Raising Girls – The TV Shocker!

Raising Girls – The TV Shocker!

The latest book about girls is all over the press at the moment Raising Girls by Aussie parenting guru Gisela Preuschoff.  It is getting a ton of publicity as the foreword was written by Steve Biddulph author of the million-copy best seller Raising Boys.  It will come as no surprise to you all as an advocate for teen girls I have read it and although it makes some good points, the material is not new and the call for an army of Aunties to mentor our teen girls is already being done by many youth organisations in the UK, in fact the Girls Out Loud BIG SISTER programme is just that!

Early sexualisation, mainstreaming porn, the internet, the media onslaught about how to look and reality TV have all played their part in where we are but girls are big business and making them feel bad about the way they look as early as possible is cash in the bank for so many organisations it is simply too tempting to resist – skincare, cosmetic surgery, the media, make up, haircare, beauty industry, clothing industry, the toy manufacturers- they all play on exploiting girls so that the only question they feel necessary to answer is ‘How do I look and am I hot?  In fact the hotness monitor is on overdrive wherever you look.

And if the magazines, the internet and Bratz dolls are not destroying our teen girls egos enough then what they are watching on TV will delete what little self esteem they have left. Reality TV, the programmes of choice for our youngsters.  Supposedly about real life, but really set up scenarios where attractive girls and boys are shown having sex, getting off their face on drink and drugs and getting hurt both physically and more uncomfortably emotionally.  Girls are hooked on these programmes and for them it is more than entertainment, it is a monitor for what is normal and cool and we wonder why they are in the throes of a full on identity crisis before they hit 16.

Researchers have found that TV has six key messages for girls.  Take a deep breath….

  • Your looks are the most important thing about you.

 

  • Your physical characteristics (shape, weight, skin, hair, teeth, colour, smell) are NEVER, EVER good enough.

 

  • Sex is primarily a currency that you exchange for love, attention and power.

 

  • It is normal to have sex with people you don’t even know or especially like.

 

  • The world is a scary, lonely, dangerous and competitive place.  Better get going – you might lose the race.

 

  • The answer to all life’s problems is to buy something.

 

How utterly depressing is that?  I reckon this affects girls well past their teen years.  I have met hundreds of  young women displaying this life philosophy too.

The solution?  Apart from banning TV and ALL the media we must keep talking to our girls/daughters.  We must stay close and guide them along the way, spend time with them, confirm for them what is real and what is fake.  Build their self esteem and self respect to help them make the right choices.  But here is the biggy……..   In order to be the role model they need we have to be sending out the right messages too?  It is not what we say they will believe, it is what we do.  If we are obsessed with staying young, on a permanent diet, dabbling with botox, spending all our disposable income on the way we look and buying into the media messages, not much chance they will step up and out of it any time soon.

As Ghandi says ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’  Celebrate your uniqueness and teach them to do the same!

9 comments:

  1. Wendy Maycraft

    Jane this is absolutely spot on. I’m going to send it to everyone I know with daughters.

    Reply
    1. janekenyon

      thanks Wendy – glad I hit the spot and you are on team GOL!!

      Reply
  2. Jane Binnion

    My girl is 14 and I am delighted by her, but the pressure she is under and the challenges to her self esteem (to confirm to the girlie norm) are enormous. I was quite taken aback the other night when she said ‘I am worried about my generation’. the way girls her age are displaying themselves on facebook etc is crazy. they have sadly been brought up in an age where Dumbing down and voyeurism are the norm and the likes of ‘Made in Chelsea’ etc have created role models rather than being seen as ironic . We have to work hard to keep our girls afloat!

    Reply
    1. janekenyon

      thanks for comment Jane. Only 5 years ago the role models were glamour gals and WAGS, now reality TV rules, until we put porn back on the top shelf and out of sight the early sexualisation of our youngsters will continue. Stay close J x

      Reply
    2. janekenyon

      thanks for comments Jane and well done you, your daughter sounds very savvy!

      Reply
  3. Manjir

    You are so right, Jane. I try and watch Reality TV but their lives are so boring, I end up feeling sorry for them. I am so so glad I live a connected life, with so much beyond the physical, that I dance in the dimensions and feel the pulse of Mother Earth. My own mind is a beautiful place and yes I do enjoy fashion – no judgment, but being a consumer is just a small part of me. There is soo much more and I am glad I can enjoy it. The media’s portrayal of women just pales next to that sort of fun. Go on! Ditch the shopping, loosen your hair and dance in the dirt, connect to the moon and to yourself. Feel who you really are – eternal and beyond the impermanence of the physical world.

    Reply
    1. janekenyon

      never stop being you Manjir!! love you! x

      Reply
  4. I suspect the result might be similar for boys, with different nuances (I have a son). Really, how have we reached this stage where both genders are viewing themselves and each other with such narrow, repressive, damaging expectations? I think your conclusions are absolutely right, for mothers of boys as well as of girls, if we’re to have any chance of them growing up free of this nonsense.

    Reply
    1. janekenyon

      well said Joanna!

      Reply

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