"The Australian", 8/2/07, has reproduced and expanded on Caroline Everington's report on her blog about the advertising of children's clothing (see below). International Council of Jewish Women, (ICJW) together with 52 other women's organisations has presented a Statement to UNESCO about the girl-child and her body image.
Making pictures look sexy for comercial purposes has become the norm in every industry.
Paedophiles will probably look at all children in a different way to normal people. Should we become paranoid abut it? On the other hand, the effect on the girls themselves,- "the little models",- is that a problem for some? Do we need to hide under a burka all girls and women,- just in case it damages some girls' self-esteem?
Body image is a real problem for older women and young ones will always copy their older sisters. But commercial exploitation is another matter.
January 20, 2007
ICJW Challenges Beauty Stereotypes
that Damage Girls’ Self Esteem
The International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW) will present a Statement to the UN Commission on the Status of Women, on behalf of 52 Jewish women’s organizations around the world, urging the UN’s Economic and Social Council to protect the girl-child from damaging stereotypes and pressures which impede her healthy psychological development.
The Statement has been endorsed by 12 other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and has been submitted to the 51st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, taking place in New York from 26 February to 9 March 2007. The Commission will consider “The Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination and Violence against the Girl Child” as its priority theme.
The Statement condemns media, advertisements, and popular culture worldwide for promising perfect beauty and promoting stereotypes which can create anxiety, lack of self-esteem and loss of confidence, and impede development of a healthy self-image. Girls should be celebrated for who they are and not how they look. The next generation of girl-children must grow up without the pressure and consequences of having to live up to unrealistic beauty ideals.
The Statement urges support for educational programs to help girls form a healthy self-image, build self-confidence and develop leadership skills, together with mentoring programs, the selection of better role-models, and encouraging parents to reinforce their daughters’ confidence. It also calls for commercial media interests to promote “real beauty” among “real girls”, to prove that beauty comes in different shapes, sizes, and looks.
Says ICJW President Leah Aharonov: “Just as the struggle for women’s rights began with massive consciousness-raising, the issue of self-image must also become a topic of public debate. Let us help the girl-child stop chasing a mirage and get back to reality.”
The ICJW Statement is endorsed and supported by various NGOs in Consultative Status with ECOSOC: Anglican Consultative Council; Armenian International Women’s Association; Associated Country Women of the World; Gray Panthers; Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America; International Federation for Home Economics; International Federation on Ageing; International Health Awareness Network; International Immigrants Foundation; International Presentation Association of the Sisters of the Presentation; Perhaps…Kids Meeting Kids Can Make a Difference; Soroptimist International; Women’s American ORT/World ORT.
Note to Editors:
1) The full text of the ICJW Statement can be found at http://www.icjw.org/
2) The International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW) represents 52 Jewish women’s organizations, advocating issues and acting on their behalf to address challenges that relate to all women, worldwide, in international forums such as the United Nations.
3) The ICJW will be hosting a special reception during the CSW for other delegations.
4) For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Commission on the Status of Women
26 February-10 March 2007
Statement prepared and submitted by: The International Council of Jewish Women,
NGO in Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC
Statement endorsed and supported by the following NGOs in Consultative Status with ECOSOC: Anglican Consultative Council; Armenian International Women’s Association; Associated Country Women of the World; Gray Panthers; Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America; International Federation for Home Economics; International Federation on Ageing; International Health Awareness Network; International Immigrants Foundation; International Presentation Association of the Sisters of the Presentation; Perhaps…Kids Meeting Kids Can Make a Difference; Soroptimist International; Women’s American ORT/World ORT
We, the above NGO’s, reaffirm the Beijing Platform of Action where girls won their place on the agenda in Section L. There, governments promised to eliminate all forms of discrimination against the girl-child by addressing harmful cultural attitudes and practices, and to promote active participation for girls in their own life decisions. The inclusion of Section L acknowledged that women’s advancement would not be sustainable without attention to the rights and dignity of the girl-child.
The theme for CSW51 - The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl-child - is a reminder to governments and civil society of promises made that the safety and protection of the girl-child will be preserved.
Media, advertisements, and popular culture worldwide promote perfect beauty during a time of intense emotional and physical change for the girl-child. It has been shown that girls, even as young as six, are aware of these messages. These stereotypes can create anxiety, lack of self-esteem and loss of confidence, and surely impede development of a healthy self-image. They have been shown to contribute to the rapid increase in dieting and eating disorders. The problem is widespread across the globe, but due to cultural differences, it is not publicly acknowledged.
Girls should be celebrated for who they are and not how they look. These images and standards of beauty contradict good health practices and contribute to negative feelings about physical appearance. The still-malleable girl-child is defining herself and her self-worth by false standards. In too many countries, girls withdraw from normal activities of life because they are troubled about the appearance of their bodies.
The next generation of girl-children must grow up without the pressure and consequences of having to live up to unrealistic and unhealthy beauty ideals. We therefore urge governments and civil society to:
- Initiate grass-roots programs that will help individual girls form a healthy self-image: talk to girls early in life about real beauty; support healthy eating; link women’s organizations with schools, youth groups, and community centers to promote discussions on role models, if they are real, and why; educate to achieve independent thinking and a critical view of the media and their messages;
- Encourage schools to develop workshops and mentoring programs for girls to help foster a healthy relationship with their bodies; select role models to surround them with alternative values; connect business with educational institutions to focus on popular culture and the effect it has on the girl-child;
- Educate parents on the importance of reinforcing their daughters’ confidence;
- Enable girls to be their own advocates for change; to actively plan and run programs for changing images; help girls to build self confidence and develop leadership skills;
- Encourage commercial media interests to promote “real beauty” among “real girls” to prove that beauty comes in different shapes, sizes, and looks; marketing and outreach should portray real and authentic women who don’t fit into specific beauty stereotypes;
- Encourage commercial interests to create women’s forums to participate in a dialogue and debate about the definition and standards of beauty in society;
- Develop realistic standards for media, advertising and the communication industries.
Just as the struggle for women’s rights began with massive consciousness-raising, the issue of self-image must become a topic of public debate. Let us help the girl-child stop chasing a mirage and return to a healthy reality.
Thursday, February 8, 2006.
Sugar and spice... or kiddie porn?
(Blog Tuesday, October 10, 2006) Caroline Overington
LITTLE girls love to play dress ups. Left alone, they will ransack your wardrobe and come tottering down the staircase, wearing your high heels.
Give them a lipstick, and they will smear it all over their face.
Until recently, I thought this was harmless, just like girls playing make believe.
Then, yesterday, the Australia Institute in Canberra put out an alarming report on the so-called “sexualisation of children”.
Apparently, it’s now possible to buy kiddie lip-gloss, fake fingernail polish and pink plastic heels for children - and it is all part of a creeping plot to sexualise the young.
The report, by Dr Emma Rush of the Australia Institute, says major department stories, like David Jones and Myer, are posing children like adults, presenting them with hips thrust out and lips wet with gloss and slightly parted, forcing them to see themselves as sexual beings before they even reached puberty.
Some of the images she finds offensive are here (Corporate Paedophilia: Sexualisation of children in Australia). According to Dr Rush, the girl in Figure 14 from the Frangipani Rose summer range, is: “leaning forward, with legs astride. Both pose and angle are reminiscent of porn shots”.
She’s also deeply critical of Figure 15 (also Frangipani Rose), saying the girl is photographed “wearing a see-through white singlet with a white bra underneath rather than just a normal tee-shirt.
“The setting, where the girl is apparently alone in the bush, combined with the skimpy attire, suggests sexual vulnerability,” she adds.
Well, it’s either that, or else they are pictures of kids on the beach, wearing shorts and skirts. Are they offensive? Are they pornographic?
Have a look, and tell us what you think.