Friday, 4 November 2011

Corporate childhood.

‘Pornography is held up as an imminent danger to childhood innocence but nothing is said about corporations and their middle-class shareholders who relentlessly commodify and sexualize children’s bodies, desires, and identities in the interests of turning a profit.’  - Giroux (2000)

I initially searched for relevant material in the 'Journalism studies' journal but struggled to find anything but I then searched through the 'Media, Culture and Society' journal and found an article titled "Endangered childhoods: how consumerism is impacting child and youth identity".  The journal fits in nicely with the material I have been reading this week in “Consumer Kids” and “Toxic Childhood”.  I have also come across a plethora of articles on this topic also.  It is becoming clear the more I read that the issue of consumerism in relation to children and their behavior is of high importance in current research and society.

Just to refresh everyone on what my research topic is – I plan on researching how much the media influences the behaviour of young children especially in regards to body image and the sexualisation of children. I haven't decided for definite which media platforms I am going to focus on but I'm thinking about focusing on mainly magazine and social networking/internet.

Hill (2011) discusses how advertising and the consumer society we live in influences the way children feel about body image and how in the process it is eroding the concept of childhood.  There is a strong influence placed on young children (more so girls) as items are marketed to make them feel they need the product in order to emulate a feminine/male ideal.

The concept of 'The Tween' was also introduced to me which refers to children between the ages of 8-12.  This age group are a main target in the advertising world as they can be enticed into adopting an identity older than their developmental age and this is where the problem of children being overly sexualised begins. 

The part that interested me the most in the journal was Quart (2003) term of "body branding" or "branding of the flesh" to refer to the increase in cosmetic surgery on those 18 and under.  Teens and children represent 306,000 of the 7.4 million plastic surgeries conducted in the USA.  (Hill (2011) pp.12).  Reading this statistic has made me want to look into how many adolescents in the United Kingdom undergo cosmetic surgery every year. 

Also found this article which is a good example of the above. 

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