Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Educator, Author

MY BOOK: Sexualized Media Messages and Our Children

9781440833335 My book, Sexualized Media Messages & Our Children: Teaching Kids to be Smart Critics & Consumers was released on February 28, 2015! This is a practical book with a strong research base that provides strategies for parents and professionals to build strengths in children in order to combat sexualized and stereotyped media messages. This book is a bridge between current research and issues that parents deal with everyday. If you’ve already read books like Redefining Girly or Cinderella Ate my Daughter and want to know more about how sexualization impacts children, this is the perfect book for you! You can order the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, or through Praeger.


“Using the ideas and suggestions in this book, both individuals and groups of children could be helped to become sophisticated reactors to powerful media influences that focus on their potential as sexual objects. The book is clearly written, and the chapters are well referenced with research literature in the field. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty, professionals, and general readers.”Choice

“(Shewmaker) successfully demonstrates the impact of sexualized media on children and how parents and professionals can teach children to be media critics . . . clearly written, well-supported and engaging . . . this eye-opening book contributes a well-researched, practical solution to a major problem affecting children and adolescents, as well as a call to action by parents and professionals.”Journal for Youth and Adolescence

Testimonials from parents and authors

“Fewer parents now answer the “big question” about sex.  Due to excessive media exposure, most kids have got the question “figured out”, though not without various biases and misconceptions.   Dr. Shewmaker’s Sexualized Media Messages and Our Children is an important book I would recommend to all parents and teachers who would like to help children navigate in today’s world of sexually charged media.  The book offers deep insights as well as practical suggestions that are based on research findings, interviews, and the author’s work helping children and young adults in various communities.   It will give parents and educators the vocabulary and tools to teach children to be smart consumers of media.  It also raises our awareness about changes that need to happen to improve the environments in which children grow.”

Berlin Fang, M.S. Author, literary translator, and parent of two

“Kids today are bombarded by constant sexualized messages, and parents are overwhelmed by the task of trying to preserve the natural pace of childhood. Dr. Shewmaker’s invaluable new book takes the unwieldy monster that is sexualization and breaks it down into manageable pieces, combining the most current research with concrete tools to help kids become educated consumers of our media-based culture. A must-read, Sexualized Media Messages and Our Children: Teaching Kids to Be Smart Critics and Consumers first teaches parents how to reinterpret the messages that marketers have carefully crafted, and then provides actionable ways for parents to pass that education on to their children.

Carrie Goldman, M.B.A. Award-winning author of Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher and Kid Needs To Know About Ending The Cycle Of Fear (Harper Collins, 2012)

 Testimonials from professionals

“From studly superheroes to neutered nerds, from hot women to helpless princesses, we all know that mass media rely heavily on sexual and gender stereotypes. Jennifer Shewmaker brings a deep, clear, and well-articulated understanding of how to do something about it: teach children and teens, girls and boys(!), to be critical consumers of the media they encounter every day. This book is a must read for parents, teachers, and anyone who wants children and teens to make their own decisions and develop their own values.”

Andrew P. Smiler, Ph.D. Author “Challenging Casanova” and co-author “The Masculine Self” (5th ed.) 

“To be a parent today requires endless energy and vigilance when it comes to sexualized media that, like an unwanted guest, follows our children everywhere, even into our own homes. Dr. Shewmaker’s book, Sexualized Media Messages and Our Children: Teaching Kids to Be Smart Critics and Consumers, combines academic scholarship with her personal experience as the mother of three daughters. The result is both a lens and a toolkit for understanding and combatting the insidious seep of stereotypes and inappropriately sexualized messaging directed at today’s kids. Raising critical consumers in our commercialized and over-sexualized culture is imperative. Let this book be your roadmap.”

Lori M. Day, M.Ed., Ed.S. Educational psychologist and author of Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More

“We’ve needed a book like this for a long time. One not simply filled with information about the problem of sexualisation, but a toolbox overflowing with practical ideas and conversation starters to have with children both at home and in the classroom. Enormously helpful.”

Collett Smart, Registered Psychologist and Educator     

At last! This is the book parents everywhere have been waiting for. Simple and accessible, Sexualized media and Our Children gives us practical tools to help our children critique and fight back against toxic cultural messages. Challenging sexualised media images and porn culture narratives that tell girls female power lies in being sexual service providers for boys – what Shewmaker calls the ‘sexiness imperative’ – this book helps primary carers to enable young people to develop desired qualities of strength of mind and purpose, intelligence and sensitivity and encourages them to become agents of change.
Melinda Tankard Reist, ed. Getting Real Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls (Spinifex Press) http://www.melindatankardreist.com

Melinda Tankard Reist, Writer, Speaker, Blogger, Media Commentator

Jennifer Shewmaker adds a much needed perspective to the growing conversation about the sexualization of children in contemporary media. She provides a clear description of the challenges facing our children, but chose to focus her work on proactive approaches readers can apply in individual families, classrooms and small communities to equip our children to navigate the contemporary context. Dr. Shewmaker recognizes the agency of the child while maintaining a developmentally appropriate perspective. She provides practical, research informed strategies to empower children to “move from individuals who passively accept images and narratives presented by media to individuals who actively create their own views and then work to influence the views of those around them” (p. 75). This book is a must-have for parents, teachers, children’s ministers, counselors and others who work closely with children in families. In addition, it will serve as an excellent text for university courses in fields that focus on teaching, counseling or advocacy for children.

Dana Kennamar Pemberton, Chair, Department of Education, Abilene Christian University

2 comments on “MY BOOK: Sexualized Media Messages and Our Children

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