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So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kidsby Diane E Levin
Synopses & Reviews
Thong panties, padded bras, and risqué Halloween costumes for young girls. T-shirts that boast “Chick Magnet” for toddler boys. Sexy content on almost every television channel, as well as in books, movies, video games, and even cartoons. Hot young female pop stars wearing provocative clothing and dancing suggestively while singing songs with sexual and sometimes violent lyrics. These products are marketed aggressively to our children; these stars are held up for our young daughters to emulate–and for our sons to see as objects of desire.
Popular culture and technology inundate our children with an onslaught of mixed messages at earlier ages than ever before. Corporations capitalize on this disturbing trend, and without the emotional sophistication to understand what they are doing and seeing, kids are getting into increasing trouble emotionally and socially; some may even to engage in precocious sexual behavior. Parents are left shaking their heads, wondering: How did this happen? What can we do?
So Sexy So Soon is an invaluable and practical guide for parents who are fed up, confused, and even scared by what their kids–or their kids friends–do and say. Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., internationally recognized experts in early childhood development and the impact of the media on children and teens, understand that saying no to commercial culture–TV, movies, toys, Internet access, and video games–isnt a realistic or viable option for most families. Instead, they offer parents essential, age-appropriate strategies to counter the assault. For instance:
• Help your children expand their imaginations by suggesting new ways for them to play with toys–for example, instead of “playing house” with dolls, they might send their toys on a backyard archeological adventure.
• Counteract the narrow gender stereotypes in todays media: ask your son to help you cook; get your daughter outside to play ball.
• Share your values and concerns with other adults–relatives, parents of your childrens friends–and agree on how youll deal with TV and other media when your children are at one anothers houses.
Filled with savvy suggestions, helpful sample dialogues, and poignant true stories from families dealing with these issues, So Sexy So Soon provides parents with the information, skills, and confidence they need to discuss sensitive topics openly and effectively so their kids can just be kids.
"The authors (Levin is a professor of education; Kilbourne, an authority on the effects of advertising) accuse the media of sexualizing children. Constantly, American children are exposed to a barrage of sexual images in television, movies, music and the Internet. They are taught young that buying certain clothes, consuming brand-name soft drinks and owning the right possessions will make them sexy and cool — and being sexy and cool is the most important thing. Young men and women are spoon-fed images that equate sex with violence, paint women as sexually subservient to men and encourage 'hooking up' rather than meaningful connections. The result is that kids are having sex younger and with more partners than ever before. Eating disorders and body image issues are common as early as grade school. Levin and Kilbourne stress that there is nothing wrong with a young person's natural sexual awakening, but it is wrong to allow a young person's sexuality to be hijacked by corporations who want them as customers. The authors offer advice on how parents can limit children's exposure to commercialized sex, and how parents can engage kids in constructive, age-appropriate conversation about sex and the media. One need only read the authors' anecdotes to see why this book is relevant. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Internationally recognized experts in childhood development and the impact of media on kids, Levin and Kilbourne have teamed up to offer parents the information, skills, and confidence they need to raise kids with a healthy understanding of sex and sexuality.
About the Author
Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., (right) is a professor of education at Wheelock College in Boston, where she has been involved in training early childhood professionals for more than twenty-five years. An internationally recognized expert who helps professionals and parents deal with the effects of violence, media, and commercial culture on children, Levin is a senior adviser to the PBS parents website for girls, the co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and the author or co-author of seven other books, including Remote Control Childhood? and The War Play Dilemma. She is a frequent keynote speaker and workshop presenter and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., is internationally recognized for her pioneering work on alcohol and tobacco advertising and the image of women in advertising. The New York Times Magazine named her one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses. Her award-winning films include the Killing Us Softly series, Slim Hopes, Calling the Shots, and Spin the Bottle. The author of Cant Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel, she is a frequent guest on radio and television programs such as Today and The Oprah Winfrey Show. She has testified for the U.S. Congress and been an adviser to two surgeons general. A Senior Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women, she lives in Newton, Massachusetts.
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