Have you noticed that your children seem to be growing up too fast? That they are worried about their appearance and more aware of sexual issues at earlier stages? Children and young people are bombarded with hypersexualised messages from media and popular culture. Even small children are worried about their looks and physical appearance, shaped and conditioned at the earliest of ages by a dominant message that tells them they have to be ‘hot’ to be liked and accepted.
The lives of young people are increasingly socialised, conditioned and informed by porn-related content online. They are exposed to this content not only before they have had sex, but often before their first kiss, with 11 years being the average age of first exposure. In this pornified landscape, young people are ‘acting out’ through social media and sexting, putting their bodies on display for attention and judgement. Drawing from current global literature on the subject, Melinda will explore with parents and friends how the proliferation of sexualised images and messages contributes to a distorted view of bodies, relationships and sexuality, hampering their children’s healthy physical, emotional and social development.
How can we address this toxic culture and raise happy, healthy and resilient kids?
Melinda Tankard Reist is an author, speaker, media commentator, blogger and advocate for women and girls. She is best known for her work addressing sexualisation, objectification, harms of pornography, sexual exploitation, trafficking and violence against women.
Melinda is author/editor of five books including Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls (Spinifex Press, 2009), now in its 9th printing, Big Porn Inc: Exposing the harms of the global pornography industry (Spinifex Press, 2011, co-edited with Dr Abigail Bray) and her new release (Spinifex Press, co-edited with Dr Caroline Norma) Prostitution Narratives: Stories of survival in the sex trade.
An opinion writer, Melinda is also a regular on morning television and has appeared on ABC’s Q&A and The Gruen Sessions as well as many other TV and radio programs. Melinda is co-founder of the grassroots campaigning movement, Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation, exposing corporations, advertisers and marketers who objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products and services.
An ambassador for World Vision Australia, Compassion Australia, HagarNZ and the youth mentoring body the Raise Foundation, Melinda is named in the Who’s Who of Australian Women and the World Who’s Who of Women. She has recently been appointed Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Culture and Ethics, Notre Dame University, Sydney.