Marybeth Hicks

Only three shopping days left to find the perfect Christmas gift for your lovely teenage daughter. Need some ideas? A quick Google search turns up a "Top 10" list with "hot" suggestions for teen girls. Consider the Spa Sister Head to Toe Pampering Kit ($49.99 at Target) or perhaps a pair of chic leatherette (read: plastic) stilettos with a 4 1/2-inch heel - a bargain at just $15 at Forever 21.

Or, if your teen is a "gleek" (a geeked-out fan of the TV show "Glee," for you cave dwellers) buy the Glee Karaoke Revolution. At $59.99 from Game Stop, this game turns any Wii gaming system into a virtual recording studio where teens can belt out their favorite tunes performed on the show.

But heck, why give a teen girl the vicarious experience of warbling a show-stopping tune when you can just flip on the TV to watch an episode of "Glee" and instead give her the gift of a warped, hypersexual self-image just like what the female characters have on the show?

New research released last week from the Parents Television Council (PTC) reveals that on "Glee" and 24 other prime-time network TV programs, "underage girls are rapidly becoming the new female image of sexualization in the media." (Full disclosure: I'm a member of PTC's Advisory Board.)

It's not only the cultural observer, but the mom in me who is disturbed by the findings of the study, "Sexualized Teen Girls: Tinsel Town's New Target." Among the startling revelations:

- Underage female characters are shown participating in a higher percentage of sexual depictions compared to adult female characters (47 percent and 29 percent respectively).

- Only 5 percent of the underage female characters communicated any form of dislike for being sexualized (excluding scenes depicting healthy sexuality).

- Eighty-six percent of all the sexualized female characters depicted in the underage and young-adult category were presented as just being in high school. (Which means, even if the actress is an adult, she plays a high schooler on TV).

- Ninety-three percent of the sexual incidents among underage female characters were "unhealthy" based upon a definition established by the American Psychological Association of "healthy" vs. "unhealthy" sexuality.

- Ninety-eight percent of the sexual incidents involving underage female characters occurred with partners with whom they did not have any form of committed relationship.

Clearly, the lopsided statistics prove that the powerful folks in TV Land think there is only one way to depict adolescent sexuality in prime-time TV: promiscuously. Makes you wonder about the creepy grown-ups producing this stuff, doesn't it?


Marybeth Hicks

Marybeth Hicks is the author of Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith, and Freedom (Regnery Publishers, 2011).


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