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Just the Facts! 

The statistics are startling. The average North American girl will watch 5,000 hours of television, including 80,000 ads, before she starts kindergarten!  

Commercials aimed at kids spend 55% of their time showing boys building, fixing toys, or fighting. Girls, on the other hand, spend 77% of their time laughing, talking, or watching boys play. And while boys in commercials are shown out of the house 85% of the time, more than half of the commercials featuring girls place them inside the home.   

What’s the big deal?

Research indicates that these kinds of mixed messages make it difficult for girls to negotiate the transition to adulthood, particularly as so many ads are focused on girls’ beauty.

More than ever, girls are surrounded by images of female beauty that are unrealistic and unattainable. Studies show that girls who watch TV commercials featuring underweight models lose self-confidence and become more dissatisfied with their own bodies and girls who spent the most time and effort on their appearance suffer the greatest loss in confidence.

The pressures put on girls by the media to look sexy and trendy may produce images of girls that are “hypersexualized,” meaning that  very young girls are portrayed in sexual ways. Ew!

Over the past decade, the fashion industry has begun to use younger and younger models, and now commonly presents 12- and 13-year-old girls as if they were women.  But girls need an opportunity to be girls.  Most importantly, girls need more than stereotypical portrayals of women and girls as powerless, passive victims. 

How does this affect me?

As girls become teenagers, many choose to tune out to these negative messages, but its easy to buy in to this unrealistic images of what girls “should look like.” Girls who continue to consume media images are strongly influenced by stereotypical images of uniformly beautiful, obsessively thin and scantily dressed objects of male desire. And studies show that girls who are frequent viewers have the most negative opinion of their gender.

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