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Posted by / 23-Dec-2016 04:08

What's wrong with a 10-year-old girl dressing up as a French maid for Halloween, in a short skirt with fishnet pantyhose, rather than dressing up as a bunch of grapes as her mother did 25 years ago?The answer is more complex, and more controversial, than you might guess.In my book I start with these and other similar research findings, but I don't stop there, because I think that the sexualization of girlhood exemplified by the Pomona Five has farther-reaching consequences than those noted above. How you identify sexually, and how you express your sexuality, is a key ingredient of who you are. How you balance your inner masculine and your inner feminine is one of your defining attributes as a human being.This is the central idea in an overlooked book by Robert Bly and Marion Woodman entitled Most enduring cultures of which we have any record have protected prepubescent children from adult sexuality.

What's really exciting for some of these teen girls is the possibility of intimacy.

For more on how the culture has changed in just the past 20 years, so that sexualized images of prepubescent girls are now considered normative within the United States, see the Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girlhood.

This report also makes a strong case that the sexualization of girlhood is a big part of the reason why girls today are more likely to be depressed and anxious, and more likely to have eating disorders, compared with girls just 20 years ago.

Most of the media pundits have said something along the lines of "let kids be kids." But that's less persuasive today, in an era where 11-year-old girls have their own Facebook page and 11-year-old boys can, and do, download hardcore porn from the Internet.

Why exactly is it so harmful for prepubescent girls to pretend to be sexual?

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In researching I spoke with girls across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.