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People may turn a blind eye to it, but if they take a minute and genuinely think about it, girls do have it harder in this world and time of the day. There are a lot of reasons why I say this. I know you might be thinking, “Oh it’s just another girl complaining about how life is too hard for her” but that’s not what I am about to say or tell you, so just bear with me. Of the many issues out there, some include the stereotypical standards of how a girl should look, act, dress or be; the sexualizing of girls from an early age; and how the media causes and contributes to lots of these issues in our society today.In some parts of the world even the birth of a baby girl is a mother’s awful shame. The discrimination starts from even before the girl child is born, and sometimes she is killed as a fetus, or if she is lucky enough to be born, she is killed as an infant. Whereas if you see the birth of a baby boy, it’s celebrated with great joy and love. The teachings start from day one, e.g. “Don’t sit with your legs open”, “Girls shouldn’t speak loudly”, “Girls should be accommodating and emotional” etc. There are so many things that are automatically expected from girls like, “They need to take care of the children, cook and clean the house”, and if they are lucky enough to be allowed to work, then the occupations that they are expected to join are: teachers, nurses, air hostesses etc. Society has also created specific criterias to be considered beautiful. You should have light skin, hourglass figure, caked on makeup, no body hair etc. Society’s standards and expectations for women go on and on and are absolutely endless.Sexualizing of girls starts from a young age itself, because as you may know, what the kids see around them or the way they are brought up is what they will copy or want to be. Images of sexualized children are becoming very common in marketing materials and advertisements. Children aged 12 or under are being dressed, posed and made up in the exact same way as sexy adult models. You might have noticed yourself that children in magazines seem a lot older than they actually are because of the sexualized clothes they are given to wear. “In 2012, an American study found that self-sexualization was common among girls 6-9 years old. Girls overwhelmingly chose the sexualized doll over the non-sexualized doll for their ideal self and as popular”. Not just that, it also depends on the environment they are being raised in, because if girls see their moms/sisters/school peers/or normal public acting, dressing, and presenting themselves in a certain way, that’s what they will think is right and acceptable to be.In this time of day, media is a significant factor of everyone’s lives. Especially now-a-days you will notice kids and teens are constantly on their devices checking social media and following the latest trends. Media contributes massively to many of these previous issues. There are different types of media that includes: TV, movies, magazines, advertisements, online articles, social media, etc. You might have heard of the show “Toddlers and Tiaras” or “Little Miss Perfect”, if not, well they are beauty pageants for little girls varying from 2/3 to 10/11 years old. You can imagine the impact that’s making on the girls lives, where they cake their face with tons of make-up and dress them in tiny skirts, dresses, or bikinis. It’s like sowing the seeds in their mind from such a tender age that this is what’s beautiful and this is what’s not. Other things are, how on social media now-a-days so many young girls post videos and pictures of themselves in sexualized tiny clothes to look “hot” or “sexy” so that they can look cool or fit in with the rest of the crowd and seeing that, others follow in their steps.There are multiple issues regarding the genders and sexuality in our society, but a lot of those are here because we created them ourselves in the first place. We need to remember as individuals that real beauty isn’t about how you look on the outside, it’s about who you are from the inside. That’s what we should be feeding into the minds of the generations to come if we want this world to become a more loving, caring, and acceptable place. It’s our job as individuals to make a change into ourselves first, before pointing at the world and telling it to change. Because, just remember, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.-Japneet K. KohliSocial Justice 12

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