Makeup and The Sexualization of Young Girls

by Imran Siddiquee

“We are seeing female characters sexualized at a younger and younger age. And I do think that normalizes certain attitudes towards girls – it’s really unhealthy.” – Martha Lauzen, PhD

One of the impetuses behind our #FreshFace Friday campaign today was wanting to challenge the way the media is sexualizing girls at younger and younger ages. On reality shows like Toddlers and Tiaras we see little girls in skimpy outfits and pounds of makeup week after week. But even on popular Disney shows marketed at tweens, which aren’t about beauty pageants at all, we see some of the most revered teenage stars highly made-up on a consistent basis.

A recent study found that “61% of girls aged 9-11 would like to wear more makeup than their parents allow,” which shouldn’t be all that surprising. What’s more troubling, though, is that advertisers and brands are very aware of these studies – and actually use them to create marketing plans.

“Between reality stars like the Kardashians and bestselling books like Twilight and Hunger Games, character merchandising plays a large role in how manufacturers are marketing makeup and accessories to the tween and teen crowd and parents might struggle to keep their children from wanting a part of it,” – Kat Fay, senior beauty analyst at Mintel

It made us wonder about the long term impact of this kind of media. Which is something we’ll discuss during today’s #FreshFace Twitter party, from 12-2pm PT.

In this extra clip from Miss Representation, Jean Kilbourne and others break down the negative influence the sexualization of young girls and emphasis on beauty can have on individual people and society at large. Take a look and post your thoughts on Twitter with #FreshFace: