From The Pentecotal Evangel, by John W. Kennedy
A new study of Hollywood films reveals that women are depicted wearing little or no clothing more than one-fourth of the time on the screen, with younger females showing even more skin.
Stacy L. Smith and Marc Choueiti, of the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California, analyzed the 100 top-grossing fictional motion pictures of 2008. They discovered that 25.7 percent of the females in the movies were shown wearing sexy, revealing attire. For teen girls, the rate rose to 39.8 percent.
In addition, 23.7 percent of females depicted in those films were partially naked, including 30.1 percent of teenage girls.
The study authors said the high ratio of hypersexualized female images sends the message - particularly to the large number of young males who buy movie tickets - that females are valued most for their appearance.
Los Angeles-based Nicole Clark, who spent four years making a documentary called Cover Girl Culture, says it's part of human nature to desire to be acknowledged, recognized and loved.
"Sadly, the media has force-fed our society the notion that overtly sexy, vacuous, skinny girls - often behaving badly - garner accolades from men and peers," Clark told World View. "There is little else in a girl's life that can compete with the media's endless barrage of this delusional ideal unless they are blessed with extremely conscientious parents who act as gatekeeper and educator of what is truly valuable in a girl."
Clark says well-meaning parents often feel overwhelmed and helpless, yet marketers and advertisers often count on apathy taking over.
"The media relentlessly undermine parents, knowing they will eventually give up," Clark says. "There is another way. Parents need to educate their children about degrading portrayals of women and girls."
Candy Tolbert, director of Assemblies of God National Girls Ministries, urges parents to use Ephesians 6:4 as a guide in training children about the Lord.
"We must do our utmost to direct girls away from the degrading, over-sexualized message of moneymaking clothing and advertising industries that place the marketing of sexy merchandise ahead of the overall well-being of young girls," Tolbert says. "Using sexuality to sell product to girls is inappropriate and demeans intelligence."