THE LOLITA EFFECT by M. Gigi Durham

This book focuses clearly on the way that girls are sexually exploited both in the media and in real life, or, more specifically, how those two factors are so tightly tied together. The ways that girls are presented in commercials, ads, movies/TV, magazines, etc may not necessarily be the cause of things like rape and sex trafficking around the world (which affect young girls more than any other demographic), but those images and social expectations normalize and glamorize the hyper-sexualization of young girls. People just think it’s regular at this point.

M. Gigi Durham’s biggest suggestion is to be more conscious of what’s at the root–profit–and then to help the girls (and boys) in your life to see it too. Practicing media literacy is an effort towards freedom from the pressure to be the perfect Barbie which is what western media shamelessly promotes around the world. It doesn’t just make girls feel bad, it’s traumatizes and destroys everyone’s access to healthy sexuality. We’re all constantly being given mixed messages–sex followed by murder in slasher films, ~sexy~ photo shoots followed by paid advertisements in magazines (and on social media), etc.–that trick us into associating sex with violence and money and shame.

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