Editor’s Column – Too Sexy, Too Soon

Victoria Cubera

There are days when I wonder if American pop culture is destroying the innocence of childhood. The focus that the media puts on questionable celebrity examples frightens me. The number of impressionable young adults, especially pre-teen and teenage girls, being exposed to the antics of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Ritchie and Britney Spears, is terrifying. The thought of an entire generation of girls growing up with such stellar examples constantly being paraded in front of their eyes through magazines, television and the internet makes me wish there was a limit to the number of celebrity references allowed in a given week. I simply do not approve of the over-sexualization of girls in our country who aren’t even fifteen yet, and I see pop culture icons as a major contributing factor.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not hyper-conservative. If a girl wants to show some skin on a Friday night with a v-neck top or a short skirt, more power to her, assuming she’s old enough to understand that she is purposefully portraying herself in a sexual manner. However, when my twelve-year-old sister wants to buy clothes that would not be out of place in the Jug, I’ve got a problem. She’s not trying to look like a slut, nor is she trying to get picked up by a college guy. She wants to dress in a more provocative manner than what most people would probably associate with sixth graders because all her friends are wearing comparable outfits. In those middle school and high school years, conformity is a social must, and style trends for that age range too often follow what’s being modeled by the likes of Nicole and company.

Overly sexual fashion isn’t the only issue pertaining to the worship of celebrity. The behavior patterns demonstrated are not what I’d recommend as worth replicating. Our sisters, cousins, nieces and daughters are being told it’s okay to be constantly in and out of rehab for drug and alcohol abuse. Incessantly in the limelight, stars maintain superb physiques through careful diets, personal trainers and often some corrective surgery. Young women striving to look just like their role models can use the same routines, or they can employ more dangerous methods. Is it really surprising that eating disorders among young women are on the rise? Even our very own Colgate University, ranked the second fittest college in the nation by Men’s Fitness Magazine, perhaps should question how all these beautiful bodies stay gorgeous. Remember our friends in C.A.E.D.U.? Whether the signs promoting “Colgate Advocates of Eating Disorders Unite” were seriously intentioned or just tasteless jokes, the connection to the current social standard of beauty is obvious. And who is reinforcing the standard of what is found desirable? Pop culture, of course.

I understand that the influence of celebrities on their fan following is unavoidable. But when stars are hitting the clubs in only sexy undergarments and giving paparazzi scandalous photo shoot opportunities, it’s motivation to turn off the news and put on an Audrey Hepburn movie. Bring back the class, Hollywood.