn Monroe’s body type is more “thick” and curvy whereas Anglina Jolie’s is more thin. Because young women try to meet societal standards, eating disorders and breast implants are constantly rising. In addition, celebrities present themselves in magazines in order to remake young readers which I found interesting as well. These celebrities give advice in magazines. For example, they give advice on hairstyles, cosmetics, clothing, diet, and exercise in an attempt to remake young readers as objects of male desire which promotes premature sexualisation.

  9. Hi All,

    I am really interested in the topic you all chose. I like how you provided multiple resources within the readings as well as videos. As a woman, and one going into the field of childhood education, the hyper-sexualization of young women really gets under my skin. People say all of the time that we grow up too fast and it’s true. I feel like now more than ever all kids are growing up too fast. Is it because of the people they are surrounded by? The society they grow up in? The ever changing styles in clothing and makeup? It’s all of it tied into one. Unfortunately, the need to “fit in” is probably a feeling that will never go away. Moreover, you have people who take advantage of that. Websites have algorithms that guide you in the right direction of what you want to see — just as discussed in the Youtube video and article. So what do you do about something like that? Youtube says they’re deactivating accounts and such, but the issue is never really solved. Do parents stop uploading videos of their children? Should their be certain restrictions on videos posted on Instagram? Why should we get things taken away because people can’t act right?

    Recently, I found out a family friend was arrest for child pornography. This is something that came as a shock. Apparently, he’s been doing it for a few years — nobody had any idea that this was going on. I share this because you never know what is going on and who is doing what. I grew up around this man and not once did I expect something like this from him.

    For my picture, I chose a “when I was vs now” picture. As soon as I read the title of your topic my mind instantly went here.

  10. Hi all.

    I think you did a great job picking out informative readings. I had heard of this issue sort of peripherally, but never really took the time to read through the reporting about it until now. I do think it’s disturbing how hypersexualized young girls are expected to be on social media, but I also think a large part of it has to do with how adults perceive certain things as “”sexual””, that aren’t necessarily so. For example, explicitly sexual clothing being marketed to children is different from, say, a girl who wants to wear shorter shorts because it’s hot outside and it gets viewed as sexual. I think it’s important to keep tying the issue back to the reactions and behaviors of adults, and even how that influences children, and less about the decisions of children themselves, rather than mistakenly blame them. It reminded me of the controversy around several of young actress Millie Bobby Brown’s outfits to public events or posts on her social media. That said, I did find the first reading a little weird about its takes on what it calls the sex industry. I don’t think sex work and sex work adjacent fields of work should be demeaned or referred to in a context that is either wholly as a deterrent to girls, or outside of the greater socioeconomic issues that lead to careers such as these (that are often aspirational because they may be physically “easier” in that they require less education and manual or intellectual labor, with handwaving to the emotional labor required) becoming more and more aspirational.

  11. Hey Tai, Allie, Gaby, & Hannah,
    I think you all did a great job providing articles that really tackled the pressing topic focusing on women being sexualized in present day society, especially in social media/technology. I especially loved your article that articulated the hyper sexualization of Black women in society, where it has good visuals and a Malcom X quote that reenforced the injustice in this issue. I do believe there is an issue with people saying there are feminist, I strongly believed individuals should claim they are “intersection feminists” because that includes women of color, white woman, transgender women, males, etc. In present day with black female athletes, they are the ones with the lowest pay and suffer with being sexualized and racist encounters. Such as Serena Williams when she debated with the referee on a bad call, many media outlets branded Serena Williams with being an “Angry Black Woman” and even one newspaper took it further by displaying a cartoon image of her in a negative way behaving like a “cry baby and throwing a tantrum.” All women still face sexism embedded with hyper-sexualization, throughout the workplace, in public, even athletes. Society still hasn’t corrected the sicking manner women are being sexualized, especially young girls.

  12. Hey guys, I loved your topic choice because as a man I don’t really think about this as much because I didn’t have to go through it. I think that the oversexualization of girls is getting out of hand to say the least. In the video the woman talked about how little girls as young as 6 are starting to sexualize their body for men. I think that the age of trying to sexualize yourself is lowering. When I was in high school the majority girls weren’t sexualizing their body until THEY were ready. Now it seems like girls in high school are more pressured to sexualize their body because they are trying to keep up with modern standards. These standards should not be set, and I think that girls shouldn’t be sexualizing their body until they are ready to not for when society is ready for them.

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