Men and the Sexualization of Young Girls

Encouraging princess culture—however innocently—contributes to the sexualization of girls. Men can be part of the solution to the ‘princess problem.’

This may surprise the readers of the Good Men Project Magazine, but we’re part of a problem: the princess problem.

More and more experts recognize that “princess culture” does great harm to girls. I don’t know how many GMPM readers also read Redbook, but it’s worth checking out this story: “Little Girls Gone Wild: Why Daughters Are Acting Too Sexy, Too Soon.” In it, Peggy Orenstein (the author of the new and important Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture), makes the case that a lot of the prematurely sexy behavior and dress we’ve all noticed is actually rooted in something we think is very innocent: the world of princesses.

You may balk—what’s sexy about a little girl in a pink princess costume? But sexy, as it turns out, is not the same thing as sexualized. Sexualization is not just imposing sexuality on children before they’re ready and viewing girls as sexual objects, but also valuing a girl for her appearance over her other attributes. “Princesses are just a phase,” Orenstein writes, but they mark a girl’s “first foray into the mainstream culture. … And what was the first thing that culture told her about being a girl? Not that she was competent, strong, creative, or smart, but that every little girl wants—or should want—to be the Fairest of Them All.”

This may be true, but how is it our problem as men? Many—maybe even most of you who are reading this—don’t have daughters. A lot of you aren’t dads at all. Whether you think little girls dressed up as Snow White are cute or not, what does the problem Orenstein describes have to do with you?

Well, for starters almost every man has—or will have—a little girl in his life. If not a daughter then a niece, a little cousin, your buddy’s kid, your son’s friend from playgroup. And if you care about the well-being of these girls, this issue of princess culture and sexualization matters to you. The bad news is, you may be part of the problem; the good news is, you can be part of the solution.

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Thankfully, most men aren’t sexually attracted to prepubescent girls. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t have a very strong response when we see a 6-year-old dressed up as cute as can be. For men, complimenting older girls and women for their looks is often sexually charged and likely to get you in trouble. But as fathers, uncles, and others notice, little girls of princess age rarely have the same caution and suspicion about older men as their older sisters. Often transparent in their eagerness for attention and validation, they light up at praise. And no compliment is easier to give than “You’re so pretty.”

Five-year-olds in princess costumes are cute. But the problem is that the compliments we give as fathers, uncles, and coaches have an impact on the self-esteem of little girls. As they grow up, they realize quickly (certainly by age 8 or 9) that Cinderella costumes won’t cut it anymore. If they want to sustain the same level of attention that they had when they were adorable first-graders, they’re going to need to employ a different strategy: sexiness. And that sexiness gets our attention all over again.

Wait a minute, you’re thinking. I don’t leer at 10-year-olds in miniskirts. I don’t tell my niece that she’s hot. I wish girls would wait longer to be sexy! How am I part of this problem?

As Orenstein and others point out, little girls take their cues about what is desirable by looking at how boys and men respond to older girls and women. The father who lavishes adoration on “Daddy’s little princess” but ogles high-school cheerleaders is sending his daughter a clear message. The message is that the princess phase won’t last much longer, and if you want to grasp and hold adult male attention, you need to be sexy.

This sexiness has very little to do with sex, and everything to do with the craving for validation and attention. While all children want affirmation, princess culture teaches little girls to get that approval through their looks. Little girls learn quickly what “works” to elicit adoration from mom and dad, as well as from teachers, uncles, aunts, and other adults. Soon—much too soon—they notice that older girls and women get validation for a particular kind of dress, a particular kind of behavior. They watch their fathers’ eyes, they follow their uncles’ gaze. They listen to what these men they love say when they see “hot” young women on television or on the street. And they learn how to be from what they hear and see.

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This doesn’t mean that good dads shouldn’t let their daughters dress up as princesses. It doesn’t mean that good dads, good big brothers, and good uncles should never, ever tell a little girl that she looks “cute” or “beautiful.” It does mean that those good grown men need to make sure that they’re also giving her plenty of compliments that focus on her other qualities, like her intelligence, her kindness, or her athleticism. But something else matters just as much: how we look at and talk about other girls and women.

Too many men do everything they can to protect adored daughters, nieces, and little sisters—while making little attempt to disguise their longing for other young women who aren’t all that much older than the child they cherish. Girls who are raised to see compliments as currency quickly learn that if they want to keep their praise flowing in, they’ll need to do more to “earn” it. And too often, they learn exactly how to earn it from by listening to the words and following the eyes of the men they love and trust most.

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More From Our Special Marriage Section:

Even stellar relationships lose their spark over time; here are the ingredients of a lasting, fruitful partnership, and techniques for weathering the the stormy times: What Your Marriage Needs to Survive

When Tom Forrister transitioned from female to male, his same-sex marriage became a federally recognized, “traditional” marriage. The one constant was the bond he shared with his wife: My Exemplary, Everyday Marriage

As Gabi Coatsworth’s son’s bipolar disorder gave way to full-blown manic episodes, she watched her husband slip deeper into drink and detachment: Reading Between the Silences

Guys may think leaving is the right thing to do for the sake of the family, but according to family lawyer David Pisarra, there are a few things they should know before—and after—they walk out that door: A Guy’s Divorce Survival Guide

For all the stories written by and for women on this issue—and there are few—men are more likely to be absent from the public dialogue about intentional childlessness. Why aren’t men’s stories also being heard? Two Is Enough

The nightmare of family court is enough to deter a guy from even thinking about tying the knot: Marriage: Just Don’t

If you’re married and using Internet porn regularly, your sex life—the one with your wife—is probably a lot less satisfying than it could be: How Porn Can Ruin Your Sex Life—and Your Marriage

Men are more promiscuous than women, but that doesn’t mean we should buy the cultural fallacy that men are programmed to cheat; the vast majority of men are happily, naturally monogamous: Are Men Natural-Born Cheaters?

Tom Matlack talks to married men to find out when they knew their wife was “the one”: She’s the One

Monogamy sounds like “monotony,” but it doesn’t have to be monotonous. Hugo Schwyzer explores how we can have the security—and the novelty—we desire in our relationships: Red-Hot Monogamy

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—Photo by Siti Saad/Flickr

About Hugo Schwyzer

Hugo Schwyzer has taught history and gender studies at Pasadena City College since 1993, where he developed the college's first courses on Men and Masculinity and Beauty and Body Image. He serves as co-director of the Perfectly Unperfected Project, a campaign to transform young people's attitudes around body image and fashion. Hugo lives with his wife, daughter, and six chinchillas in Los Angeles. Hugo blogs at his website

Comments

  1. I’m bothered by the tone of this article, because it doesn’t look at the big picture. The sexual revolution was fought by women and it’s mothers and other women who young girls try to emulate.

    Yet, with all of the negative female role models in their lives, it’s fathers that make a significant contribution to daughters and give them self-esteem to avoid this superficial, materialistic and destructive lifestyle. Fathers need to be responsible, simply because mothers are failing miserably.

    Men should simply knock out that pedestal and stop treating any woman like a princess.

    *Personal responsibility*, it’s not just for men anymore.

    • Denis, the process is circular and self-perpetuating, Mothers of these girls saw this same thing when they were gilrs growing up. They train their daughters into it – take them to hannah Monatan shps, teach them how to tart themselves up – and they probably married men who are prone to this same kind of idolization. That’s the cycle. it’s an entire culture.

      In fact it is not common to see this kind of behavior in supposedly grown women. It seems to be more of a problem in America than in Europe – I was amazed one time coming back to the States after three years in Germany to hear so many supposedly grown women talking in shrill, hyper-emotional voices like 13 year olds. Disgusting.

      But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense to examine it a piece at a time as Hugo is doing. And as you point out, the more the mothers fail at breaking this cycle, or worse, actively contribute to it, the more imprtant it is for fathers to stop this kind of false validation. Focusing on men’s contribution to the cycle supports that.

      One way is to respect and honor the pupation phase that a lot of kids, boys and girls, go through. A lot of kids go through a phase in adolescence where they withdraw socially and emotionally, where they dress as invisibly as possible, where they turn against all of this – not just the image crap, but also the chasing after popualrity and all that whole mess. They may get interested in intellectuil things, in the arts, especially music; or they may just get really withdrawn and moody. It’s trying on a parent who doesn’t recognize it for the very healthy development it can be. It should be honored and watched closely so it doesn’t go wrong, but it can be a very good thing.

    • Female Feedback says:

      Wow, unbelievable generalizations. Denis, have you thought about getting some counseling to deal with your personal issues and relationships rather than projecting them on everyone?

      • Female Feedback says:

        Some men have the courage to really know their daughters and support their development, including giving them a feeling of having the potential to become equal to the father as an adult.

        You clearly are not capable of this and did not get what you needed as a child to do this – probably a deficit in the parenting by both your mother and your father. This is why I think you need counseling.

        • Female Feedback says:

          This comment is out of place. It is a reply to “Denis” and not to Hugo.

          Sorry for any confusion.

          • Actually your comment is out of place for its arrogance and superficiality. Internet psychoanalysis just makes you look bitter and judgemental.

          • Female Feedback says:

            To Jim-

            I don’t think so. You’re the one going on and on about a “pupation” phase – I’m just asking Denis to get counseling, not analyzing him. Perhaps you would benefit from counseling as well?

            I don’t really care if I appear “bitter and judgmental” if I can get even one Denis-type man to get out of his grandiose self-pity pit, get his own childhood crap fixed with counseling or support groups or whatever, and deal with real life. Denis is a frequent poster on her and I get the sense that he has one or more children – I worry for them.

        • Yep, that’s pretty damn arrogant. Knock out that pedestal and teach girls that they have responsibilities in life.

        • I’m noticing a feminist slant of the site moderator.

          • “I don’t think so. You’re the one going on and on about a “pupa­tion” phase — I’m just ask­ing Denis to get coun­sel­ing, not ana­lyz­ing him. Per­haps you would ben­e­fit from coun­sel­ing as well?”

            I’m noticing a lot of projection in a certain commenter. I doubt counselling would do any good though.

      • there it is: the appeal to shame. congrats Denis, that means you won.

    • It doesn’t look at the whole picture because this is the good MEN project.

      Feminism fought for women to be sexual, not sexualized. We have a far way to go.
      I recommend reading Hugo’s post on “Sexy but not Sexual”

      http://hugoschwyzer.net/2010/11/09/the-paris-paradox-how-sexualization-replaces-opportunity-with-obligation/

    • Actually this movie PROVES that feminism is responsible for the sexualization of young girls. And it’s the women themselves you admit to it: http://goo.gl/f4pXo

  2. I was really reminded of this piece on Jezebel, and the really enlightening comments:

    Daddy Issues: Does My Wabdering Eye Hurt My Daughters?

    It’s not so much that dads should be held accountable for this, but rather that they should pay attention to how their atitudes about other women make their daughters feel, because the aggregate impact of certain feelings over a long period of time can turn in to attitudes, and then behaviours.

    I was lucky enough to have a dad who told my I was smart, athletic, curious, tenacious, and funny–and largely because of his influence and support, I grew up that way (despite having an abusive mother!)

    My dad is now the only parent I am in touch with, and he has never made me feel like my value is only in my looks. Conversely, some of my friends hate being at home because their own fathers or stepfathers leer at them now that they are 20-somethings, or openly leer at other women around them.

    • This. It sexualizes that relationship. Ick.

      • This comment stood out for me:

        Slightly different, but discovering my dad’s Hustler magazines when I was too little to understand anything CRUSHED me and was the beginning of my ruined relationship with him and my bizarre relationship with porn. Upon discovery I started crying and yelled at him (in front of my mom) about “Don’t you love mom? Isn’t she enough for you? Don’t you think she’s beautiful enough? That’s disgusting!” Around that time I also found the bookmark folder on his computer (the family/shared computer) that went to all the porn sites, and had the most mortifying moment of my life when he told me not to lean over him because I was developing womanly curves and those curves touching men did things to the men that were inappropriate when the man in question is your father.

        Because of those things, I became very wary (and am to this day) of being a sexual being in front of him (meaning I cover up like a nun, I cringe whenever a sex joke is made in the presence of both of us, I can’t stand watching sexy scenes in movies/tv with him, etc.). I don’t even like hugging him. He never molested me or anything, but the combination of those three things I listed above made me think of him as some sex-hungry maniac who is thinking of me and all women in a sexual manner at all times.

        It’s also ruined my relationship to porn. I like it and can get off on it, but I feel disgusting and dirty doing it, and if my husband looks at it I get a sinking feeling that he’s just like my dad.

        I should probably talk to someone about all this, huh?

  3. Female Feedback says:

    Good article.

    I fought like hell as a child with my lawyer father to be taken seriously and noticed as a person with the potential to become his equal, and, indeed, did move on to go to a top ranked law school and become a corporate law partner (thanks in large part to the broader culture of the women’s movement and the men who supported it).

    Luckily, he fought with me and did not dismiss me as a princess, although he did sometimes say “the women focus on the cultural things, the men on the serious things.” I ended up outdoing him in many ways, going to a higher ranked law school, earning more money, etc.

    I think it’s not just complimenting your daughter’s efforts, intelligence, etc. that’s important but making her feel as though she has the potential to become your equal as an adult. This is helped with interacting with her, letting her tag along with you as you do things, empathizing with her and sharing analogous stories with her of your own childhood and development and your experience of these things. If you share your common humanity with your daughter and validate her humanity, she’ll stay out of princess trouble.

    • Female Feedback says:

      Just wanted to clarify – I don’t think it was good that my father’s only way of dealing with me was to fight with me, but it was better than treating me like a princess. It would have been much better if he had been emotionally available, down-to-Earth and able to relate to me from a place of knowing his own story and his own self.

    • Female Feedback says:

      Seriously, you need counseling. If you are so lacking in curiosity and personal character that you can’t imagine a better way to parent your daughter than just passively whining about the mother, you should never have had a child in the first place.

    • Daddy Issues?

      • Female Feedback says:

        Yes, Denis, I think you have them and it’s time to face up to them and not just blame mommy.

        • These are cheap shots FF. Just stop them. tehy make you look infantile, and that’s probably a disservice to you. It’s unfair to expect respectful argument out of a lawyer, but some self-respect would be an adequate substitute in a forum like this.

          • Female Feedback says:

            Actually Denis’ comment was apparently censored and so you can’t see the self-absorbed attack that I was responding to

    • Sharing my common humanity with my daughter will involve encouraging her to be something other a ruling class adjunct. No sense refraining from being one part of the problem only to be another.

      • Female Feedback says:

        Catallus-

        Sharing your common humanity with your daughter causes “being another part of the problem”? How is that?

        • And here I thought lawyers could read at grade level. I said sharing my common humanity with her would involve encouraging her to be something other than a ruling class adjunct, which sounds to me like a succint definition of a coporate law partner. Dick and Cade from Henry VI, Part II were onto something.

  4. As an adult woman who was very much a girlie-girl, I really value this article. I LOVED princesses, though in the 80’s the princess culture wasn’t the multi-million dollar industry it is now (I grew up with Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow, not Barbie cartoons). I loved dressing up and playing in my mom’s make-up, I hated sports (mostly because I wasn’t very good at them, and it provided another opportunity for my peers to mock me), and I don’t have one memory of my father telling me I was beautiful or pretty. My dad did a good job of encouraging me academically and otherwise, and starting taking me wilderness camping once I entered adolescence (which was one of best things you can ever do for a daughter, sister, niece, etc,–no mirrors no make-up, looks do matter, strength and wherewithal do). But once I really entered my teens, my dad starting making comments about my body. And not good ones. He kept telling me that if I continued to eat the way I did (which wasn’t bad, especially for a teenager) I would get fat. That my butt was looking big. That I should think about going to the gym and lose weight. And I will never, EVER, forget those comments. My father isn’t entirely responsible to the distorted body-image I had of myself, and my low self-esteem (which stemmed mostly from the misguided thoughts that I wasn’t “pretty” enough, that I was fat –at 120lbs!), but he certainly didn’t help.

    Men, and fathers in particular, have a HUGE impact on the girls and women in their lives. I learned at a very young age that if I didn’t stay “young and pretty” that I wouldn’t get what I thought was what I wanted from men. And little girls learn from the way men treat their mothers, sisters, and other adult women. Nothing elicits compliments like meeting some physical ideal. Little girls notice when their fathers ogle other women. They find your hidden playboys. The point, I think, is to just be more thoughtful about how mens’ actions effect girls, even ones that aren’t directed at girls. Girls, and women, are not just valuable as aesthetic objects, and we (men and women) really need to make sure our daughters etc. know that they are more than their looks.

    • Female Feedback says:

      I can relate to your story about your father complaining about your weight. My father complained about mine when I was a very healthy, competitive swimmer at age 16, 5’8 and 130 lbs. I think it had more to do with my starting to take up psychological weight in the family as I was maturing and trying to find my own ground. He was a weak, petty man and could not deal with adult women (or adult men, for that matter).

      One thing you said struck me “I hated sports (mostly because I wasn’t very good at them, and it pro­vided another oppor­tu­nity for my peers to mock me),” I think that being good at sports comes in part from having a father who supports you and connects with you in a human way in doing them. Men do this with their sons, and some do it with daughters. I wish more did it with daughters.

      If your father wasn’t into sports (mine wasn’t either), it can be harder I suppose, but usually the dad has some kind of “outer world” interest he can share with his daughter (like it sounds like yours did with camping ).

    • Actually this movie PROVES that feminism is responsible for the sexualization of young girls. And it’s the women themselves you admit to it: http://goo.gl/f4pXo

  5. Reading some of the men’s comment’s on this artcile and others from this site makes me want to be a lesbian for the first time in my life!

  6. Seriously, I love GMproject! I am a subscriber to a well-known feminist website (Jezebel) and I’ve been growing discontented with their “coverage” of feminist issues. And therefore, by extension, their definition of feminism. I don’t consider fighting back against college opinion pieces as good journalism, nor as a productive use of time—even if it is important that people address those mindsets.

    I will say, they mentioned this particular book, but never went into depth about it like you guys have. I feel that men and women suffer from similar inflictions and addressing one means addressing both, as you have so eloquently done in this article. I appreciate the honest, as I see it, look at a problem and a possible solution. I think this post is a step in the right direction.

    I like that men are not victims in this article. They are seen as the capable adults that they are; they can control themselves and do something in their own lives to help the issue and encourage the women and men in their lives to do the same. There is an absence of bitching and complaining in the article. It’s a level-headed, realistic discussion of an issue.

    Having grown up at the forefront of what felt like the “princess problem” I know it had an effect on me. I think it influenced my views of men as well as myself negatively. I will say, I don’t feel my dad was a reason for this. He always treated me like a normal, genderless person. My mom, on the other hand, did not try to treat me as gender neutral and continues to try to mold me into a “lady” which is annoying. Maybe this is because of the culture in which she was raised, or in which her mom was raised. I know that it had to do with gender roles. This is true. It has to do with both men and women. It’s a cycle that eventually SOMEONE will have to break. Getting dads on board is a GREAT way to help break this cycle. Now, we just have to get some moms on board too.

    There’s a lot that needs changing in our culture in respect to men. Good men need to make an impassioned surge forward to the front of the lines to stamp out all the terrible atrocities that are preventable on their end. There needs to be a movement of greater responsibility. I find it a little bit ironic that men do terrible things in the name of “control” and being “male” when those very acts are sometimes a product of the things men supposedly “cannot” control because it is their “nature”.

    • “find it a lit­tle bit ironic that men do ter­ri­ble things in the name of “con­trol” and being “male”

      Is “being male” an illness?

      Did you know that:

      Felson & Outlaw, 2007 – THE CONTROL MOTIVE FOR MARITAL VIOLENCE

      In general, our results are consistent with those of Stets and Hammond (2002) in showing that wives are more controlling than husbands in their current marriages. We also found that wives are more likely to be jealous and possessive.

  7. There is this book called “Captivating” by John and Stasi Eldredge that talks about a woman’s desire to be beautiful. It doesn’t matter if the girl/woman is 5 or 105. Women have an innate feminine desire to be beautiful. And why shouldn’t we? Men are after all captivated by beauty. It’s not the desiring to be beautiful to a man, or the fact that men like beautiful women that is the problem. It’s that it gets so twisted in current culture that if you don’t conform to a playmate style of beauty, you aren’t considered to be as much as a woman as those unrealistic beauties spread out in a magazine.

    I can only stress what a few other women posters have. It matters how you treat the women in your family just as much as how you treat the women not in your family. The young girls in your life will take this in. Girls and young women are deeply sensitive to have men treat them and precevie them. If an older male figure is oggling the cheerleaders on tv, or making comments about a female celebrity, a girl will NEVER forget this. Women just don’t forget these kind of things. They stay with us. I remember being a young teenager going out to dinner with my family and noticing for the first time how my own father flirted with a 20ish year old waitress. He thought he was cute. My mom didn’t make a big deal about it. But it was the first time I felt unsure of my father and it was the first time I questioned my respect for him. Here he was out with his family and indulging a mild flirtation with a young woman infront of his wife and kids. After that, I was 10 times more aware of how he reacted to other women. And since I was still learning about men at that age, I took it all in. You can’t expect respect for your daughters, gfs, wives and sisters if you as a man can’t give it to other men’s daughters, gfs, wives or sisters. This is a great article and I can’t stress enough that what men do matters. How they treat women matters.

    Of course, how mothers treat themselves also matters. But that’s another topic. In this article, we are focusing on what men can do to be better leaders for the women and girls that love them and look up to them.

    • Fathers don’t buy Cosmo or drag their daughers to beauty pageants.

      • True and all the more reason to tell their daughters that beauty doesn’t last and is only skin deep in the first place.

      • I love how you’re always blaming women for everything. Men aren’t at fault for everything, either, but how about you objectively look at males and consider what this article is saying. The Good Men Project is not about women: it’s about men and everything about them–their flaws, triumphs, anything and everything.

        But men and women are, to some extent, at fault for this culture. I mean, this article has truth to it. A friend of mine has a dad who looks at barely legal porn magazines, and he’s A LOT older than those 18 year olds in the magazines. She has a very warped opinion of him because of this. Luckily, she doesn’t buy into the princess culture, but she also doesn’t have a healthy view of men either because of this. Her mother had nothing to do with it. In fact, her mom might not even know her own husband looks at barely legal porn.

        So don’t completely blame women for this culture. Just because you see those god awful pageants on television with overbearing mothers doesn’t mean women are all at fault for this culture. The media sensationalizes what it wants to sensationalize.

        • “I love how you’re always blaming women for everything. ‘

          Everything? Everything? Would you liken to calm down, get a grip, and talk about the matter at hand?

          1) Women’s vanity is women’s fault. End of. Mothers who model this kind of behavior are passing it along to thier daughters. Mothers who value theri own looks above thier abilty to bring home a salary, to excel academically, to create art, to work with people and bring them togeher – all those actual, concrete achievements – are modeling this kind of princess culture to thier daughters.

          2) Mothers passing it along to their daughters are committing a form of child abuse.

          3) Fathers who tolerate or enable the princess culture are committing a form of child abuse. They may very well be doing it against their wives’ wishes, who may have completely diffenrent and much healthier values. and also where fathers see this princess behavior in thier wives, or in society in general, they have a responsibility as parents to their daughters to denounce and ridicule it.

          4) Parents who make looks into a measure of their children’s value as human bings are committing child abuse.

          • Anon. E. Muss says:

            “Women’s vanity is women’s fault” .

            Bullshit. Women want to be beautiful to please men. End of. If there were no men around, we’d be walking around in sweat pants and flannel.

        • “So don’t completely blame women for this culture.”

          Damn straight. There are fathers who basically do this over their wives dead bodies.

    • In as much as most will not like this comment, the constant representation of men in the media as violent, rapists, misogynist, woman haters, sexual predators, abusive, pedophiles and incestuous perpetrators, patriarchal oppressors . Really doesn’t leave much of a relationship with daughters. Anyone who thinks daughters aren’t seeing this constant message in the media is just clueless. Daughters are sexualized at a younger age, I believe because they are searching out a bond with a male. I think these messages in the media alienate young girls from men and particularly their fathers. I don’t think there are very many women out there of any age that have a particularly good relationship with their father. I see very very few in my life. The conversation about the father daughter relationship and those bonds for the most part don’t even exist. Just look through this thread. I think most fathers are afraid to even have a relationship with their daughters. Accusations unfortunately can be quick and final.

      • Are you kidding? There are hordes of women and girls who have great relationships with their fathers. The plain fact is that the horrid tropes you mention have resilience only in a few places: women’s studies departments, the feminist blogosphere, the occasional editorial. Rush Limbaugh has made a mountain out of a molehill. Don’t buy into it. Most women who read a post by Amanda Marcotte think she needs professional help.

        • @Catullus
          I have a 30 year old daughter, the strife began when her school starting sending home “street Smart” materials. The message was as mentioned in the previous comment. I sat in the living room one day overhearing my 9 year old daughter asking her mother if she thought I would rape her, while she was showing her mother this literature. Once that’s in your child’s mind and yours, there’s no going back. 21 years later, I don’t even speak to my daughter, haven’t for 5 years. I can’t even see my grandchildren, one of them I have never seen. They are indoctrinated right in primary school. Partners I have married were the same, didn’t like their fathers, didn’t want them around. I see it all the time.

          • Forgive me if I aver that I find your anecdote rather fishy and remind you that anecdotes are poor indications of wider reality. Any chance I can find some of this material and that it would say men are the problem because they’re men? I look at every scrap of paper my eight-year old receives and haven’t seen that doozy yet.

          • so because your daughter was given materials that inform her about the dangers of the larger world, you feel weird to the point where you cut her out of your life for 5 years? way to punish an innocent child. way to be a great adult. seems to me like YOU don’t want HER around.

  8. This article and the self-serving bigotry is foists on men is ridiculous! First there is a almost world wide cultures wide preference for facial and physical attractiveness, It is based on biological hard wired preference for healthiness. The face has been analyzed by the ancient Greeks and still holds today. This artice is the Political Correctness Ideology that marginalizes males. It is more of the sane about those not endowed with good looks to wish for the adoration of the beautiful and that access in choice of mates.

    • If it’s a culture wide preference, and you say ‘almost,’ then it is not biological. If it were biological, every single culture would have a preference for this. Therefore, it is a culturally conditioned, not biologically conditioned, desire.

    • You feel marginalized because Hugo suggests men shouldn’t objectify women and further the sexualization of our daughters? How do you think women feel?

  9. My cousin is a divorced father of a four year old daughter and a two year old son. The daughter is obsessed with princesses, iCarly (seriously) and other such nonsense. Who do you thinks instills and programs these things into her? Her mother and teenage half-sisters do. It completely disgusts her dad.

    Ever seen one of those toddler beauty pageants? Is it more mothers or fathers entering their daughters into these pageants?

    Anyone who thinks it is primarily men sexualizing young children obviously isn’t living in the real world.

    • Forweg, if you read the whole article you would see that it’s not neccasiarlry evil for little girls to want to dress up like princesses and play. Any girl/women from 5 – 105 wants to be feel beautiful. Because being beautiful = femininity. It’s no different then how ittle boys like to play cops and robbers. It’s how adults handle the play that matters. It’s how men talk about other women that aren’t in their family that also matters.

      The focus of this article is how men affect the little girls in their lives that look up to them through their actions and comments towards other women and girls. While I have no doubt that mothers also do their own amount of contributing to negative beliefs about the importance of a girl’s looks, such as when mothers talk negative about their own bodies or other women’s bodies infront of their daughters, this article is choosing to focus on what men do that contribute to the sexualzation of little girls and how their little girls take in how the men they look up to treat and talk about women. And if you are honest, you should be able to admit that both men and women play their role. The focus on this article talking about the male side of it is no way insinutate that women don’t also play their part too. But to just highlight how men can be more aware of their own actions concerning the women and girls in their lives they care for.

      • This an important distinction. It’s fine as long as it’s for fun. It’s not fine if becomes a serous matter, a measure of anyone’s worth. It’s the same with success at sports, which is the equivalent trap spread before boys feet, and about as much expected.

        • True Jim. So how do we give girls the message that their looks are not the measure of their worth? In an age where there are probably more hyper-sexualized images of perfect women floating around then ever before. And where more men do tune into those images and lust/admire them? If you don’t want the little girls in your life to be sex objects, then you can’t treat other attractive women as sex objects.

          • “So how do we give girls the message that their looks are not the measure of their worth?”

            Yeah. There’s always the Amy Chua approach. Just kidding.

    • Danny Friendly says:

      thank you for posting I am single no children I am afraid what woman what society expects
      of children

  10. I completely agree with the statements of this article. It is extremely important to ensure that men treat the young women in their lives as whole people with a wide range of strengths.

    But the article is also disingenous.

    Ending “Princess Culture” means major changes by both men and women. Anyone who has ever seen a “Junior Miss Beauty Pageant” can tell immediately that it is not run by, or for, men.

    If we seek a truly equal society, then we need to have equality in discourse. Within their writings, feminists rarely ever hold back messages to men about how subsets of men should modify their behavior. Why then, should the Good Men Project not point out how our society would benefit if a subset of women (those engaged in the beauty pageant industry) modify their behavior? When a group chooses to silence itself, we all suffer from their lack of input.

    Just as feminists call on men to play a leading role in ending rape culture and street harrassment, why shouldn’t “Good Men” call on women to play a leading role in ending “Princess Culture”? Men no doubt have a supporting role to play (enunciated well by Hugo in the above article) but why no call for female leadership on this issue?

    • Good men don’t need to call on women to play a leading role in ending princess culture because they are already involved. They just tend to talk about it on women’s sites. And as this is a men’s site, talking about men’s roles and men’s issues, a conversation about the sexualization of young women in men’s lives is going to talk about how men can stop perpetuating the objectification of women.

      • I understand the point you are making, but from scanning the other comments, it doesn’t seem to be getting through.

        At present we have two types of pro-equality media. Sites like this one, Hugo Schwyzer’s blog, etc., which are run primarily by men and have a large number of men that participate.

        The other group is mostly run by female feminists and participation is based around women.

        The sites run by feminists (Jezebel or Feministe, just off the top of my head), do not hesitate or pull punches when it comes to calling upon men to change their behavior. In many instances, this gives them credibility with their readers (and rightfully so).

        Meanwhile, looking at some of the posts here, it’s clear that Hugo’s article is not capturing credibility, in large part because it only focuses on men. While society will unquestionably gain if men change their behavior with regard to princess culture, this point is lost on readers who cannot get past the part about focusing only on men.

        If, instead, a page was taken from the playbook of feminist websites, and Hugo called upon women while also giving advice to men, it might go a long way towards bridging the credibility gap.

        • I don’t mean to nitpick this point, but feminist sites do not talk about what men need to do vs what women need to do because they are often talking about patriarchy, a social system, and institutionalized sexism, not men specifically. What they do do is talk about female EXPERIENCES, in the same way this blog is about men’s experiences.

          Yes, sometimes feminist spaces often talk about experiences WITH men in say cases of rape or sexual assault or relationships. But the sexualization of young women is a social problem that has to do with patriarchy, and just as men’s experiences often dilute women’s only spaces, so does female experiences in a men’s only space. It has nothing to add here.

          • Respectfully, I think you are at best making a point about semantics.

            Several other commenters have already cited Jezebel as a feminist space they regularly visit. Doing a quick google search, I was able to find this editorial comment (it was the first one that popped up on google):

            “As Martin says, men need to acknowledge their privilege and work around it, rather than being obsessed with it.” (from this piece: http://jezebel.com/#!5401332/do-young-men-need-a-new-kind-of-masculinity )

            This is unquestionably a call for men to alter their behavior in a given way, indeed a fundamental way as it calls for altering a worldview. Looking at the comments sections of various Jezebel pieces (and especially many comments promoted to their Comment-of-The-Day threads) the editorial staff also often promotes comments calling on men to alter their behavior, even if calls appear in editorial pieces less often.

            As a result, it is clear that in at least one popular feminist space, it is considered perfectly acceptable to call on men to alter their behavior, and it is a source of credibility in that space.

            Why then could calling on women in some manner not provide an equal source of credibility to male readers in this space?

      • Have you ever stopped to consider the term “good” men objectifies men?
        To be clear, anyone who would reference me in that way has no credibility in my eyes. To me they are already engaged in a one sided perception. To begin with this term is insulting to some men. I find the insult comes from those willing to use it as a shaming tactic. I have determined to never be a “good” man, simply because I have no desire to be marginalized by thoughtless shallow and superficial people. But hey that’s me!

        “perpetuating the objectification of women.” could you give some examples of this so I can relate to what your referring to. Its a popularized phrase that doesn’t hold much distinction for me.

  11. I havent read everything and I am not going to but I hope to hell and back that this is not saying that just because I tell my 4 yo daughter that she is pretty that is going to make her feel some kind of way in the future? I hope I am reading this wrong. I

    • If the only compliment she ever hears from you is that she’s pretty, yes that is going to make her feel “some kind of way in the future”. Because logically when person A only ever compliments one thing about you one concludes that person A cares most about this one thing and that’s what he values about you. That’s just reasonable.

      But assuming you compliment a lot of things about her then no no one is arguing or dreams of arguing that there’s anything wrong with telling your daughter she’s pretty.

    • If a four year old has no sexual identity why genderise them. I was very rough and tumble with my daughter, I still have the scars. She loved it. When my son was five we we’re in sears in the cosmetic section. He wanted the girl to put makeup on him, she did. It was hilarious, he walked around acting like a girl and I gave him pointers.

  12. Telling me daughter she is a Princess at the age of 4 doesnt mean she is going to grow up to be a sexual diva. Why do so many people think that parents cant raise children and teach them lessons as they grow. If a young woman is a stripper now does that mean she sat on peoples laps growing.????

  13. Maxim. Hustler. Playboy. Porn. Spike TV. Action movies. Video games.

    Entirely female driven? Or are you blind to the objectification of women in male media?

  14. Shit, Schwyzer’s writing here now? Well, get ready for a slew of “everything is a man’s fault” articles. Oh and be mindful of the 11th commandment “thou shalt never criticize a female”

    • @Paul

      I agree with your comment.

      ‘Ms. magazine took us under their generous wing, calling the mag “what enlightened masculinity might look like in the 21st century’

      A female CEO?

      Hugo Schwyzer as columnist?

      I doubt very much if this GOOD men PROJECT will offer any useful advice for men in the future.

      This magazine has nothing to do with ‘men’, it is a pro-feminist publication.

      It’s hardly a place where men can talk about openly about their problems.

  15. Joe you know what’s ironic here, you’re the only person here that reduced women to the four-letter word “slut.” In fact, it rolled off your finger tips with ease. In not one of your posts did you refer to men in any sort of name calling fashion. And yet, you think women are the only problem. The things you say about women are just as important as how you treat women.
    Little girls don’t directly need to see Playboy or Maxim to get the idea that their bodies and looks are important. They pick up on the things through media, through the way their fathers and brothers talk about other women. I have season tickets to the NY Jets. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a pro-sports game and when the cheerleaders came on the field, men with their families would say something about the cheerleaders. In front of their wives, little girls or sons. These comments where made light-heartened enough. I don’t think these men were trying to make their wives feel like crap. But they said them and their sons and little girls heard them. And just like little girls will learn the worth of their looks if men keep placing exceptional praise on it, little boys will learn how to treat girls by the comments their father’s make about other women. Men have to be examples to both their daughters and sons. This is NOT to demonize men. It’s only to show you that men are not perfect. And the things they say about women are important. This has nothing to do with the role that women play when it comes to the sexualization of young girls, and yes, women play their part too. Because this article deals with one important aspect. And if you can’t have a honest talk about the things men might do, without feeling threatened, we aren’t going to get very far. If you need to focus on the things women do, to even consider the things men might do, how are we going to get anywhere?
    There are so many hyper-sexualized images of women out there, on billboards, on the tv, in music that is designed to appeal to younger girls with adult sexuality (Brittney Spears anyone?) . You can’t protect your daughters from the media messages they will get. But you can protect your daughters through how you treat and see other women. If you see other women as sex objects, then don’t be surprised if your daughter values herself based on being a sex object. Girls and women are keenly sensitive to how the men in their lives not only treat them, but how the men in their lives treat women outside their family. There is a really common theme with men in how they treat women directly in their family vs. how they treat women that could be possible sexual experiences (pretty much any woman outside teh family that he finds attractive). There is no man that doesn’t want a woman or girl he loves to be treated with respect. And yet? See an image or see a pretty woman walk by and where does the respect go? If you want the women in your family to be treated with respect, then you need to treat women outside your family with respect. You can’t have it both ways. If you want other men to treat the women you care about with respect, then you need to show respect for women outside your family. And referring to women as “sluts” proves something here that is filled with irony.

  16. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    It’s funny. My Jungian therapist, a woman, busted me for NOT paying enough “parasexual” attention to my daughter. She sait it was how men, including fathers, constellated women’s sexuality. Our sexual selves are as valuable as any other part. Part of why feminism is sometimes wrong (and sometimes Victorian) is that it doesn’t want to see this.

    • Sounds to me like you need a different therapist, ‘cuz that just sounds fucking weird (and gross).
      Then again, I’ve always taken Jungian/Freudian stuff with a grain of salt, so…

  17. “Please understand, the fact that the article does not address how women contribute to their own objectification, is in no way to insinuate that women don’t have a role. All it does is point out one piece of the puzzle in regards to men.”

    That’s what i took away from it too, Erin.

  18. Erin:

    “At least I can say that I understand women play their own role. Why is it that you can’t admit that men play theirs as well? We all have responsibility here. And the article focusing on this issue does not diminish the other aspects.”

    Okay, so where are the articles focusing on women’s contributions to the problem? Whenever this comes up there are three culprits: Men, the Media, and the Fashion Industry. All three are, inexplicably, laid at the feet of men, depsite the fact that the Fashion Industry-at least- has basically nothing to do with straight men, at all.

    And even when somebody points the lens at women themselves, it’s always a small subset of women- like the mothers on that Toddlers and Tiaras show. Never women as a whole (like this piece focuses on men as a whole.)

    So frankly, I’m still waiting for women to cop to their part in this. This article is not saying anything men (especially men under thirty) haven’t been hearing our entire lives. “It’s our fault, we’re pigs, anytime a woman has a problem a man is to blame, somewhere” We’ve had it drilled into our heads since the day we were born.

    Women have self-esteem issues? Oh well. Get in line.

  19. Conversations With My Daughter: (for what it’s worth)

    Sarah: Dad there’s a boy at school that I really like, he doesn’t even know that I’m alive. I’m afraid I’ll never have a boyfriend, I feel ugly and unattractive.

    Dad: Sarah, first of all, beauty, attractiveness and ugliness are what you experience, what you feel about what’s outside of you. If you feel this boy is beautiful those are your feelings not his. Seeing beauty takes effort. When someone sees your beauty, you will never know what they see, it’s their experience not yours.

    Sarah: Dad I don’t really understand and it doesn’t help me to get him to notice me.

    Dad: Oh, so your question is how do you get his attention. That’s very easy, Sarah. Why did you come to talk to me?

    Sarah: Cause I know you will tell me.

    Dad: Are you sure I will tell you the truth?

    Sarah: Yes, that’s why I’m asking you.

    Dad: So you trust me?

    Sarah: Yes!

    Dad: So when you trust me, you think what I tell you will help you and not hurt you!

    Sarah: Yes, Dad!

    Dad: Well Sarah, how did I get your attention? Why did you come to me?

    Sarah: Cause you tell me stuff, it’s usually pretty good and I usually feel better after talking to you.

    Dad: Bingo, Sar.

    Sarah: I don’t get it, Dad.

    Dad: Sar, I get your attention because you feel better after talking to me.
    If you want his attention, focus on his feelings and let him feel good.
    People love themselves, Sarah; let them. If you’re lucky they will let you love yourself. If they don’t, find someone who will.

    • Nice conversation

      Though one wonders how you can shorten Sarah to Sar, given how Sarah is short as is.

      I’m Sara, btw.

      I’ve seen Pierre shortened to Peet, Robert to Bob, William to Billy (or Bill), Michel to Mich, Michael to Mike…but I never envisioned someone shortening my name, given how short and easy to pronounce it is.

      Sara
      Sarah
      Sera
      and Schala being the translation-from-Japanese of Sara, in a videogame (l and r problems in translation are common)

      The latter is only harder to write. And the Sara without the h is harder to ‘say’ and have someone write it down correctly…Sara-no-h indeed. People ask for Schala, people assume for Sara.

  20. I Completely disagree with this article. This is the type of thinking that has lead to the pussification of men in the US. If your daughter is 10 and is acting overtly sexual, that is not my fault, it is weak parenting. The fact that men find women to be sexually appealing and the desire women and girls have to be sexy is simply a happy coincidence for men. A woman’s desire to be sexy and appealing has little to do with men, and is completely and wholly driven by 1 thing. A woman’s ego. Women are driven to strange (to men) behavior in adorning themselves with jewelry, make up, and reavealing clothing because they like it and they want to be better than other women or fit in with certain women. If you are a man, walk up to the next hot woman you see and tell her what you think of her. No matter how attractive you are she will most likely get away from you. Women don’t necessarily give a crap about what men think of them. If you want little girls to stop trying to be sexy, then take a look at mom’s and sisters, tv and movie characters and fairytales. Quit being a weak parent and lay down some rules when it comes to inappropriate dress.

    • JMB: “If your daughter is 10 and is acting overtly sexual, that is not my fault, it is weak parenting.”

      JMB, I don’t think the article even hinted that you would be responsible for how a grown woman decides to dress. All it said is that men should take responsibility for how they treat women in relation to the little girls that look up to them. Because those little girls will notice how their brothers, uncles and fathers choose to act and react to women. And that little girl isn’t going to care that the woman dressed sexy or have any concept of adult male sexuality. All she is going to see is how the man she looks up to is treating the woman. And if she sees that daddy likes the sexy girl on tv gyrating around, she is going to want to be like the sexy girl on TV gyrating around.

      The fact that a woman makes the choice to dress sexually does not negate a man’s responsibility for his own actions. A woman dressing sexually doesn’t take away the responsibility to your own actions or reactions. Just as that woman is responsible for how *she* dresses, but is not responsible for your reaction; you are responsible for own set of actions. You’re actions are seperate from what a woman choices to do.

      “The fact that men find women to be sexually appealing and the desire women and girls have to be sexy is simply a happy coincidence for men.”

      Actually it’s a biological one. Men desire beautiful women and women desire to be beautiful. Why? Because both want a mate or to just mate. It’s not a happy coicidence.

      “A woman’s desire to be sexy and appealing has little to do with men, and is completely and wholly driven by 1 thing. A woman’s ego.”

      If you sincerely believe this you understand female sexuality very little.

      The core reason women want to be sexually appealing, and yes sometimes to competitively beat out other women, is to hold the interest of the man she is interested in. Especially because men do infact like variety in women. This is an especially biological one why women are competitive for male attention against other women.

      Women don’t get breast implants or shave themselves for other women. They do these things because men find them attractive.

      “Women are driven to strange (to men) behavior in adorning themselves with jewelry, make up, and revealing clothing because they like it and they want to be better than other women or fit in with certain women.”

      And if you were honest you would admit men like it too, when women take care of their appearance. If women didn’t put on pretty make up, clothes, pluck, shave, wax..etc etc, most men wouldn’t like it. It kind of sounds like you are persecuting women for liking to be beautiful. But maybe I am wrong, perhaps you like women better that don’t wear make up, dress nicely or groom.

      “If you want little girls to stop trying to be sexy, then take a look at mom’s and sisters, tv and movie characters and fairytales. Quit being a weak parent and lay down some rules when it comes to inappropriate dress.”

      Mom and sisters have responsibility to the problem as well. But if men don’t admit and take part in their own responsibilities, women can’t fix the problem on their own. And this article addressed what men can do. There is no need to find that offensive of be defensive about it.

      You aren’t going to beat the desire for girls to like to be pretty or like fairy tales. Just as you arent going to beat out the need for boys to play at being the heros. (IE video games, playing cops nad robbers, sports). LIttle girls need both their mothers and fathers to set good examples and “laying dow some rules” isn’t going to cut it. Men need to lead by example. If you don’t want your daughters to be sex objects, then don’t treat other women like sex objects.

      • Just a thought…..

        “women put on pretty make up, clothes, pluck, shave, wax..etc etc,all the plucking,”

        did you ever consider that all that effort is to look young? that in fact older women are competing with younger women for male attention. When you compete you also create competitors. I happen to be a man that does not like makeup of any kind. But that’s me.

        It’s about emulating youth and youth are competing also.

        • It’s a combination of factors, and youth plays its part. But it’s also about current trends, what we’ve been sold is attractive via what men like. Some is just based on biology and some trends are based on what media has sold us.

          Pubic hair is a sign that a woman was sexually mature. It only became popular for women to shave their public hair when it was shown in porn. If it was all about youth, then the desire for shaven public hair would be to take away anything that signals sexual maturity and I don’t think that’s the case. I don’t think the popularity of smooth bits is due to wanting a pre-puberty look so much as it is letting media dictate what has become attractive.

          Either way, women like to feel beautiful. This isn’t a bad or evil thing.

  21. I lost respect for anything you have to say after you attempted to manipulate my comments into apologies for child abusers. And why? All because I regconize that both women and men hold responsibility where your main goal seems to be about blaming women specifically. Talking about male accountability does not negate female accountability. It only helps to address one aspect of the bigger picture.

    Above you wrote that I need to do more then site sources. Such as what? Pull rabbits out of my computer screen? You haven’t sited one singular source that could stand by your comments. Please feel free to provide some actual data instead of just commentary.

    Below you said:
    “I wonder if asking men to stop noticing and having hormonal responses when they see a woman flashing mating and fertility symbols just a reversal of and mental version of hijab….”

    Not once in this article did it ask men to stop noticing or having hormonal response to women. What it did ask is that men be aware of how their treatment and response to other women WILL affect the little girls that look up to them. You as a man hold a wonderful and special responsibility to your daughter to show her what a healthy relationship with a man is like.If you don’t want her to be treated like a sex object, then you can’t treat other women like a sex object. It’s just that simple.

    It doesn’t matter how these other women choose to dress, overtly sexual or not. You as a man are responsible for your actions alone. And your little girl will only see how daddy treats and reacts to other women. So if you want your “hormones” to be a bigger priority over your little girl, then continue to blame women that dress sexually and defending your hormones as a good enough reason to behave a certain way.

    Further, if you are a man that appreciates a beautiful woman, you should not berate or stifle your daughters because she might want to play dress up or look pretty. Don’t teach her to be ashamed of herself and her body anymore then to teach her that she needs validation from men through her looks. It’s a fine balance. If you only ever let her wear “practical” clothes, you stiffle something intrinsically feminine and wonderful. Something you yourself enjoy in other women. Unless you are more turned on by a woman in a practical flannel shirts and work boots than a beautiful and impracticable dress and heels.

    Below you say:

    “I wonder if asking men to stop noticing and having hormonal responses when they see a woman flashing mating and fertility symbols just a reversal of and mental version of hijab….”

    So it’s okay for you as a man to have a hormonal response and hold no responsibility for that response but how dare women to have the very feminine and hormonal response to look beautiful? You’re bent on blaming women for your lack of responsibility to your own sexuality and making them soley responsible for something you should be accountable for instead.

    “Men like Hugo perpetuate this stuff by refusing to acknowledge female culpability.”

    He’s taken one part of the picture and highlighted it. You’ve refused to acknowledge male culpability and have even gone as far has to defend a man’s hormonal response to an attractive woman, taking away any kind of responsibility you should have for your actions, hormonal or not, all the while critizing women for their own hormonal reactions.

    • I’m here to tell you from first-hand experience that it made a difference when I resolved to keep the masturbation and massage-parlor trips confined to those days when my daughter is with her mother. Now, if only I could get her mother to see how unhealthy it is for the kid when she moves in with a man six months after she meets him.

  22. FOR PETE"S SAKE! says:

    Why are the men on here always running to say…. BUTWOMENSHOULDDOTHISWEHAVENOCONTROL…

    Dude, STOP… just stop… This site is for men. An article on here is geared and directed towards men…

    Its not going to have an article directed towards women or telling women what to do to end this culture b/c this site is for MEN.

    Why can’t you just appreciate this article for what it is… a guide for fathers, uncles, brothers, etc. on how to end the princess treatment and give girls healthy self esteem so later in life they don’t have mental daddy issues, etc.

    • FOR PETE"S SAKE! says:

      Um, Hugo is the name of the author… not a woman. Could be one, but I don’t know many ladies with the name ‘Hugo.’ Look at the author again, ok.

      Secondly, all of your responses show a total disregard to take any ***responsibility*** for anything. Who cares about what women are doing? You have no control of it. You only can control what you are doing. You seem to either 1.) Be a forum troll or 2.) Be one of those jaded anti-feminist screed woman-haters.

      You’re the one labeling this feminist. If you put it that anything men do to help women is feminist… well… what is the alternative? A world where men do nothing but try to tear women down. That is fucked up, man, Just sayin’.

      The point I was making is… As an uncle… or a father… or a male figure… I don’t want to do something that is going to psychologically damage young girls so that later down the road we wonder why things are so raunchy yet unsatisfying and gender conflict continues. What I took from the article is… we have a tendency to compartmentalize the women in our lives… into two groups: women who are related to us hence (pure and needing to be protected) and outside women (sexualized usually, if they are attractive to us). How we behave when we see these ‘other’ women affects those women we are related to. Get it?

      Take relating to boys… as an example… if all I do is encourage sports in the young boys and not allow them to express emotions or have interest in non-traditionally ‘masculine’ things we will just have ‘another generation of men who suppress all their emotions and feel confined or badgered by society’s expectations. The same dynamic happens for women… if they are told they are only worth their sex… growing up… why wonder why they grow up with major hangups.

    • FOR PETE"S SAKE! says:

      Why are you so fixated on feminists?
      Re: women control everything… I disagree.
      Most advertising execs are men… directors… producers… Hollywood etc. All men. Most top CEOs, most top companies run by men… even women’s product company are almost all run by men. On the government side… men control most everything there too… Way more than half of Congress and every single President.
      Where do you get this idea women control everything? You sound really paranoid. You sound threatened by women. I am not threatened by women. I am not threatened by feminism. My masculinity has not taken a blow because women have advanced. I am the only person who can make me feel emasculated.
      You have serious issues with feminism… that much is obvs. But you are in denial if you think everything is controlled by women. Women don’t make as much money as men do on average… they are mostly in jobs that pay less ie. teachers, social workers, etc. The reason they come up as big consumers is because they do most of the purchasing of things in the house that are needed on a daily basis… like groceries/cleaning products/childcare stuff. You don’t buy a lawnmower every day but many men who are married give wife the checkbook or credit card to go buy them food.
      I get it… I am pissed off by men being portrayed by the media as idiots and buffoons. Look at all the ads during the superbowl and most sitcom dads. But those people who make those ads and make those sitcoms are other men. Why? Because they know it sells… Why does it sell? Because there are plenty of men who use ignorance or the appearance of it to their advantage. We would have more dignified images of ourselves if we took the time to realize that its other men who are abusing us and laughing all the way to the bank. Directing all your anger at women or feminists is moot. They don’t control the media… nothing will change. Plus, if you take time to figure out what they want, they don’t want idiot men… women respect powerful, masculine, intelligent men… and I am happy to oblige.

      • FOR PETE"S SAKE! says:

        Whatever man, rail on about feminists… how does that make you a better man? Whatevs… obvious troll is obvious.

      • How right you are. And that is why Portugal, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Greece and soon to be the USA are bankcrupt. Because baby needs a new pair of shoes.

    • I didn’t get that impression at all from this article. There was a paper released a few years ago that studied the affect of various types of praise on children’s development (‘The Inverse Power of Praise – http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/); similarly this article cautions about unintentional messages that can be sent when you tell your little girl she’s cute.

      It’s not a problem if you tell your daughter she’s your princess. The author is just observing/speculating that a culture that tells every girl that the way she knows people like her is by telling her she’s cute may cause some identity problems when she’s becoming a young woman. My daughter is a tremendous fan of princess stories and costumes right now, and along with telling her that she’s very cute in that Snow White dress, we sit down and read stories about princesses who are brave and resourceful and clever.

      I’m not sure what axe you have to grind with this site, but most of the articles here are about things a guy can do to make life better for himself or the people around him. This particular article is a bit heavy-handed, but maybe someone who has a little girl in their life will read this and think about the subtext of the messages they’re sending… praise is powerful stuff, you definitely want to get it right.

      • If it’s all about a girl wanting to be cute and special and how this may carry over in life, why do so many women give up on those cues and head straight for the refrigerator, like a cow to the feed lot, after they have a wedding ring on their fingers? What goes so udderly wrong?

    • True, women will do anything so long as they can say that a man overroad their mind and he is therefore responsible for everything she has done or failed to do. It may come naturally for women to blame men because everywhere they look, from the glasses on their faces, to the high heeled pumps they use to depress the accelerator on their bmw convertible, to the road they race about on, under the streetlights to the store, to the aisles of items they browse, it was all conceived of and invented by and constructed by MEN. So, of course we are to blame for all the benefits and faults…

  23. FOR PETE"S SAKE! says:

    Yet nothing you say has anything to do with men…

    No advice for men… no suggestions… no critique of men…

    It was all about women and how much you loathe them.

    • FOR PETE"S SAKE! says:

      Well answer me… what did you post that said what men should do. It was nothing but whining about women. Nothing. Nada about men.

  24. I refuse to believe that I am the only woman who had a healthy, functional relationship with her father. I am not an anomaly.

    Not once did my dad ever make a comment about my body, my clothes, my appearance or make a sexual reference about another female in front of me. He never ogled cheerleaders when I was around or any of that other crap. If he had porn, it was well hidden, and he didnt ogle my friends either.

    There are several points in this article I’d like to address:

    1) “Thankfully, most men aren’t sexually attracted to prepubescent girls. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t have a very strong response when we see a 6-year-old dressed up as cute as can be.”
    ***This sentence is powerful not for what it says, but for what it implies. The author can be technically correct in saying that he never stated that all men are pedophiles. He doesn’t. He actually, very cleverly pre-negates is impact statement by saying ‘Oh of COURSE not! Of COURSE MOST men aren’t attracted to children!” But then he says men have a strong response to 6 year old girls. Thanks to clever prose the message delivered is: [All] men have a strong [sexual] response to [little girls].
    They don’t.

    2) “For men, complimenting older girls and women for their looks is often sexually charged and likely to get you in trouble. But as fathers, uncles, and others notice, little girls of princess age rarely have the same caution and suspicion about older men as their older sisters. Often transparent in their eagerness for attention and validation, they light up at praise. And no compliment is easier to give than “You’re so pretty.””

    *********But, this is a very different KIND of attention. hearing my dad say to me as a child “you’re adorable” didn’t ever make me feel that I was anything other than a child whose father just told her she was cute…there was no sexual charge to it, I didn’t even know what that was ffs. Sexual attention is different from parental attention. Mothers tell their sons they look handsome all the time and we don’t see thousands of articles bemoaning boys loss of self esteem because they feel their only worth is in their looks…actually, THAT would be an interesting discussion….

    3) “This sexiness has very little to do with sex, and everything to do with the craving for validation and attention. While all children want affirmation, princess culture teaches little girls to get that approval through their looks. Little girls learn quickly what “works” to elicit adoration from mom and dad, as well as from teachers, uncles, aunts, and other adults. Soon—much too soon—they notice that older girls and women get validation for a particular kind of dress, a particular kind of behavior. They watch their fathers’ eyes, they follow their uncles’ gaze. They listen to what these men they love say when they see “hot” young women on television or on the street. And they learn how to be from what they hear and see.”

    *******Getting validation for the right clothes and the right kind of behavior etc is not intrinsicly linked to sex and sexual knowledge, it’s utterly different. The next bit which describes little girls as constantly on the lookout for their fathers wandering eye and desperate pre-occupation with sexual imagery is utter nonsense. If allowed to be, kids will be kids, not sexually obsessed toddlers.

    IME, its the mothers that primarily buy the clothes, room decor and accessories for the daughters; its the mothers who enter the little girls in beauty pageants and put padded bras on 7 year olds….not the fathers. The princess state begins and ends with mom.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if the article were written by a female friend of the person who was supposed to be submitting the article. It is a strange article indeed for a man to have written. Aren’t little girls taking their cues from half naked teenage pop princesses they see on tv?

    • Natasha, I read this and have a completely different sense of his meaning than you do. Men (for the vastly most part) are NOT attracted to little girls, nor is telling a little girl that she is beautiful/adoreable/cute wrong (clearly stated in the article). What IS wrong is that these girls are watching men’s reactions to OLDERgirls/women, and sees that THOSE reactions are sometimes sexual. THIS is what leads to sexualization, because it has been reenforced by constantly complimenting a princess on her looks and not her athletic skill, artistic talent, or intelligence. He states that ALL of these compliments must come into play, and that men should NOT openly leer at 19 yr olds in miniskirts when little girls are watching them. That is all. And there is nothing inherently wrong with his suggestions. A strong response does NOT equal a sexual response. Women like to look at cute children too. Babies, children…they are cute, they make me smile, they make me feel happy…I can feel all of these things in the absense of sex. Sexualized children (I was shopping for my toddler and saw a dress made for a 3 yr old that had ruching at the chest to give the illusion of breasts. THAT is INTOLERABLE. Abercrombie and Fitch is marketing a padded, push-up style bikini for 8 yr olds. The sexualization of our children is coming from so many sources that it completely overwhelms them. He is simply asking that one small part of this, the part men CAN control every day, be examined and hopefully implemented. And, just because my name seems to confuse people, I am female.

  25. FOR PETE”S SAKE: ” I get it… I am pissed off by men being portrayed by the media as idiots and buffoons. Look at all the ads during the superbowl and most sitcom dads. But those people who make those ads and make those sitcoms are other men. Why? Because they know it sells… Why does it sell? Because there are plenty of men who use ignorance or the appearance of it to their advantage. We would have more dignified images of ourselves if we took the time to realize that its other men who are abusing us and laughing all the way to the bank. ”

    This is a really profound point made, about the reason poor images of men sells because there are men who “use ignorance or the appearance of it to their advantage”. I’ve heard too many men say: “men are just dogs”, with a wink wink shrug attitude. Why? Because these men wanted to escape any responsibility they have for the way they act. Men aren’t dogs at all. But it’s easier to say they and live up to a low standard then to set the bar higher.

    FOR PETE”S SAKE!: “Plus, if you take time to figure out what they want, they don’t want idiot men… women respect powerful, masculine, intelligent men… and I am happy to oblige.”

    FOR PETE”S SAKE! I couldn’t agree more, to this and to everything else you’ve said. And as a woman, I doubly appreciate it because you’re a man so it’s nice that you can recognize that it’s an issue both women and men hold responsibility in.

    Women don’t want idiot men at all. We totally want honorable, strong men we can count on and trust. We don’t want the man in the beer commercial that is oggling other women while the shrew wife/gf looks on jealously. We don’t want to be the shrews or the jealous gfs on the sidelines while a man oggles other women or is show doing stupid things. It’s the reason why romance novels in general show men as the heros, show strong male characters that respect and care about the female lead in it. The romance novel industry is obviously heavily dominated by women and the male lead interest is portrayed as solid, heroic, intelligent and caring. And in all honesty, I don’t know one man that wouldn’t rather be seen as solid and heroic vs. womanizing and dominated by his sexual desires.

    • SOme say that there are plenty of gay men in the industry who are responsible for the pathetic portrayals of straight men. I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to see a tire commercial in which a man sits at the curb crying uncontrollably while his 4 year old daughter ties his loose shoe lace, his wife changes the flat and his 12 year old son holds the family’s pet dog while sucking his thumb.

      • scapegoat says:

        right, so it’s the gays now. gays are in charge of football ads. gays are in charge of writing commercials that rip all straight marriages. it must be the gays! if it’s not women, it must be the TERRIFYING HOMOS with their HOMO AGENDA. could never be another man, doing this to you. if you had to consider that reality, it would be…..insane, right???

        or….would it??

  26. I really wish that TLC would stop airing Toddlers & Tiaras. They are in serious denial if they think, sickos aren’t watching that show. It reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from Little Miss Sunshine. The dad is in the audience waiting for Olive to go on stage, and he flips out seeing how they’re sexualizing the other girls in the pagent.

    It’s not cute having your daughter go on stage made up like a 20 year old. If Toddlers and Tiaras show anything, it’s how these girls are pressured to live out their parent’s fantasy. Why is child abuse such a draw for raitings? These girls are being emotionally and possibly sexually abused, and that’s fine by the people at TLC.

    • I have no idea where you got this notion from. I guess this is just a boys club, and women aren’t allowed.

    • Toddlers and Tiaras is one of the most disgusting things on television. I saw it once or twice in it’s first season…just because I wanted to see what everyone in my office was bitching about. Mothers screaming at 4 year olds to “pop [their] ass more” when dancing to J-Lo and screaming at them and shaking them because they were scared to sing in front of people is nothing but abusive. These narcissistic bitches are deluding themselves only when they squawk about how much their daughters “love” the pageants. There were children telling the camera guys that they did it so mommy would love them. How fucked up is that?

  27. You are illogical.

    Feminist hate the mainstream media.

    What evidence do you have that corporate media is self described as feminist? Really, Rupert Murdoch and his ilk are feminist… Not a chance. Not a milli…

    I bet you can’t proffer a single example of a mainstream media king describe himself as feminist.

  28. Yes.

  29. Hello,

    I just wanted to say that sexualization seems to be becoming a very serious issue in our modern-day society with both psychological and physical effects on women and men, but especially on the more impressionable and vulnerable girls and boys.

    I would recommend this video on the topic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU2WzCjTkF4. It is informational and entertaining. It includes relevant modern-day examples of sexualization, and research on the consequences of this trend as well as suggestions on what to do.

    I would also like to say that I am not a parent nor am I a conservative, but I too feel strongly about the subject of sexualization and feel that it is our responsibility, as members of this society, to be active in doing something about this issue on a larger social scale.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Don’t forget that the flipside of the “pretty princess” is the “knight in shining armor.” Men should watch out for the whole princess fantasy because it could put totally unrealistic expectations on that little girl’s relationships with other men in the future. The Princess habit can make life hard for men as well as women.

    I associate the ‘pretty princess’ act with someone who’s dependent, superficial, anti-intellectual, constantly starved for attention, incapable of acting or thinking independently, and looking for a man to be a savior. That’s bad for the little girl but it’s also bad for the men who will come along later. Not to mention that princesses tend to annoy the hell out of other girls and other women!

  31. Actually, this video shows that WOMEN advocate and perpetuate the sexualization of minors.. and women are doing all the talking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plkeKMTDM9g

    • Sandra- there are plenty of creepy women out there.

      • Obviously you have the mental capacity of a carrot stick if you can’t grasp her point.

        • a carrot stick says:

          She said “here is a video that shows women rewarding princess culture.” That shows that women also participate in this structure, as women receive secondary benefits (i.e. benevolent sexism) when they comply with the culture that says women exist to be looked at.

          That video did not say that men are not at all responsible for the objectification of women at all ages. That video did not prove that all, and only, women are responsible for it. Now, do you have less of a mental capacity than I, a carrot stick?

  32. Exactly; how is it that men are responsible for the inappropriate conclusions that little girls draw? If a girl sees her divorced father checking out a store clerk’s cleavage and she draws the conclusion that her forty year old father likes cleavage, what the hell is that to her? If she feels like she can’t cut it cause she doesn’t have the same cleavage at 7 years old, well, maybe she’s got her wires crossed to begin with. Why would she be thinking about competing with a 30 year old clerk for her father’s attention in the first damn place? Children should know there place. They used to say that children should be seen but not heard. Now someone seems to be saying that in her opinion, childrens thoughts should dictate the actions, thoughts and behaviors of adults. The tyrany of the child is upon us all.

    • Omgawd Harry. You concluded the wrong point. It’s not that the little girl is in competition with the clerk. lol It’s that the little girl “learns” from the father gawking at the cleavage that SHE TOO one day will do as the clerk b/c she “learned” that is what a man wants to see. The father should be explaining to the little girl that the clerk should be “showing her goods to her husband at home”, not to ALL OTHER WOMEN’S HUSBANDS. That is teaching the little girl how she should be when she is a grown woman! Does that make sense??? I hope so. (*.~)

  33. Think about the whole deal behind the strory of “The Princess and the Pea”… The prince has a whole kingdom he is in charge of but he takes the time from his busy schedule to stack a dozen mattresses one on top of the other after having placed a single pea between the mattresses at the lowest rung, at the bottom of the heap; and lo, when the young woman whines, snivels and complains that her nights rest was ruined by some monstrous lump, the prince realizes that he has found his princess… a woman who will bitch about any little thing…

    • reading is fundamental says:

      Hey! Have you ever read the story? She has to “prove” she is princess by how sensitive her skin is, because the Prince’s mother does not believe the Princess when she says she is a Princess. Sounds to me like women are, yet again, made to compete to prove their worth.

      http://childhoodreading.com/?p=5

      • I think you just did a really good job of pointing out how misogynistic and reinforcing of divisive stereotypes that story is, as so many fairy tales (and contemporary movies, sitcoms, etc.) can be.

  34. People used to not pay much attention to children, to childrens thoughts, perceptions, attitudes, comments, etc.,. Are we now being told that we should take a 4 year olds mental constructs into consideration before we look at the shapely calves on that hot young mama? Usually, when someone tries to use morality on me it comes out of their sheer hypocrisy.

    • indeed. why should the feelings or development or brain of anyone else in the world get in the way of Harry getting his rocks off? nothing is more important than Harry and his need to constantly eye-molest every female he deems “hot.” certainly we should structure all of our lives around Harry’s constant, all-day need to smear his eyeballs all over every woman who dare leave the house wearing anything other than a full-body parka.

  35. This is the second time I have referred to your article on my site. Love it! We have an issue in Australia with child beauty pageants being introduced (from the US) in June. There are thousands of us protesting about this and we have organised rallies tomorrow, which will occur in each major city on the steps of parliament.

  36. If anyone is to blame for the sexualization of young girls in terms of how they dress, it’s the parent who buys their clothes, the mother not the father.

  37. Thank you, Mr. Schwyzer, for this article. I bitterly wish my dad understood all of this when I was a younger girl. I am 24 now and still struggling with all the ways his behavior has negatively impacted me, both in terms of romantic relationships and my world outlook in general.

    I want all men to understand that behaving in the way Mr. Schwyzer describes above raises strong fears and anxieties in young girls, setting them up for all kinds of problems later in life.

  38. Krishnabrodhi says:

    Here is an pic that speaks to the very thing this article is talking about….

    http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/08/what-disney-teaches-our-boys-girls-warning-cynical/

  39. I am the founder of Princess Free Zone, Inc.–a site that offers an alternative to princess for little girls and a blog that discusses gender and gender stereotyping. I recently did a blog, co-authored with Lori Day, for the Huffington Post which is called, “Calling All Men”: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-day/calling-all-men-join-the-_b_926078.html Men need to be part of the solution to stop the sexualization of little girls–for many reasons, but most of all because we are all part of the human race. This is not about women vs. man–it’s about people helping each other. I applaud Hugo for understanding the complexities of this issue and hope that others will join the fight.

    • Men help by calling women out of their slutty behavior instead of passively letting them act a fool pretending they can do no wrong. Men being men and speaking their mind instead of cowering for fear of appearing “too strong” is how do a better job of raising our daughters. Simple things like telling her to go upstairs and change her clothes or telling mom “my daughter is not wearing that outside this house”.

      The sexualization of little girls took place on feminist watch because their main concern was women being able to do whatever they want in this sphere without being judged. Well, that did not work out too well. I think in the absence of judgment women stopped knowing up from down and many went way too far for no good reason. Young people copied the behavior and now we have this madness. Women don’t need to remove gender stereotypes they need to stop acting slutty. It’s not cute it’s not good, and it’s hurting both sexes.

  40. Mr Schwyzer, please go back to teaching you women’s studies you have noting to offer men or masculinity. Women are responsible for the way they portray themselves, and it’s is mothers who are abusing children in this way. It is women who want the right to portray themselves as sluts. You go girl do as you please. Yes men will look at women who want to flaunt there sexuality, its a power trip for women. So what? Women should then accept the responsibility and consequences and stop blaming men for their denigrating behaviour.

  41. Transhuman says:

    I would think providing young girls with genuine praise, rather than the Princess fallacy, would help them grow as people. In this age of equality why would girls be treated differently to boys?

    • I seems to me that this question ignores the central issue just to make this question viable.
      Sex is about reproduction, not recreation. For millions of years Males have been Conditioned to find the females desirable. In the more natural world any human female over 100 pounds is ready to breed. And ALL the Males are programed to find any such female sexually attractive regardless of the males age. Since he was expected to die at a young age any way. Its absurd to try and apply higher thought processes to this issue. its about reproduction. And your “Values” are not applicable.

      • Lady pants says:

        Why do you keep capitalizing the M in male but not the F in female?

      • “And your “Values” are not applicable.” if you are nothing more than a chimp, that’s all you, bud. leave the more intelligent men out of it. though really, it’s more likely just an excuse you like to use to avoid responsibility for yourself. so you CHOOSE to be a lower primate.

  42. Equal Balance says:

    I believe there are some things that both sides do not understand about this subject or that have possibly been forgotten in all the emotional volcano eruptions.

    The first is that there is an equal balance in responsibility between both men and women to raise the future generations. Both men and women, as teenagers or adults, have a large impact on children, no matter their gender.

    Women should be responsible as mothers and as single women by dressing appropriately. Why do we need to show off our bodies? Are we not always saying that our personalities and other important qualities that make us who we are, are the ones we want men to love us and admire and respect us for? How can we have that if we then show off our bodies in immodest ways? What example are we showing our daughters? Why do we need to treat ourselves as sexual objects as well? We don’t want to send off mixed signals.

    Men should be responsible as fathers and as single men by recognizing that yes, humans are designed to be physically attracted to each other in order to reproduce, but also recognize that women are not objects. We are people also. Of course I am not saying that all men think of women as objects, but some do, just as some women treat men like objects. Men who are married should be loyal to their wives and control their biological sexual urges. If you are married, you already have someone to reproduce and create life with. Men who are single need to not be selfish and think of how sexuality pleases themselves and instead think of the consequences their actions will have on society as a whole.

    Men and women have equal responsibilities to raise both boys and girls. There is no need to point the finger, but to accept that both genders are responsible for the outcome of our society.

    The second matter is that there is nothing wrong with being a princess. The problem comes when people think that being a princess only means one thing: being beautiful. Instead we should all think of what really makes a girl a princess (and a boy a prince). A prince or princess is a son or daughter of a king and a queen. If you believe in a god, that means that all humans are princes and princesses, as God is the King.

    The last thing I wish to say is that we, as people with differing opinions and emotions and personalities, will not always agree. But we as people do not need to put others down for trying to do some good in the world. What is wrong with trying to help people and with writing things that uplift people and encourage better behavior? For myself, I say that Mr. Hugo Schwyzer has written a very great article because of his desire to improve society. Thank you.

  43. Right on. Since becoming the father of my Darling (7yo) Daughter, I’ve been uncomfortable with her being complimented only, or primarily, for her cuteness. I have always heard to never date someone who was called princess by her father. Also, I’m not a fan of what Disney represents. So, putting all this together, we’ve avoided the princess thing.

    However, you raise some well articulated points. Thankyou.

    (I’ve reposted this on my FB, Twitter, and Scoop.it feeds)

    • Gwalter, try Miyazaki films. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0594503/ They’re popular and have female heroes and characters of all ages, great dialogue and animation. His characters are not sexualized and the female characters are not trying to get male attention but actually have real tasks at hand.

      I highly recommend Spirited Away, which won an Oscar and is #44 on IMDb’s top 250 films as ranked by voters. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0245429/ Really, all Miyazaki films are wonderful for boys and girls, but Spirited Away was my introduction to him. “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “My Neighbor Totoro” are also amazing films. I’ve bought all three for my eight-year-old cousin and she delights in them. Miyazaki does have a film called “Princess Mononoke”, but it’s for older people and the princess in this case is a warrior living alone in the forest with giant wolves.

      Just a suggestion, if you are looking for animated films just as great or better than Disney in terms of quality, but with strong female characters and non-princess storylines. Disney has introduced them to America by re-animating them so they are not “dubbed” English voiceovers, but in terms of storylines Disney managed to not change anything in terms of dialogue or story, which likely would have tainted the films if you ask me.

    • Thought you might be interested in this page; Gender Neutral Parenting
      http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gender-Neutral-Parenting/302740229762397
      I just posted this article there :)

  44. It seems to me that a lot of female sexuality is based on being desired. True, female sexuality is much more nuanced and dynamic than that, but being desireable is a large part of it. Women may put on revealing clothes to feel “sexy”. Revealing clothes not on a body is not sexy. Revealing clothes are sexy because they are on a person presenting themselves as being desireable in some way. Is this bad? No, it is beautiful, ritualistic, and sexy.

    The other side of this coin is that men often respond to desiring, whether it be because of lots of skin, the chase, etc. Romance and sex are a complex dance. Men are responding to female sexuality as much as they are responding to male sexuality. Is this bad? Of course not, this is life. Repressing male sexuality would therefore undermine female sexuality, and vice-versa.

    We ought to deal with children like they are children. We don’t need to repress grownup urges and behavior in order to raise good kids. Kids are not adults and should not be treated that way. But kids learn to be adults by emulating adults. We need to allow this learning process to occur, but very slowly and gradually as they age.

    • I think it’s troubling when some young women/girls about 15 or so end up with an adult body, wear makeup and clothing the same as adults (makeup makes them look older) and you end up with men seeing an 18+ year old woman whereas she’s really 15. Male sexuality is being triggered by their looks which is pretty normal but some pass for a lot older, I knew plenty of girls that age getting into clubs in this country (which is illegal and the bouncer can get into shit for). Some of these girls/women/whatever the appropriate term is are projecting their sexuality quite heavily in their dress sense, their behavior, they’re trying to grow up too quick. Hell in this country teenage girls are the biggest drinkers of all people and binge drink like crazy. I heard of plenty of underage girls and boys getting with people in their 20’s when I was at school which makes me worry even more.

      How do you deal with that situation? It’s at the point where if you think she is under 25 you should card her yourself before pursuing a relationship, I’ve seen plenty of people get confused at a person’s age when they’re well developed and dressed to the nines. I was even offered alcohol at 14 due to my height n size, I looked like an adult I guess. I’ve seen plenty of guys be attracted to these women thinking they’re 18-20’s and then the horror on their face when they realize their true age. Looks like an adult, acts like an adult, but isn’t an adult.

      What’s worse is that guys are meeting them at venues which are 18+ entry, somehow the minors are getting in and no one’s the wiser. Some go home with the guys and it’s statutory rape meanwhile the guy is under the impression she’s legal and fully able to consent. A case like that has hit the courts in Australia however due to the defendants honest belief she was of legal age the case was dismissed. It’s stuff like that which makes me tell everyone to check the age of who you’re with.

      What do you do when children act like adults and succeed at it? Can parents stop them wearing the clothing, makeup, etc? Can’t lock them in their room due to child abuse laws afaik, I’m not sure how parents can deal with teenagers especially apart from hope their threats of taking privileges away. I think it’s a pretty fucking sad culture we live in with people trying to grow up so quick. Luckily I wasn’t really into drinking so I didn’t go get shitfaced at the pubs/clubs when I was underage, and the new 18+ cards I believe are helping but that doesn’t do much for private parties where there can often be a wide range of ages from 14-25ish.

      • I understand the problem. However, the world is full of problems and we cannot remove all the risk in the world. That is why it is so important for kids to have active and engaged parenting to help them navigate the risky situations. If you have a son or daughter who looks older than they are, they need to be warned about certain situations.

        When adults knowingly prey after kids and teens under 18, it is unconscionable. If an adult accidentally goes after someone who is not of legal age, I say tough shit for them. I’ve never seen a 16 year old who looks 25. I’ve seen 16 year olds who look 20 though. If those are the type of partners that an adult is into, they’d better be careful because that person may be a kid but you are definitely an adult-the burden of responsibility lies on your head. This goes for men and women.

        • I’ve seen plenty of 15 year olds that can easily pass for 20+. The tough part is when 20-25’s go for the “looks 20” but is really 15, I don’t agree that they should be slammed by the law unless they knew he/she was underage. Of course to avoid this just avoid hookup culture, date someone for a while before having sex with them. There’s a big difference between predators and people making a mistake.

  45. Hi Quinnlin, I’m a friend of your mom’s, too. My dtgehaur is also in Girl Scouts. She has changed troops three times. Like you, she loves Scouting and is now in a troop with girls who work together very well. I’m glad you stuck it out and found a troop with nice girls. It would have been easy to quit but you kept on. That is great! i hope you have a great Scouting year,Siobhan Wolf

  46. I have seen alot of girls turn to drugs and alcohol. moltsy because of stress or because they are dealing with something in their life and they just want to get away from it all. Drugs and alcohol are a temperary getaway from reality, and when they come dow from the high or from that mini vacation in their mind, reality hits them even harder and they want to avoid that as much as possible, and thats why we have drug addicts and alcoholics. To them, they dont need friends because when the drugh and alcohol take over and they are in that little world, they have everything they need, friends, family, and a pain killer.

  47. If we thought of the princess as a young Catherine the Great, that is, signficant because she would become a ruler, it wouldn’t matter much. The problem is the assumption that what is most important about her is the ability to attract male gaze.

  48. There is no more effective way to demoralize a young girl than to compliment her solely on the superficial characteristics over which she has no control and ignore those that are actually important such as strength, determination, perseverance, honestly, integrity, kindness, good judgement, compassion, etc.

    Likewise, praise for something someone is rather than what that person does is also demoralizing. “You are so smart!” says nothing about the effort or actions of the person in the same way “You’re so pretty!” does; looking deeper to appreciate the person and their journey takes a little more effort, but praise based on actions and effort will raise a person and encourage them. “You worked so hard and look what you’ve accomplished!” “I knew you could do it!”–these are the kinds of praise are what will inspire and encourage children because they empower them. They tell kids that you see potential in them and that you believe in them.

    • Becareful with praising kids on their achievements so as to avoid the child feeling pressure to keep achieving to be given praise. It can set kids up to feel their worth is in what they do ONLY. If a kid gets lots of praise for doing well on a test but doesn’t do well for the next few years, will they still get praise?

Trackbacks

  1. […] after she had stated: "I would love to hear your views on this one, especially from the dads" Encouraging princess culture in girls Out of the gloom a voice spake unto me. 'Smile and be happy, Things could get worse." So I […]

  2. […] The Good Men Project Magazine: Men and the Sexualization of Young Girls I've been looking for an excuse to link to The Good Men Project, and this seems like a good one. This publication is an attempt to create a "men's magazine" that isn't using the term as a euphemism for a soft-core porn magazine, and I've enjoyed the half dozen articles that I've read in the past year or so. This article addresses the responsibility that we men have to steer girls away from being prematurely sexualized, often in the form of princess culture. (tags: feminism gender) […]

  3. […] Sigh. So what, as a father, do you do? The answer lies in what all three authors – Schwyzer, Combe and Orenstein – seem to get at. You take care of your kids and keep your head on a swivel for crap from the outside world. You don’t let Miley Cyrus or Katy Perry mother your kids. And as a father, don’t you be caught googling pictures of either one of those women or your daughter will think she’s got to look like them in order to get noticed by boys. Source: Good Men Project […]

  4. […] but also on women in general. Moreover this influence starts at a perversely a young age with the princess cult, then Seventeen Magazine, and then finally the mixed messages of Anna Wintour’s fantasy land. […]

  5. Sex says:

    […] have been covering this, too, I’m grateful to say; see below). The article is called “Men, Princess Culture, and the Sexualization of Young Girls” and it references  Peggy Orentstein’s book Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches […]

  6. […] father’s compliments that she’s looking for. Last week, GMPM columnist Hugo Schwyzer wrote about how simple compliments like “you look pretty!” reinforce a pattern that teaches […]

  7. […] a similar topic, I found a great post on GoodMenProject called “Men and the Sexualization of Young Girls“.  With over 1,300 facebook shares so far, lots of us are thinking about this […]

  8. […] Men and the Sexualization of Young Girls – On the “princess problem” and how men are part of the solution from The Good Men Project. […]

  9. […] not that keen on the princess culture. In fact, I deliberately avoid buying anything with princesses on them. Although she has more than […]

  10. […] Hugo Schwyzer for The Good Men Project: Men and the Sexualization of Young Girls […]

  11. […] empowerment groups like 7Wonderlicious and boy advocacy groups like The Achilles Effect recognize. The Good Men Project understands what’s at stake extremely well, and fortunately there really are a lot of good men […]

  12. Extra Reading…

    […]we like to honor other sites on the web, even if they aren’t related to us, by linking to them. Below are some sites worth checking out[…]…

  13. Life says:

    […] lot has already been written on gendered toys and the princess culture (see here and here and here). I always found this culture upsetting, even infuriating, but I also thought I was rather immune […]

  14. […] Men, Princess Culture, and the Sexualization of Young Girls […]

  15. […] Us, The Best LGBT Books of All Time, Are There Good Guys in Porn?, Being a Dude is a Good Thing, Men and the Sexualization of Young Girls, I Used to Stand in Dark Hallways and Say Kiss Me, When Playboy Bunnies Ruled, I Am a Female Nerd […]

  16. […] one isn’t recent but I just read it for the first time and it’s worth a read, Men and the sexualization of young girls – The Good Men […]

  17. […] What I began to notice was that the majority of protesters (in writing) were female, even though I knew that there were many male teachers, fathers and grand-fathers that were equally opposed to this toxic trend. Hence, I decided to do some interviews and research places where men had written in protest regarding child beauty pageants and bring some of these views onto one page. Let me quickly add that there will be a few men that support this pageant culture. However, the only ones I seemed to find were those few stand-out fathers that enter their daughters into pageants themselves in the name of father-daughter bonding. I am not saying that bonding does not occur, but what frightens me are the messages that girls are getting about men’s expectations of them, through their fathers. The Good Men Project mentions this relationship in an article here. […]

  18. […] of them, through their fathers. The Good Men Project mentions this relationship in an article here. The most obvious opposing male voices to begin with are those of psychologists Dr Michael […]

  19. […] including toys for girls to instil passiveness, overt sexuality at younger and younger ages, and a princess identity that teaches her to defer to the prince who will supposedly sweep her off of her feet. I’m not […]

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