The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It

M. Gigi Durham, Author . Overlook $24.95 (286p) ISBN 978-1-59020-063-6

We’ve all seen it—the tiny T-shirts with sexually suggestive slogans, the four-year-old gyrating to a Britney Spears song, the young boy shooting prostitutes in his video game—and University of Iowa journalism professor Durham has had enough. In her debut book, she argues that the media—from advertisements to Seventeen magazine—are circulating damaging myths that distort, undermine and restrict girls’ sexual progress. Durham, who describes herself as “pro-girl” and “pro-media,” does more than criticize profit-driven media, recognizing as part of the problem Americans’ contradictory willingness to view sexualized ad images but not to talk about sex. Chapters expose five media myths: that by flaunting her “hotness” a little girl is acting powerfully; that Barbie has the ideal body; that children—especially little girls—are sexy; that violence against women is sexy; and that girls must learn what boys want, but not vice versa. After debunking each myth, Durham offers practical suggestions for overcoming these falsehoods, including sample questions for parents and children. In a well-written and well-researched book, she exposes a troubling phenomenon and calls readers to action. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/10/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-0-7156-3804-0
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-1-59020-215-9
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-59020-594-5
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