Children sexualised in advertising

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The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has released a statement calling for the Government to enforce advertising regulations in Australia regarding the sexualisation of children in advertising. The AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton has said that “self-regulation by the advertising industry is clearly not working”.
So why is the medical association getting involved in a marketing and advertising issue? Dr Hambleton explained that “there is strong evidence that premature sexualisation is likely to be detrimental to child health and development, particularly in the areas of body image and sexual health”.

Young teens, particularly young girls, are being targeted with the marketing. An advertisement for Oh! Lola perfume, which references Nabokov’s Lolita, was banned as inappropriate in Britain but allowed in Australia. In another ad, this time for menswear retailer Roger David, a young-looking girl was featured with the word ‘slave’ barcoded on her shoulder and a union-jack disk forcing her mouth open. The image was emailed around to subscribers on the Roger David email list, but was later withdrawn after being deemed ‘inappropriate’.

With social media spreading images which are “disturbing and sexually exploitative” much further than was possible a few years ago Dr Hambleton fears that the “various health problems with kids [such as] eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression” associated with exploitative advertising and marketing will continue to rise.

More information
Read the official AMA statement on the sexualisation of children in advertising
Read The Age article AMA calls for action on ads sexualising children

Have your say
Are you as horrified as Rachel by this issue? Or is her point of view completely over the top? Read Rachel’s blog post Let children be children and have your say in the comments. 

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Total Comments: 7
  1. 0

    This is a frightening aspect of early childhood. It starts with the Mother having a very distorted image.
    Years ago when a young girl was married she dressed in a beautiful wedding dress showing the world that she was ‘wholesome’ these days the brides want to show everything to the world, they have their bosoms falling out and the back is uncovered etc., it seems they want everybody to know that they are ‘sexy’… look at the way the women dress when they go to these presentations, they have to out-do the other women by having the most revealing outfit on, so what comes later with their children, they push this business of their daughters also being sexy, no matter what age. It is so sad that they forget that these children are still only babies and have a very long way to go in life, hurdles to overcome without this early intervention of being dressed far about their age or needing to make the sick perverts look at them. The men stand by with stupid looks on their faces saying “Look at me, I have the most sexiest women with me”… it is so sad. Nobody stops to say, “Look at me, I am with the most intelligent woman tonight!”
    It has to start at the home with the Mother or Father because they are the people that the advertising is being sold on. Yes the advertisers need to stop using children in such a way, but then The Parents give their permission for these adverts with their children in them to be shown… again it is power and money. Very little thought for the children.

    • 0

      Yes definitely, parents are there to teach and guide their children, but plenty of them are doing a dreadful job!

    • 0

      And those brides! Can’t they think of a different (and more appropriate) gown for their wedding these days? Or how about scaling it down to family and close friends and saving $30,000? (The average Australian wedding costs $36,000 – ABS). Where is the common sense…

  2. 0

    It is not about being feminine anymore. It is about being sexy . . . attracting males. The little girls have very little understanding of what is happening, and don’t need that kind of attention. The mothers should have far more sense, but as I have notice from the TV shows in America the mothers tend to be young overweight, and attractive, and obviously, not very bright.

  3. 0

    The fashion industry also has a lot to answer for. I wish there was a law against dressing up young girls as if they were sixteen.

    And how infantile the self-regulations are! Sex sells, but how about allowing the product to carry its own weight?

    I fully agree that new standards need to be set in dress ethics and most certainly in advertising. I would love to see a positive campaign against drug use as well as using children prematurely as sex idols to sell a product. You should all be thouroughly ashamed of yourselves, all those who profit by this.

    I have seen ads that would promote sexual assault on young children; because they are placed in compromising attitudes and positions it would encourage child sex abuse.
    It’s far too late for many today, but do we want a darker future, of a happier one?

    And it took the AMA a long time to wake up to these issues. Their influence among the power circles of this country can carry a lot of weight, including changes in approaches to psychiatry and psychology. These need to be based on what de people need rather than wat training commands. The ethics are often all wrong: it’s not about behaviour at all, but about their minds and ability to live a happy life.

    Wake up, please, those who can, to help others to wake up too?
    Wake up, wake up, wake up now!

  4. 0

    This is a really important issue that is affecting the wellbeing of girls from their early years. Why are we allowing young girls to be told that they have to be thin, hot and sexy even if they are only six?

    I’m a grandma and work with a community organisation that has been trying to do something about this issue for several years. We have some resources for parents and grandparents trying to counteract the pressures, and for those who’d like to do something about getting them stopped. See
    and we run seminars for parents and carers too.



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