December 17, 2010

Hollywood, TV Promoting More Sexually Promiscuous Teens

A new study has found that Hollywood is becoming more obsessed with showing underage female characters in sexual situations.

According to a new study conducted by the Parents Television Council (PTC), Hollywood is showing 47 percent of underage females participate in sexual situations, compared to 29 percent of adult females.

PTC's report is based on a content analysis drawn from the 25 most popular shows on television in the 12-17 demographic throughout the 2009 and 2010 television season.

"The results from this report show Tinseltown's eagerness to not only objectify and fetishize young girls, but to sexualize them in such a way that real teens are led to believe their sole value comes from their sexuality," PTC President Tim Winter told journalists on a conference call. "This report is less about the shocking numbers that detail the sickness of early sexualization in our entertainment culture and more about the generation of young girls who are being told how society expects them to behave."

"Storylines on the most popular shows among teens are sending the message to our daughters that being sexualized isn't just acceptable, it should be sought after," Winter said. "It is outrageous that TV executives have made it their business to profit off of programs that depict teen girls blissfully being sexualized by casual partners."

The PTC included Taylor Momsen's character in bed with Ed Westwick on "Gossip Girl," Annalynne McCord taking a swig of alcohol while donning a bra and panties on "90210," and a lesbian kiss between cheerleaders on "Glee" as examples.

The data also found that 98 percent of the sexual incidents involving underage female characters occurred outside of having a committed relationship.  It also found that 73 percent of the underage sexualized incidents were presented in a humorous manner.

Winter said that TV networks cannot be trusted as 75 percent of the time they leave off the "S" descriptor to warn audiences about sexual content.

However, Adam Temple, the Coalitions Director at the TV Watch Organization said that examining the age appropriate rating is the most important factor to take into consideration.

"You have to look at the whole story. First and foremost shows are rated based on age, so before you even get to the point of those content descriptors (such as "ËœS' for sex, "ËœL' for language and "ËœV' for violence) parents have to decide what is appropriate," Temple told Fox News. "As with other PTC studies, it is very subjective, so 'reader beware.' It is important to remember that parents are the ultimate authority, and that this seemingly "Ëœscary' study based on vague methodology is subjective."

The PTC and its supporters do not just want networks to slap more warnings on programs, but they want parents, actors, and advertisers to take action and demand that the trend to air content based on teen sexualization be reversed.

However, Temple says that at the end of the day, parents should take control over what their children watch on TV.

"Parents understand that all programming is not for all children and, according to polling conducted solely among parents, take seriously their efforts to ensure their children view what is appropriate based on their age, taste and values," he told Fox. "What is increasingly difficult to take seriously, is a patchwork of studies characterized by vagaries and omissions, apparently intended to raise money because the group has the word 'Parents' in its name."


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