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Press Release

Ahead of U.N. “International Day of the Girl Child,” PTC Releases Research Data Compilation Showing Girls are TV Targets for Violence, Exploitation

Release Date: 10/10/2014

LOS ANGELES (October 9, 2014) – The Parents Television Council has released a new report, a compilation of three separate studies it had conducted addressing sexualization, violence, and sexual exploitation of females on primetime broadcast television, as a contribution to the United Nations’ “International Day of the Girl Child” on October 11.

(Read Report)

The U.N. designated this day to raise awareness about all issues concerning gender inequality around the world, and this year’s focus is ending the cycle of violence against girls.

“While the nation contemplates a sickening level of domestic abuse, sexual assault and violence against women, our entertainment culture increasingly chooses to trivialize it. Primetime broadcast TV programs are showing teen girls and young women as targets of violence and sexual exploitation far more frequently than in past years, according to our research. Our goal with this research report is to stimulate the dialogue, increase awareness of the U.N.’s effort in behalf of girls, and call for greater accountability for those who produce, distribute and underwrite harmful programming,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“Entertainment consumption has an impact on children. A new study released this week confirms wide support for the idea that TV shows, movies, and video games containing violent content can lead to increased aggression in children.

“With so much national attention on domestic violence, child abuse, rape, and exploitation, and with October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’s time that we focus on an entertainment culture that is helping to desensitize and trivialize its impact on our society.”

The PTC created a “4 Every Girl Campaign” in order to call attention to and reverse the sexualized and harmful media messages that are having a devastating impact on young women.

Holly Austin Smith was a child trafficking survivor and is now an advocate and author. “I believed my value was based on my sexual appeal to older boys and men, which resulted in sexualization and numerous acts of sexual exploitation. Those girls who are most influenced by the media are also most at risk for sexual exploitation, including sex trafficking. My victimization was in 1992. The messages in today’s media aren’t any better; in fact, they’re worse,” she said.

Former CAA Agent and Founder of FeelMoreBetter.com, Seth Matlins, said, “I've not yet figured out how any one of us, parent, teacher, friend, competes against the pervasive power and cumulative effect of popular culture. It's so easy for any one parent's voice, as we speak to and teach our children, to be overwhelmed and diminished and sometimes silenced by what so many others who outnumber us exponentially say and do. And as often as not, it’s our individual and collective silence, our benign neglect, our inactions as much as our actions, that make us complicit in perpetuating wrongs, and stereotypes and narratives that tear down rather than build up. Every one of these shows has the right to do exactly as they are. So does every one of the show-runners, networks, writers have a responsibility to consider the cumulative side effects of this content.”

“Sadly media makers have not gotten the memo or simply don't care about the impact that sexualizing girls has on our society. Since media is slow to change and/or turns a blind eye, we as parents and educators need to teach our girls and boys how to critically view media,” said Nicole Clark of Clever Girl Workshops on media literacy, body image, self-esteem, who is involved with “4 Every Girl.”

The full PTC report, “The Prevalence and Trivialization of Female Sexualization, Violence and Exploitation in Entertainment,” can be found here.

Excerpts of the data are as follows:

- Violence against women and teenage girls is increasing on television at rates that far exceed the overall increases in violence on television. Violence, irrespective of gender, on television increased during the study period only 2% from 2004 (N=3840) to 2009 (N=3929), while the incidence of violence against women increased 120% during that same period (N=195-429).

- Although an adult female character was more likely to have sexualizing dialogue or depictions in their scenes, the likelihood that a scene would include sexual exploitation was higher if the female characters were young adults or younger.

- The likelihood that a scene would include sexual exploitation was highest when the female characters were underage.

- Topics that targeted underage girls and were presented as jokes included: sexual violence (child molestation), sex trafficking, sexual harassment, pornography and stripping.

The Parents Television Council’s 4 Every Girl Campaign seeks to call attention to and reverse harmful and sexualized media messages that are having a devastating impact on young girls. (http://www.4everygirl.org/)

The Parents Television Council® (www.parentstv.org) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media.

This national grassroots organization has more than 1.4 million members, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children.

The PTC™ also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.

Visit the new PTC Watchdog Blog at www.parentstv.org/blog.

Follow the PTC on Twitter: @ThePTC.
 
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ptcusa.

To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver at (703) 307-9404 or email at kelly@kellyoliverpr.com.