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The Lolita Effect

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Overview

Pop culture-and the advertising that surrounds it-teaches young girls and boys five myths about sex and sexuality: Girls don't choose boys, boys choose girls-but only sexy girls, There's only one kind of sexy-slender, curvy, white beauty, Girls should work to be that type of sexy, The younger a girl is, the sexier she is, Sexual violence can be hot.

Together, these five myths make up the Lolita Effect, the mass media trends that work to undermine girls' self-confidence, that ...

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Overview

Pop culture-and the advertising that surrounds it-teaches young girls and boys five myths about sex and sexuality: Girls don't choose boys, boys choose girls-but only sexy girls, There's only one kind of sexy-slender, curvy, white beauty, Girls should work to be that type of sexy, The younger a girl is, the sexier she is, Sexual violence can be hot.

Together, these five myths make up the Lolita Effect, the mass media trends that work to undermine girls' self-confidence, that condone female objectification, and that tacitly foster sex crimes. But identifying these myths and breaking them down can help girls learn to recognize progressive and healthy sexuality and protect themselves from degrading media ideas and sexual vulnerability. In The Lolita Effect, Dr. M. Gigi Durham offers breakthrough strategies for empowering girls to make healthy decisions about their own sexuality.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

We've all seen it-the tiny T-shirts with sexually suggestive slogans, the four-year-old gyrating to a Britney Spears song, the young boy shooting prostitutes in his video game-and University of Iowa journalism professor Durham has had enough. In her debut book, she argues that the media-from advertisements to Seventeen magazine-are circulating damaging myths that distort, undermine and restrict girls' sexual progress. Durham, who describes herself as "pro-girl" and "pro-media," does more than criticize profit-driven media, recognizing as part of the problem Americans' contradictory willingness to view sexualized ad images but not to talk about sex. Chapters expose five media myths: that by flaunting her "hotness" a little girl is acting powerfully; that Barbie has the ideal body; that children-especially little girls-are sexy; that violence against women is sexy; and that girls must learn what boys want, but not vice versa. After debunking each myth, Durham offers practical suggestions for overcoming these falsehoods, including sample questions for parents and children. In a well-written and well-researched book, she exposes a troubling phenomenon and calls readers to action. (May)

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Library Journal

Images of sexy young girls permeate contemporary popular culture, from children's cartoon shows such as Winx Club, with characters dressed in tube tops and hot pants, to the Bratz line of dolls marketed to young girls with the tagline "Girls with a passion for fashion." Durham (journalism, Univ. of Iowa) examines how girls' sexuality is portrayed in various media and argues that it is our ethical responsibility to challenge popular representations to create a more balanced, healthy, and emancipated view of girls' sexuality. She goes on to identify five core myths that make up the "spectacle" of girls' sexuality: exhibitionism attracts male interest, only unrealistic and unhealthy body shapes and sizes are sexy, the younger the girl the sexier she is, sexual violence is exciting and appealing, and girls need to fulfill male fantasies and desires. The discussion of each myth includes recommendations for interventions, e.g., to counter sexual violence she suggests using group discussions, inviting an expert to speak, using visual and Internet tools, and involving boys in the issue. Specific resources are recommended in the text and also listed at the end of the book. Offering strategies for action that will be of interest to parents, teachers, and other professionals working with girls, this book is a good addition for both public and academic libraries.
—Judy Solberg

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590200636
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 5/1/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 536,302
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 11

INTRODUCTION Sexy Girls in the Media 21

Ch. 1 How Long Has This Been Going On? Girls and the Myths of Sex 43

Ch. 2 The First Myth: If You've Got It, Flaunt It 63

Ch. 3 The Second Myth: Anatomy of a Sex Goddess 95

Ch. 4 The Third Myth: Pretty Babies 113

Ch. 5 The Fourth Myth: Violence Is Sexy 137

Ch. 6 The Fifth Myth: What Boys Like 157

Ch. 7 The Seducers: Understanding Myth and Spectacle in the Media 179

Ch. 8 Superhighway of Sex: Girls, Media, and Sexuality around the World 199

Ch. 9 Confronting Spectacle: Strategies for Resistance 217

Resources 233

Notes 241

Index 275

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Customer Reviews

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