What it means to be a girl, according to the media

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As if adolescence isn’t hard enough, new research shows that girls as young as 6 prefer provocative clothing and feel dissatisfied with their body. And once again, it looks like popular media is the culprit.
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Girls are judged harshly for sending, and for not sending, sexts

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Recent research suggests that adolescent boys hold girls to some striking double standards when it comes to sexting.

51 adolescents, a mix of both girls and boys, in three different American cities responded to several open-ended questions about sexting. Researchers analyzed their responses and found that boys judge girls’ sexting behaviors in one of two ways. First, boys think that girls who send sexts are “crazy, insecure, attention-seeking sluts with poor judgment.” At the same time, however, boys categorized girls who didn’t send sexts as “prude,” “goody,” or “stuck up.”
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Porn, parents, and kids’ self-worth

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Pornography is a near-mainstream part of life for American adolescents. By the time they reach college, research suggests that about 50% of our kids will regularly view pornography. This means that whether your child looks at pornography or not, they will be affected by it in some way. For those who don’t view pornography, they’ll likely date somebody who does, and this has been shown to have negative effects on self-esteem and relationship quality, among other things. Sounds daunting for a parent of four daughters like me.
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How sexual music changes our thoughts

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Music and weedwackers have a lot to do with each other. For example, last weekend I used our weedwacker to trim the edges of our lawn. To get it started, I have to push a little plastic bubble on the side of the engine to prime the engine. Trimming my lawn, combined with a conversation with a colleague this week, reminded me of a couple of studies that help explain how sexual media content can affect us, and our children. In the first study researchers had half the participants listen to sexually explicit lyrics in songs sung by the likes of Madonna and Janet Jackson under the guise that the music would help clear their mind. The other half listened to music with non-sexual lyrics. Study participants then viewed online dating profiles of three people of the opposite sex and were asked to rate the profiles on several attributes, including sexual desirability. Results showed that people who listened to the sexual lyrics rated the online profiles as more sexually desirable. In other words, simply listening to sexual music got participants thinking about sexual things, which in turn biased their subsequent perceptions of fictional people they had never met!
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