Hypersexualization, Critical Thinking & Media Literacy


Over the past twenty years the portrayal of women in popular media has become increasingly sexualized and is having a damaging affect on women including cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, sexuality and attitudes and beliefs (Sexualization of Girls, American Psychology Association, 2004). Pornography has seeped into mainstream culture and youth are exposed to sexualized images on a daily basis through advertising, television and the internet.

Dr. Gail Dines, professor and author of Pornland, How Pornography has hijacked our sexuality, tackles these growing issues in her work. PORNLAND also looks at how our porn culture affects the way women and girls think about their bodies, their sexuality and their relationships. PORNLAND argues that rather than sexually liberating or empowering us, porn offers us a plasticized, formulaic, generic version of sex that is boring, lacking in creativity and disconnected from emotion and intimacy. (Pornland,WEB)

Terminology such as “Prostitot” is becoming commonly used amongst youth to describe children who dress inappropriately sexual for their age and in this growing sexualized culture, youth are being taught that value lies in physical appearance and sexuality.

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As a result we are witnessing an increase in mental illness, suicide, economic deprivation and violence against women.

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The issues surrounding hypersexuality are beginning to make headlines in popular culture with documentaries like, Miss Representation and Sexy Inc. These documentaries have become the catalyst in forming questions on how this growing epidemic of sexualized media and its portrayal of women is affecting culture and influencing youth.

In my on-going research I explore the impact that social marketing, traditional marketing techniques used to influence behaviour for social good, and media literacy has on gender, race and socio-economic conditions.Through skill development in critical analysis and media deconstruction we can begin to build a ripple effect of positive change in society and the next generation. We can place the power back in the hands of the observer.

This video, created by a group of youth who wanted to address the issue of Hypersexualization and Hypermasculinity, is an example of using media for social good.

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