Growing Up Too Fast?

The sexualisation of girls
by Julia Bloore

Padded bras for six-year-old girls? Pole-dancing kits for children? Video games that encourage boys to simulate sex with prostitutes? Surely this isn’t happening in the world our children are growing up in … is it?

Well, according to Melinda Tankard Reist – YES, IT IS!

Melinda lives in Canberra. She has a 25-year history of activism on issues concerning women. And she’s the author of Getting Real, a book which confronts the sexualisation and objectification of girls in our culture. This topic first appeared on her radar just a few years ago, when she began noticing the growing amount of research that was being done. She also has three daughters, and could see the impact the culture was having on them.

According to Melinda, human rights violations against women around the world have often begun with an attitude that says: women are second class … they can be objectified and treated as a piece of meat … in fact, you can do whatever you want with them.

And Melinda’s in no doubt: the age at which this attitude impacts girls in our culture is getting younger and younger.

Little girls are being made to grow up too fast, encouraged to act older than they are, forced to be adults before their time. And Getting Real includes reports by some of the most informed critics of this harmful trend.

For amongst the 11-year-olds having spray-tans once a week, the eight-year-olds being admitted to hospital with eating disorders, and the five-year-olds refusing to go swimming because they’re “too fat”, Melinda offers a glimmer of hope …

Issue 4 2011


Rest of issue

Going Places

Going Places

Happy feet in the Falkland Islands
by John Cooney
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