From “Fight the Sexualisation of Young Girls the Right Way” by Sarah Seltzer on Alternet:
“But does it follow that the teens who are on TV should not be seen as sexual at all? Teens in real life are sexual beings, after all, and they make sexual choices every day.
“This brings us to our second anti-sexualisation movement, a movement whose origins and goals are entirely different. SPARK is a movement to celebrate girls for more than their sexuality and to aggressively combat product placement, advertising, and cultural messages aimed at tweens and preteens that directly sexualise them—like pole dancing for twelve-year olds and push up bras before training bras. This is a movement that also has beef with media portrayals of writhing, gyrating teen and twentysomething pop sensations—like the Glee stars’ racy GQ poses.
“But the beef is not because they’re seen as sexual, because they’re playing into a version of sexuality that is catering to male fantasies. It’s about treating sexuality as something that comes from within, not a plastered-on image in high heels and short skirts.
“…And so they oppose the imposition of a male-oriented sexuality on women.
“Therefore their issue isn’t just that teen girls on TV have sex or engage in sexual behaviour like suggestive dancing or making out. Instead, their concern is that teen girls on TV are often reduced to sex objects or miniature versions of sexual stereotypes: temptresses, vixens, sluts. Girls having sex in long-lasting relationships or because they *gasp* want to? That’s okay, as long as they’re armed with the right information and a spectrum of choices and alternatives about how they can be sexy and still be themselves.
“If you want to know why feminists are obsessed with shows like Friday Night Lights and the late, great My-So-Called Life, it’s because they show the reality of teen girls being obsessed with and learning about and experimenting with sex—as teen girls generally do—but only as part of a broader spectrum of their lives which includes classes, parents, sports, and friendship.
“Sexuality vs. Sexualisation. It’s a distinction we all need to practice making so we can continue the work that SPARK has begun.”