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3 Comments

  1. Zoe

    I work specifically with teen girls (and boys) who are experiencing bullying and am so glad to hear it is being taken as seriously in Australia as it is here. It can have such a huge effect on their lives and finally it seems that everyone is realising it shouldn’t just be part of growing up.
    I was feeling a bit lazy and like I didn’t want to go into work today, but watching this has inspired me and now I’m ready to take on the world. Thanks Danni!

  2. Bulldogo

    I have a comment that is in response to all your articles in general, not this specific one. I am the father of a 16 yo daughter and also 3 sons – 22, 12, 7. While I agree with what you are saying about the sexualisation of young girls and the damage this is having on them and wholeheartedly applaud your efforts to publicise the issue, I don’t believe that you point the finger of blame at everyone that deserves it.
    The fact that advertisement, comercialisation of the personal and pop culture is a truly sad realism today is not just the fault of faceless, omnipresent and malignant corporations. It is also the fault of the individual and, in particular, parents. Every individual makes their own choices in life and ultimately are the master of their own destiny, they are of course influenced by many outside forces such as culture, society and, not often mentioned these days, family. It would seem in contemporary times we have resigned ourselves to being slave-like drones that have no personal chance of refuting or resisting the above mentioned outside influences in our lives.
    This last influence is the one that I don’t believe you give enough recognition to. Families, in particular, parents have an opportunity to influence their children to make better choices in life, and while I know from personal experience this can be a daunting and difficult task, every effort should be made. The best way, I believe, to influence your children to make good choices in life is to lead by example. This is where most of the blames lies. Many parents today are themselves so wrapped up in pop culture and being cool or popular that their children see no other side to life.
    Although my opinion is based soley on anecdotal evidence, I believe that many parents today have resigned themselves – drone-like – to being slaves to fashion, sex, consumerism and peer group pressure. They have to have the latest everything – Mcmansion, plasma, car etc. -, wear the latest fashion, watch the most popular TV shows and be ultra sexy and sexual.
    My own personal story is a good example, I believe. While I am not innocent of falling into the above traps, I constantly question my personal motives and reflect on the decisions I make and the effect this may have on my kids. I keep abreast of the commentary, both anti and pro, on culture and society and make sure my kids are exposed to this, both through making my own thoughts be known and introducing them to media that can help them make their own choices from a well informed position.
    The sad reality is that this has been undermined, especially in my daughters case, by her mother and step mother. Both my present wife and ex-wife are themselves slaves to fashion, pop culture and consumerism. They do not appear to question their behaviour very much and when I have broached the subject with them, or it has come up in conversation with friends they appear to actively welcome these concepts.
    The case of my present wife is of particular significance. She is my daughters step mother and they have had a close relationship for ten years. When I first met her I was attracted to her in part because she was not overly interested in fashion, pop culture or consumerism. She often verbally criticised these things during the first year or so of our relationship and I thought that she could be a balancing influence in my daughters life in a maternal way. My first wife was and always was a slave to the subject matter at hand. In fact a big part of our break up was my questioning of these beliefs when I gradually began to question my beliefs.
    My present wife began to change about 18 months into our relationship. First it was a healthy, I believed at the time, effort on her part to lose weight and get fit. She was overweight when we met and although I was happy with her as she was I recognised her desire to be healthier and thinner as a good choice for her both physically and psychologically. The problem was that she was always on some new diet and she talked of little else at all. It was as if she was obsessed. I spoke to about this on several occasions and was always ridiculed and criticised and accused of being insecure because I didn’t want her to be attractive to other men. This was never what bothered me, it was the unhealthy obsession I witnessed.
    On a couple of occasions I asked her to try not to constantly talk about these things while my daughter was present. I tried to explain to her that my daughter looked to her as a female role model and her constant discussion of dieting, looks and self esteem through sex appeal was not good for an eight year old girl. Another thing was that all of my wifes friends also seemed obsessed with the same things and was just about all they talked about, which my daughter often was exposed to. She didn’t even acknowledge my concern or right to question her and more or told me that she knew better than me in regards to my daughter because she was a female.
    When my wife lost the weight, she also changed in regards to fashion, consumerism and pop culture. She became, and still is, a slave to these things and talks of little else. This, in addition to my daughters mothers addiction to it, has definitely had a major effect on my daughters outlook on life and sense of self worth. I believe this is not only a problem for young girls, it is also an issue with many women of all ages and it is this phenomenom that I believe you don’t pay enough attention to. As I opined above, every individual is master of their own destiny and the fact that adults, further middle aged and older adults do not question these things is a major influence on our children today.

  3. Thank you for your contribution.
    I absolutely agree that parents (and in particular mothers) are also a huge influence on girls. In fact, my entire book (The Butterfly Effect) is based on this very premise! Girls cannot be what they cannot see. We must step up and show our daughters what a confident, strong, healthy woman looks like, and how she expects to be treated.

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