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Hello, I am a junior at Arizona State University and I am writing a speech that analyzes the message that peeping tom innerwear sends to young girls. I am wondering if you can point me in the direction of a method of feminist analysis that would help me explain how symbols can be used to sell products to young girls. I will try to make this clear for you... I want to explain how the label of these products (underwear, bras, etc) teaches girls to sexualize themselves in a negative way. How it pushes an anti-feminist view on them which is disguised as a feminist view. How they can be sexy only if they are boy crazy. So again to try to make this clear I need articles, studies etc.. that have looked at this issue and can explain how this happens. I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me.

Thanks so much for your web page! I have added it to my favorites and I plan to become involved as soon as I am settled in at my new school. Please keep in touch as I probably will have more questions for you. Thanks again, Kelly

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM--and sorry to taking so long to respond. I hope by now, you are settled into school. The easy answer to your question is that you are certainly on to something......companies certainly market girl power to girls in only the weakest and most sexualized form. Mostly this comes because as long as you keep girls "sexualized" it keeps them in their feminine role. And, as long as you keep them girls (i.e. baby doll dresses, little barettes, etc...) then you can keep them "weak." So you are right that it is likely to be connected to some anti-woman agenda. And certainly anti-any woman in control of her own sexuality. While, it's fine to choose these things, the problem is when these are the only things to choose from.

In some way, this all relates to "girlie feminism," which is promoted through the zine Bust, which believes that "girl things are good" and therefore we need to reclaim them and hold onto them. However, if this is your only choice....

Anyway, the harder answer to your question is actual sources. Last year, Ann Powers wrote an article for Spin Magazine on a related topic. And there is more serious girl research done by places such as the National Council for Research on Women, which has a very comprehensive resource on the topic of girls, and the American Association of University Women and the Wellesley Center for Research on Women. I hope that helps--and I hope you keep visiting FEMINIST.COM. Good luck.



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