Sex & Sexualization: What Does It Mean For Our Daughters?

By

Sex Educator: Teach Girls Healthy Body Image
What are we teaching our children about sex — and how will it effect them as adults?

Raising daughters in an era that values thigh gap and size zero can be a bit daunting. Add to that the constant barrage of images of barely-dressed women next to fully-dressed men in both advertising and entertainment, and you might understand why parents are struggling to teach their daughters (as well as sons) the difference between a healthy sexual identity and sexy for sexy's sake.  

Here's the problem: When we define sexy as a one-size-fits-all look that is completely focused on the exterior features of women, then how do women who don't fit that mold feel about themselves? When we teach "sexy" as being only about one's outward appearance, what are we teaching our daughters about healthy sexuality? And, for that matter, what are we teaching our sons? If you can only be sexy at a certain weight, with a specific body type and a pouty look on your face, how will you ever find a way to a healthy sex life? Further, if boys are raised to see only those features as sexual, how will they cultivate healthy sexual attitudes?

As these children, who have been inundated with sexualized imagery, reach adulthood, I fear for their ability to enjoy their partners on a meaningful and emotionally deeper level. It seems obvious (at least to me) that raising our daughters in a world that marginalizes women and girls in the media will hurt their self-esteem, but what about the damage to their future selves? How will an adult woman who has been told that her body doesn't fit the media norm get into bed with a partner and feel confident and sexy? How will men find normally-shaped women sexy when all they've viewed are highly sexualized women with photoshopped bodies?

To assume that images such as the nearly naked Miley Cyrus twerking against the fully-clothed Robin Thicke don't influence how we all think of sexuality might be a bit naïve. We are all being sold a package of sexiness and sexuality that doesn't have much to do with the real thing... it will most likely leave us feeling as if something is missing. Isn't it time to stop using sex to sell — particularly to our children? Shouldn't we allow our children to develop a healthy image of themselves that leads to a healthier self-esteem? That is what will ultimately lead to a healthier sexual activity as they grow into adulthood. 

I'm proud to stand with a group of business owners, activists, and mental health professionals who are actively seeking to change the face of media for our children; particularly our daughters. They are the force behind Brave Girls Want, an organization dedicated to removing the toxicity of the media's influence on our daughters.  When we put girls in a box of imposed femininity and sexuality, we not only limit them now as children, but also as fully realized, sexual adults.  

Here is the website to join us for our exciting Times Square event,  http://www.bravegirlswant.com/index.html

Lisa Kaplin is a psychologist and life coach at www.smartwomeninspiredlives.com

You can reach her at Lisa@smartwomeninspiredlives.com

To contribute to the Brave Girls Want campaign,  http://www.bravegirlswant.com/our-campaigns.html

More sex educator advice from YourTango:

Article contributed by

Dr. Lisa Kaplin

YourTango Expert Partner

Dr. Lisa J. Kaplin is a life coach and psychologist you can reach her at:

www.smartwomeninspiredlives.com

 

Location: Chicago, IL
Credentials: CPC, ELI-MP, MS, PsyD
Other Articles/News by Dr. Lisa Kaplin:

Cooking Family Meals Is Harmful To Mom's Health (Says Science)

By

A recent study published by PBS revealed that home cooking disproportionally burdens mothers. Gee, you think? Or, as one of my friends said,"In other news, water is wet." I'm pretty sure there are few women who would disagree with the findings of this study. Personally, home cooked meals are the bane of my existence. I work full ... Read more

Hate Your Kid's Idol? 3 Tips For Getting Real About Role Models

By

My 16-year-old daughter loves Beyoncé; she loves her music, her strong pro-woman message and her enviable dance moves. I won't deny, as a grown woman who likes upbeat music, I have some Beyoncé love myself. But my opinion changes when I think of her as my daughter's role model because I find some of Beyoncé lyrics, outfits, and ... Read more

Back Off, Parents! Are Your Fears Making Your Kid Afraid Of Life?

By

This week I sent one of my children off to college and my other two off to high school. If the news is any indication of the state of the world, I should probably be terrified to death. Should I have warned my children to watch out for rapists, murderers, machine-gun-toting high school terrorists, thieves, cheaters, drunk drivers, drug pushers, and the like? ... Read more

See More

PARTNER POSTS
Latest Expert Videos
Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

Most Popular