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Flirtation sells for Valentine's Day, but at what cost to young girls?


It's the time of year when television is riddled with pink-themed Victoria's Secret commercials and department stores put skimpy lingerie front and center.

It's nearly Valentine's Day, but some people seem to think that the blatant sexualization of women that goes along with it has got to stop.

Canada fed up with sexy advertising

According to a recent survey from the Canadian Women's Foundation, 90 percent of Canadians think that exposure to "unrealistic sexy imagery" of women via advertising is a problem for young girls.

Beth Malcolm, Director of the Girls' Fund at the Canadian Women's Foundation, says that the negative stereotypes put forth by the media need to challenged, otherwise girls will continue to think their worth lies in outside appearances:

When girls have constant exposure to unrealistic images of sexualized women, they become critical about their bodies and may start to believe their main value comes from their appearance, rather than their intelligence or other strengths.

The survey found that 62 percent of respondents think the sexy advertising issue is a "major" problem, while 28 percent see it as a "minor" issue. Moreover, 37 percent reported knowing a girl who wants plastic surgery as a result of feeling physically unattractive or inferior.

The "sex sells" message "can lead to problems such as eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression," notes Malcolm.

Challenging the status quo

According to a press release, the Canadian Women's Foundation seeks to empower girls to believe in themselves and develop critical thinking skills when it comes to media literacy.

The organization recommends that parents help their daughters build better self-esteem by communicating about negative messages seen in TV shows, movies or advertisements and encouraging them to get involved in community programs that can help them challenge stereotypes and build confidence.

"We want every girl to believe in herself and realize she matters," said Malcolm.

Source: Canada Newswire
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