Sexualization and mental health issues in young girls

The sexualization of young girls is an ongoing problem in the United States. It has caused countless problems, from exposing girls to social pressure to persistent sexual violence. Sexualization is negatively affecting the cognitive function and physical and mental health of many girls.

When the individual or society clearly or implicitly indicates that a girl’s value comes only from her sexual attraction or behavior, and other characteristics are excluded, or when she is sexually objectified, or when the sexual behavior is improperly imposed on others At times, the sexualization of young girls occurs. she.

Sexualization in the media

Sexualization is everywhere: children’s TV shows, movies, advertisements, video games, retail, marketing activities, social media posts, pornography, etc. Girls are often pressured by society to be more sexually attractive to members of the opposite sex, wear tighter clothes, post more sexy pictures, behave more feminine, and engage in inappropriate behaviors, such as watching porn or sex messages .

The media and individuals continue to push boundaries. We see female celebrities wearing provocative costumes on music videos, awards shows and social media. Even if these women are powerful role models, their dress, posture, and way of engaging in erotic conversations can have a big impact on girls.

When girls are exposed to a large number of unrealistic media portrayals of girls of the same age, this can easily lead to internal conflict, confusion, and/or self-loathing.

Unless girls can form a healthy understanding of what they see and hear – and know that the portrayal of women in the media does not mean they have to change they themselves-They can easily begin to internalize and interpret these descriptions in unhealthy ways.

Personalization

In addition to the explicit portrayal of young girls and women in the media, friends, family or acquaintances may often sexually objectify young girls in their lives without even realizing it.

For example, if a young girl is called a word like “sexy” or is taught to only behave or behave in a more submissive way, we are secretly teaching the girl to objectify herself instead of behaving in a way that feels appropriate them, But in a way to define them through the perspective of objectification and patriarchy.

We may not even realize that we are teaching our girls to behave differently from their male counterparts-it is possible that many of us grew up with certain stereotypes of women without even realizing it.

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Realize that what you say to young women in your life is very valuable. Be careful not to imply that she is valued only because of her body, her appearance, or her “femininity” that she displays.

Mental Health

Generally speaking, girls experience more mental health problems than boys, and sexualization often affects the way girls identify themselves and measure their self-worth. When girls experience sexualization or objectification in person, they arouse a wide range of emotions. Depending on the severity of the instance, it can cause anxiety, depression, and even PTSD.

The continued sexualization of young girls is perpetuating gender stereotypes and causing many girls to experience various health and mental health problems. Some of the most common ones include low self-esteem, anxiety, eating disorders, depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts.

Often, these mental health problems are symptoms themselves, due to the girl’s internalizing the sexual behavior that she has acquired from others. They may not know what happened, let alone how to solve the problem externally.

Without knowing how to interpret the sexual information they received about themselves and their bodies, girls may turn to the heart and cause harm to themselves in order to release the tremendous pressure they are experiencing.

self-abasement

Self-esteem is crucial. When girls have low self-esteem, they experience sensitivity to criticism, desire to withdraw from social activities, hostile behavior, exhaustion, migraines, negative self-talk, etc.

Girls with low self-esteem are more likely to struggle in school and social situations. This can lead to low scores and problematic decisions.

anxiety

Adults tend to recognize signs and symptoms of anxiety, but girls may not know what they are experiencing. If girls avoid overnight stays or birthday parties, fail to follow instructions at school, experience outbursts of anger, nail biting, lip biting, frequent urination, irritability, changes in eating habits, or irritability, then they may experience anxiety, which is in severity.

Eating disorder

Eating disorders are multifaceted-they can result from many problems, such as poor body image, low self-esteem, anxiety, perfectionism, trauma, etc.

Social aesthetic standards are also to blame, because girls often see certain body types that may be different from their own in the media.

Signs of an eating disorder may include excessive exercise, unusual eating habits (such as restricting food intake or excessive intake), high stress, sudden weight changes, and so on.

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Frustrated

On average, girls experience depressive episodes more frequently than boys, and many episodes begin at an early age. There are many reasons for depression, but the most common signs include feelings of despair, anger or irritability, as well as lack of energy, extreme sensitivity to rejection, self-criticism, and/or family, friends, or school activities.

Self-harm

Some studies have shown that girls are more likely to self-harm than boys.Whenever a girl intentionally hurts herself, it is regarded as self-harm. This may include cutting or burning the skin. If you suspect that a girl is self-harming, it is important to tell a parent, counselor or mental health professional as soon as possible.

Suicidal thoughts

For young people, suicide is the main cause of death. In recent years, the suicide rate among young females has increased rapidly.Some warning signs include depression, staying away from family or friends, drastic personality changes, pain, rebellious behavior, or history of drug abuse or mental illness. If a girl has given up her favorite things or talked about suicide, even in a joking way, this may indicate that she is dealing with suicidal thoughts.

Many girls deal with neglected mental health issues. It is important to pay attention to drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality, and likes and dislikes.

If a girl likes to play football, but suddenly hates it and does not want to have anything to do with it, you should find out why.

Sexual violence

“Sexualization dehumanizes girls and women, which contributes to a culture of rape and violence against women,” said Carrie Baker, a JD, who is responsible for “Combating the Sexual Trade among American Youth: Gender, Race, and Politics” and “Women’s Anti-Government Movement”. Author of the book. sexual harassment.

When girls are treated as objects, portrayed or treated, they begin to objectify themselves, which can cause psychological harm, especially when girls begin to value physical attractiveness or sexual value rather than intelligence and personal happiness. When a young girl’s mental health is poor, she is vulnerable to manipulation, false promises, violence and abuse.

All girls, regardless of their social status or geographic location, are vulnerable to sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse, prostitution, and sex trafficking, all of which may stem from sexualization.

Studies have shown that girls and women account for 80% of the victims of the sex trade in the United States.Many times, girls are forced to be trafficked through violence, threats and even marriage. Others are lured into the industry by human traffickers offering gifts of financial support, romantic love or other misleading opportunities, false promises, and/or lies.

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End the sexualization of girls

Girls are sexually exploited throughout the country and the world. Stopping the sexualization of girls requires many system and social changes.

For example, hiring more women in the media and politics can help ensure progress, portray women more realistically in the media, enact more laws to protect women, and protect our young girls. In addition, on a personal level, you can better understand how your behavior or the behavior of your loved ones affects the young girls in your life.

If you want to support girls and empower them, you can provide the following: self-esteem guidance, plans or activities, access to mental health services, etc. The more we talk about issues related to sexualization, the better.

“#MeToo sparked conversations about sexual harassment, sexual assault, and consent, which helped raise girls’ awareness of their physical autonomy. Adult women who speak out and claim their right to be free from sexual harassment and sexual assault are role models for girls,” Baker Say.

Ultimately, the only way to prevent sexual-based violence is to end the demand for victims of child pornography, prostitution, and underage trafficking, but as an individual, you still have the ability to change the narrative.

Girls need to understand the relevance and power of sexualization so that they can protect their overall health and well-being physically and mentally.

Very good sentence

If you want to end the sexualization of young girls, you need to rethink your actions, behaviors, and words. Unfortunately, technology has made the sexualization of young girls more rampant, making many of our jobs more difficult.

As a parent, one of the best things you can do is to talk to your child (regardless of gender) about the dangers of sexualization. If you find signs of mental health problems, please contact a professional immediately. If you suspect that a girl is self-harming or has suicidal thoughts, you need to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline through online chat, or call 800-273-8255.

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