Deerfield Parent Network presents a program by film maker, speaker and author, Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., “So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Children,” on Thursday, April 17, at 8:00 p.m. at the Deerfield High School Auditorium. In her address, Dr. Kilbourne will explore the role of the media in shaping children’s and teen’s gender identities, sexual attitudes and behaviors. Dr. Kilbourne, described by The Boston Globe as a “superstar lecturer,” is known for her wit and warmth, and her ability to present provocative topics in a way that unites rather than divides, and empowers people to take action in their own and in society’s interest.
According to Dr. Kilbourne, girls are encouraged to objectify themselves and to obsess about their sex appeal and appearance at absurdly young ages, while boys get the message that they should seek sex but avoid intimacy. These messages shape their gender identity, sexual attitudes and behavior, values, and their capacity for love, connection, and healthy relationships well into adulthood. Using many illustrations and examples of these sexual images and messages, this important program will examine the harmful consequences of the sexualization of children and teenagers and suggest some practical strategies for change.
Dr. Kilbourne has produced several award-winning documentaries, most notably, Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women, cited as, “electrifying, changing forever the way we view ads about women” by media reviewers. She has lectured extensively throughout North America and the world, has written or been a source for articles published in media such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today, and has appeared on programs such as The Today Show, 20/20, All Things Considered, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Dr. Kilbourne has a B.A. in English from Wellesley College, and a doctorate in education from Boston University. She has been a senior scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women since 1984. In the late 1960s, she began her exploration of the connection between advertising and several public health issues, including violence against women, eating disorders, and addiction, and launched a movement to promote media literacy as a way to prevent these problems. For further information about this program, please visit www.deerfieldparentnetwork.org or www.parentstheantidrug.org.