The Jailbait Dilemma

Sex sells, but does the certain aura young celebrities portray in movies justify our media selling sex? - The Jailbait Dilemma introduction?? In Richard Roeper’s Esquire article, “The Jailbait Dilemma”, he is fully aware of how women are sexualized throughout popular culture, especially in movies: “They come to the table with physical gifts, and they’re presented onscreen in a stylized, sexualized manner, and they are objects of fantasy” However, although it may be true that “men never stop appreciating the unique beauty of girls who are just becoming women-and some of the most enticing young women in the world are the ones who are starring in these movies”, this “unique beauty” that is displayed in not only movies, but also television, music, advertisements, magazines, cartoons, toys & games, and even the social media is a false image of young girls that only creates problems. Because studies have proven that the media images and the messages they send out have such a negative impact on young peoples’ lives, I disagree with Roeper’s argument that sexualizing young girls in order to please the male audience should be justified. Studies have shown that the sexualization of young girls and women can lead to a number of problems. They include issues with body image, eating dirorders, depression and self esteem and even teen suicide.

The facts that 9 our of 10 girls say that the fashion industry and the media places a lot of pressure on teenage girls to be thin and that 1/3 of girls admit to starving themselves as a strategy of weight loss shows the growing impact sexualization in the media can have on young girls’ mental and physical health. What is the large amount of energy girls put into how they look and how they dress for approval saying about our society? Men may love staring at 19-year olf Kiera Knightley’s chest when she runs up and down the soccer field in the movie “Bend it Like Beckham”, but what is this image saying about women. The target audience is not middle aged men, as Roeper would say; it’s the teenage girls themselves who are being brainwashed with false images or what the ideal women has to look and act like.

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The sexualized image of girls not only has a negative mental and physical impact on the target audience, the girls themselves, it allows men to become more sexist of women, which can not only be destructive, but also hateful. The teens that view these messages given off in the media may not be able to automatically link them to the negative impacts they have on our society, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be more explicit about showing these negative effects the media has on us. The media has an obligation: to educate and inform the public and when they images they throw at us are false ones, what are we supposed to say to our children; You must live up to false expectations? The sexualization of young girls is only creating problems and should not be the focus in movies.

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