Resources & Discussion Questions
CHILDREN AND THE COMMERCIAL CULTURE
Acuff, D., and R. Reiher. Kidnapped: How Irresponsible Marketers Are Stealing the Minds of Your Children. New York: Kaplan Publishing, 2005.
Andrusiak, T. & Donahoo, D. Adproofing Your Kids: Raising Critical Thinkers in a Media-Saturated World. Sydney, Austrailia: Finch Publishing, 2009.
Brooks, K. Consuming Innocence: Popular Culture and Our Children. Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 2008.
Carlsson-Paige, N. Taking Back Childhood: Helping Your Kids Thrive in a Fast-Paced, Media-Saturated, Violence-Filled World. New York: Hudson Street Press, 2008.
Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood. Northampton, MA: Media Education Foundation. (DVD)
Greenfield, Lauren. Kids and Money. Oley, PA: Bullfrog Films, 2008. (DVD)
Levin, D. E. “Compassion Deficit Disorder? Consuming Culture, Consuming Kids, Objectified Relationships.” In Risking Human Security: Attachment and Public Life, edited by M. Green. London: Karnac Press, 2008.
Levine, M. The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.
Linn, S. Consuming Kids: Protecting Our Children from the Onslaught of Marketing & Advertising. New York: Anchor Books, 2005.
Olfman, S., ed. Childhood Lost: How American Culture Is Failing Our Kids. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2005.
Palmer, S. Toxic Childhood: How the Modern World Is Damaging Our Children and What We Can Do About It. London: Orion Books, 2006.
Quart, A. Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2003.
Ravitch, D., and J. Viteritti, eds. Kid Stuff: Marketing Sex and Violence to America’s Children. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.
Rogers, J. (2009). Kids Under Fire: Seven Simple Steps to Combat the Media Attack on Your Child. Lowell, MA: Adibooks.
Riera, M. Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1995.
Savage, J. Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture. New York: Viking Adult, 2007.
Schor, J. Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture. New York: Scribner, 2005.
Taylor, B. What Kids Really Want That Money Can’t Buy: Tips for Parenting in a Commercial World. New York: Time-Warner Books, 2003.
Thomas, S. Buy, Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007.
Ask the Mediatrician. Dr. Michale Rich, Director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.
Center for a New American Dream. Download a free copy of Tips for Parenting in a Commercial Culture.
Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment. The Toy Action Guide and Media and Young Children Action Guide help parents deal with the needs of young children in the commercial culture.
MEDIA AND MEDIA LITERACY
Brown, Sarah. "Managing the Media Monster: The Influence of Media (From Television to Text Messages) on Teen Sexual Behavior and Attitudes." The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2009.
Cantor, J. “Mommy, I’m Scared”: How TV and Movies Frighten Children and What We Can Do to Protect Them. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1998.
DeGaetano, G. Parenting Well in a Media Age: Keeping Our Kids Human. Fawnskin, CA: Personhood Press, 2004.
Dines, G., and J. M. Humez, eds. Gender, Race and Class in Media: A Text-Reader. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2003.
Goodstein, A. Totally Wired: What Teens and Tweens Are Really Doing Online. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2007.
Kelsey, C. Generation MySpace: Helping Your Teen Survive Online Adolescence. New York: Marlowe & Co., 2007.
Kilbourne, J. Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.
Larson, M. Watch It! What Parents Need to Know to Raise Media Smart Kids. Lake Zurich, IL, 2009.
Levin, D. E. Remote Control Childhood? Combating the Hazards of Media Culture. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1998.
Media Literacy. Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2007 (a series of short books for elementary school students covering movies, music, magazines, television, and online communication).
Rademacher, K. H. Media, Sex and Health: A Community Guide for Professionals and Parents. Chapel Hill, NC: The Women’s Center, 2007.
Seiter, E. The Internet Playground: Children’s Access, Entertainment, and Miseducation. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2005.
POPULAR CULTURE AND GENDER
American Psychological Association Task Force. Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2007.
Attwood, F. (Ed.). Mainstreaming Sex: The Sexualisation of Western Culture. London: IB Tauris.
Berg, B. Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future. Chicago, IL: Lawrence Hill Books, 2009.
Bishop, M. “The Making of a Pre-pubescent Porn Star: Contemporary Fashion for Elementary School Girls.” In Pop Porn, edited by A. C. Hall and M. J. Bishop. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2007.
Brashich, A. All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype . . . and Celebrating Real Beauty. New York: Walker & Co., 2006.
Cohen-Sandler, R. Stressed-out Girls: Helping Them Thrive in the Age of Pressure. New York: Penguin, 2005.
Covington, S. Voices: A Program of Self-Discovery and Empowerment for Girls. Carson City, NV: The Change Companies, 2004.
Dee, C. The Girls’ Guide to Life: Take Charge of Your Personal Life, Your School Time, Your Social Scene, and Much More! Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 2005.
Eliot, L. Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps and What We Can Do About It. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
Generation M: Misogyny in Media and Culture. Northampton, MA: Media Education Foundation. (DVD)
Giananetti, C., and M. Sagarese. Boy Crazy! Keeping Your Daughter’s Feet on the Ground When Her Head Is in the Clouds. New York: Broadway Books, 2006.
Greenfield, L. Thin. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2006.
Gruver, N. How to Say It to Girls: Communicating with Your Growing Daughter. New York: Prentice Hall Press, 2004.
Katz, J. Tough Guise: Media Images and the Crisis in Masculinity, 1999 (a film produced and distributed by the Media Education Foundation).
Kelly, J. Dads and Daughters: How to Inspire, Understand, and Support Your Daughter When She’s Growing Up So Fast. New York: Broadway Books, 2002.
Kelly, J. The Dads & Daughters Togetherness Guide: 54 Fun Activities to Help Build a Great Relationship. NY: Broadway, 2007.
Kilbourne, J. Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising’s Image of Women, 2000 (a film produced and distributed by the Media Education Foundation).
Kindlon, D., and M. Thompson. Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys. New York: Ballantine Books, 2000.
Lamb, S., and L. M. Brown. Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers’ Schemes. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2006.
Levine, J. Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.
Levy, A. Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture. New York: Free Press, 2005.
Mysko, C. Girls Inc. Presents: You’re Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self. Avon, MA: Adams Media Corp., 2008.
Olfman, S., ed. The Sexualization of Childhood. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2008.
Paul, P. Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families. New York: Times Books, 2005.
Pipher, M. Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995.
Pollack, W. Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood. New York: Random House, 1998.
Sexy Inc: Our Children Under the Influence. National Film Board of Canada.
Silver-Stock, C. Secret Girls Keep: What Girls Hide (& Why) and How to Break the Stress of Silence. Deerfield Beach, FL: HCI Teens, 2009.
Steiner-Adair, C., and L. Sjostrom. Full of Ourselves: A Wellness Program to Advance Girl Power, Health, and Leadership. New York: Teachers College Press, 2006.
YWCA. Beauty at Any Cost: The Consequences of America’s Beauty Obsession on Women and Girls. Chicago, IL: Author, August 2008. https://www.ywca.org/atf/cf/%7B3B450FA5-108B-4D2E-B3D0C31487243E6A%7D/Beauty%20at%20Any%20Cost.pdf
Zeckhausen, D. The M.O.D. Squad: A Handbook for Helping Moms Raise Healthy Daughters. Atlanta: Eating Disorders Information Network, 2007.
SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT AND SEX EDUCATION - For Adults
Blaise, M. Playing It Straight: Uncovering Gender Discourses in the Early Childhood Classroom. New York: Routledge, 2005.
Casper, V., and S. Schultz. Gay Parents/Straight Schools: Building Communication and Trust. New York: Teachers College Press, 1999.
Chrisman, K., and D. Couchenour. Healthy Sexuality Development: A Guide for Early Childhood Educators and Families. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children, 2002.
Gordon, S., and J. Gordon. Raising a Child Responsibly in a Sexually Permissive World. Avon, MA: Adams Media Corp., 2000.
Linke, P. Pants Aren’t Rude: Responding to Children’s Sexual Development and Behavior in the Early Childhood Years. Watson, ACT, Australia: Australian Early Childhood Association, 1997.
Madison, A. (2010). Talking Sex with Your Kids: Keeping Them Safe and You Sane—by Knowing What They’re Really Thinking. Avon, MA: Adams Media.
Otis, C. What’s Happening in Our Family: Understanding Sexual Abuse Through Metaphors. Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press, 2002.
The Price of Pleasure: Pornography, Sexuality and Relationships. Northampton, MA: Media Education Foundation. (DVD)
Roffman, D. Sex and Sensibility: The Thinking Parent’s Guide to Talking Sense About Sex. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2001.
———. But How’d I Get in There in the First Place? Talking to Your Young Child About Sex. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2002.
Harris, R. H. It’s So Amazing! A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 1999. (Ages 7 and up.)
———. Happy Birth Day! Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2002. (Ages 3 and up.)
———. It’s Not the Stork! A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2006. (Ages 4 and up.)
SEXUAL DEVELOPMENT AND SEX EDUCATION - For Older Children and Teenagers
Bell, R. Changing Bodies, Changing Lives: A Book for Teens on Sex and Relationships, 3rd ed. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998. (Ages 13 and up.)
Gravelle, K. The Period Book: Everything You Don’t Want to Ask (but Need to Know), updated edition. New York: Walker Books for Young Readers, 2006. (Ages 10 and up.)
Gravelle, K., N. Castro, C. Chava, and R. Leighton. What’s Going on Down There? Answers to Questions Boys Find Hard to Ask. New York: Walker Books for Young Readers, 1998. (Ages 9 and up.)
Harris, R. H. It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, updated ed. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2004. (Ages 10 and up.)
Jukes, M. Growing Up: It’s a Girl Thing: Straight Talk About First Bras, First Periods, and Your Changing Body. New York: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1998. (Ages 8 and up.)
Maxwell, S. The Talk: What Your Kids Need to Hear from You About Sex. New York: Avery, 2008.
Pearson, M. LoveU2: Comprehensive Relationship Education for Teens. Berkeley, CA: The Dibble Fund, 2004.
Tolman, D. Dilemmas of Desire: Teenage Girls Talk About Sexuality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.
Teenwire.com (run by Planned Parenthood)Discussion Questions
Book Group Discussion Questions for
So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids
by Diane E. Levin, Ph.D. and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D.
1. What issues in So Sexy So Soon were most interesting to you? Most relevant? Most disturbing? Most helpful?
2. What is the difference between sexuality and sexualization? Why is this distinction important?
3. What are some examples of the sexualization of children that you noticed before you read the book and since? Why is it a problem?
4. How has the new sexualized childhood affected you and your children? What have you done to try to deal with it? How did it work?
5. How is the world children are growing up in today different from the world you grew up in? If you have grown children, has it changed since you were raising them?
6. What do you think about little girls having makeovers at spas and salons? How does this relate to issues raised in So Sexy So Soon?
7. What did you learn about how the sexualization of boys and girls affects their short and long-term sexual behavior, relationships and self-image?
8. How might the sexualization of children contribute to child sexual abuse?
9. What are some specific ways that the sexualization of childhood affects girls? What are some examples from your life and/or your children's lives? What did you do or can you do to deal with them?
10. What are some ways that the sexualization of childhood affects boys? What are examples from your life and/or your children's lives? What did you do or can you do to deal with them?
11. The authors stress the importance of counteracting narrow gender stereotypes. What do you think about this issue? How can you work on expanding gender roles with boys and girls?
12. What would you say and do if you were the mother in So Sexy So Soon whose 8-year-old child came home from school and asked, "What's a blow job?" What are some appropriate responses? Would your response differ depending on the gender of the child?
13. The authors suggest new ways for children to play with toys, such as sending their dolls on a backyard archeological adventure. What are other ways to help children expand their imagination?
14. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time at all (no television, no computers, no videogames, etc.) for children under the age of two. Why do you think they make this recommendation? Do you agree? Does it seem impossible to you? What do you think parents should do?
15. The authors say that the sexual images in the popular culture are not designed to sell our children on sex --they are designed to sell them on shopping. What are your reactions to this idea? Have you seen it apply to the children you know? In what other ways do you see the commercial culture affect children? Have you found effective ways to deal with it?
16. What do the authors mean by "problem-solving deficit disorder," "age compression," and "compassion deficit disorder”? How have you seen any of these problems affect the children you know? What are some ways to counteract them?
17. Why do the authors feel that "just say no" is not an adequate response to the sexualization of childhood? Do you agree?
18. What do the authors suggest parents can do to shield their children from the commercial culture? What can and should the wider society do to help parents with this job?
19. The authors say that staying connected with your children is one of the most important ways to help your children through the sexualized minefields and counteract the harm being caused. Can you think of examples where you have succeeded at this -- or failed? What ideas do you have about what else you might do?
20. The authors recommend accurate, honest, age-appropriate sex education. What do they mean? What kind of sex education did your children have? How do you feel about it? What kind of sex education would you consider appropriate for a first-grader? A 7th-grader? A high school student?
21. What do the authors mean by "media literacy"?
22. The authors recommend many ways to "turn the world around," to make it a place that better supports the healthy development of children. The last one is "Find meaningful ways to make a difference, ways that work for you and your family." What ideas do you have about how to do this?
23. What are some ways we could work together to create a safer environment for all children?