Day Twenty-two: April 13


What we Preach/Teach (don't have sex!) vs. What we Promote (sex sells!)

The innocent, pure Child to be protected vs. The Hyper-sexualized child to be exploited

Don't have sex, but look sexy: On the left side is Hayden Panettiere's PSA for the Candies Foundation. On the right side is her (sexualized and infantilized) ad for Candie's shoes. 

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In this video above they mention how deregulating television by the FCC in the 1980s enabled television programs to market products to kids. In "Wholesome to Whoresome" Orenstein discusses the marketing of the Disney "product," from Disney Princesses to the Virginal Tween Queen Mogirls (Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, Alex Russo/Selena Gomez, Sunny Monroe/Demi Levato), and how girls grow up to be women and commodities (114). 

How are products marketed to/for kids (girls and boys)?

How are wholesome and whoresome (and innocent and sexy) used together to sell products?


"Eventually, though, Britney got older and needed to evolve; when she dropped the act and became consciously rather than "accidentally" sexy, the public turned on her, and the knowing naif was branded a slut...Suddenly Britney's fairy tale was transformed into a cautionary tale: woe to girls who step over the ever-shifting invisible line between virgin and whore" (Orenstein, 123). 


Miley Cyrus singing "Party in the U.S.A" and dancing with a (stripper?) pole at the Teen Choice Awards


Orenstein suggests that the wholesome/whoresome (or virgin/whore) contradiction is manipulated by Disney starlets (and/or their handlers?) who are negotiating the difficult terrain of the (pre) tween market. This negotiation, while hyper-visible (and with higher stakes) for Hannah, Britney, Lindsey, is also one that almost all young girls go through. 

The predicament of ordinary girls writ large: They, too, struggle with the expectation to look sexy but not feel sexual, to provoke desire in others without experiencing it themselves. Our daughters...will have to figure out how to become sexual beings without being objectified or stigmatized (Orenstein, 124). 

What do we fail to talk about when we can only imagine our discussions of (discourses about) kids/youth and sexuality in the limited binary of either wholesome or whoresome, innocent or hypersexualized? Are there other ways to think about the sexual health of children/youth? What resources can we draw upon for thinking about girls' sexual agency?   

Let me be clear here: I object--strenuously--to the sexualization of girls but not necessarily to girls having sex....The virgin/whore cycle of the pop princesses, like so much of the girlie-girl culture, pushes in the opposite directions, encouraging girls to view self-objectification as a feminine rite of passage (Orenstein, 130).   

What is the role of fathers in helping kids to negotiate sex and in controlling/managing/protecting kids' innocence? Miley Cyrus' Dad?

Diablog groups present their questions. 


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