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This report examines and summarizes psychological theory, research and clinical experience addressing the sexualization of girls.
The report (a) defines sexualization; (b) examines the prevalence and provides examples of sexualization in society and in cultural institutions, as well as interpersonally and intrapsychically; (c) evaluates the evidence suggesting that sexualization has negative consequences for girls and for the rest of society; and (d) describes positive alternatives that may help counteract the the influence of sexualization.
The fourth condition (the inappropriate imposition of sexuality) is especially relevant to children.
Anyone (girls, boys, men, women) can be sexualized.
In 2005, APA adopted the policy resolution on *Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media (PDF, 89KB), which documented the negative impact of exposure to violent interactive media on children and youth and called for the reduction of violence in these media.
These resolutions and reports addressed how violent media and advertising affect children and youth, but they did not address sexualization.
Self-motivated sexual exploration, on the other hand, is not sexualization by our definition, nor is age-appropriate exposure to information about sexuality.
There are several components to sexualization, and these set it apart from healthy sexuality.
Sexualization occurs when All four conditions need not be present; any one is an indication of sexualization.
Journalists, child advocacy organizations, parents and psychologists have argued that the sexualization of girls is a broad and increasing problem and is harmful to girls.
The APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls was formed in response to these expressions of public concern.These are the models of femininity presented for young girls to study and emulate.