CM . . . . Volume XV Number 9. . . .December 19, 2008
Sexy Inc. : Our Children Under Influence.
Sophie Bissonnette (Writer & Director). Patricia Bergeron (Producer). Yves Bisaillon (Executive Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2007.
35 min., 27 sec., DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: 153E 9907 332.
Mass Media and teenagers.
Sex in mass media.
Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up.
Review by Frank Loreto.
If the feminist leaders of the 60s could have seen the world presented in Sexy Inc., they would no doubt shake their heads in frustration. According to the world presented in this film, their work has amounted to very little. Sexy Inc. looks at the hypersexualization of young girls in our society and shows how they are being thrown into an adult world with little to no protection or understanding. When being a "Pussy Cat Doll" is deemed as empowering to women, we should be very afraid.
In the past five to six years, young girls have been presented a model that says that they have to be "hot" if they want to be popular. This model of "hotness" comes from the media where girls are seen as objects in videos or as Britney Spears sings, "I'm a slave for you." Fashion "is alarming, as clothing has been eroticized--especially for little girls." While boys can wear oversized t-shirts and baggy pants, young girls are encouraged to wear thongs, tank tops and spaghetti straps. The word "SEXY" or Playboy bunny logos appear on clothes for children. G-strings for eight-year-olds are also available. A "normal" little girl now is to wear big boots, belly shirts and short skirts. She can carry an "I love shopping" purse. Shopping "has replaced religion." According to the film, young
girls can buy padded bras from the Bratz company. The multi-million dollar market Bratz dolls are so popular that the company has included a Baby Bratz line which features sexy looking babies. Children can get lured in even earlier.
The sexualizing of little girls is allowing for the "blurring of sexual lines." Ads featuring grown women sucking on lollipops or dressing like children confuse childhood with sexuality. In one scene in the film, a group of teen girls is asked to choose which ad appears in a teen magazine
and which appears in a porn magazine. The girls are unable to tell which is which.
This film is very disturbing and should be required viewing for parents. That line of defense seems to have failed as parents actually purchase these items for their daughters. Sexy Inc. is a warning cry to parents and society that something bad is happening to children and the world seems not to care.
Due to the language and content in the film, Sexy Inc. is not recommended for children, but it should be required viewing for parents. Parts of the film could be shown in any class, but in its entirety, Sexy Inc. should be used only with mature students. This is a painful film to watch, but the message has to be told. Included with the disk is a Facilitation Guide which provides strategies for using the film in a presentation or discussion. Also included are websites for further exploration.
Frank Loreto is a teacher-librarian at St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School in Brampton, ON.
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