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From prim to poledance: girls, sex and popular culture

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Michelle Smith from the Wheeler Centre discusses the negative influence pop culture has on young females.

Today’s consumer culture persistently uses girls as icons of sexual attractiveness in advertising, film and television. In the nineteenth century, print media did not dare positively associate girls with sex. What does the dramatic change in the popular representation of young women mean for how girls are seen? And how does it affect how they see themselves?

We now afford girls the same educational opportunities as boys, yet our popular culture increasingly socialises girls to value themselves not only for their beauty but for their sexual desirability. Did girls fare better in the Victorian era?

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