Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Are you ready to change?

“Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

George Bernard Shaw

Are you ready to consider changing your mind? When someone presents an idea that conflicts with your own, do you automatically shut it down, or do you give yourself the chance to explore the possibilities?

When it comes to the harm that sexualized and stereotyped media does to children, so many of us have had the wool pulled over our eyes. We’ve become so accustomed to the idea that little girls must be interested in all things sparkly and fancy and little boys must be interested in all things active and aggressive that we balk at the idea that perhaps these are not completely natural interests. But the truth is, neuroscience tells us that the brains of infant boys and girls are actually very similar. What is different is experience, or nurture.

When I talk about the way that sexualized and stereotyped media can lead to difficulties for children in body image, self-concept, and sexual behaviors, I often hear, “It’s just a doll/t-shirt/tv show.” But the truth is, media is a powerful force in teaching children what it means to be a boy or girl and what attitudes and behaviors are acceptable and rewarded.

So I ask you, if you’ve been holding onto the idea that media has no impact on children, that sexualization is just something that people with too much time on their hands are worried about, that it’s all in fun, are you ready to consider changing your mind? Will you let go of your pat answers and consider some facts? If you give yourself the chance to explore the data that has been gathered on this blog, the evidence will convince you that sexualization is an important social justice issue for children. Can you change your mind?

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One comment on “Are you ready to change?

  1. I am already there with you Jennifer – especially after seeing a 6 year old weraing make up yesterday.

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