Female sexuality is not a new thing in movies. But lately, it seems, it’s been brought to a whole new level.
The number of underage girls depicted in films with some nudity has risen by about 32.5 percent since 2007, according to the NY Film Academy.
This increasingly all-too-common scenario plays out in the upcoming movie trailer for “Vampire Academy.” The first scene opens with the main 17-year-old character Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch), who is half human, half-vampire, offer her neck for her best friend’s nourishment.
Fine. A friend feeding another friend is not a big deal. But that scene is immediately followed by an orgasmic reaction. Later in the trailer, the same character shows up partially nude.
And, you might not be surprised to learn that while 26.2 percent of women in general on screen “get partially naked,” only 9.4 percent of males do the same. Also, a third of women in speaking roles wear sexually revealing clothes.
This goes beyond just objectifying women. There’s an obsession with teen girl relationships with a sexual undertone.
Sandie Angulo Chen wrote about this issue on Film.com.
“The movie relationships between adolescent guys, while brotherly, don’t generally veer into the intentionally homoerotic or sexual awakening mode (with the refreshing exception of “Perks of Being a Wallflower” or “Chuck & Buck”) that the movies about girls do.”
This demand isn’t only coming from horny teenage boys. The trend is occurring in movies targeting adult audiences.
In Chen’s same article, she brings up another example. “Ginger & Rosa” released earlier this year is a coming-of-age story for two teen girls during the Cold War in England.
Chen writes the movie depicts a “mysterious intimacy” between the young characters Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Englert), who develop their sexuality throughout the storyline.
It’s forgivable if a movie wants to give an honest portrayal of a character’s life as it would be in the real world. However, this hypersexualization of young girls is so widespread that it’s having a negative impact on society, particularly on girls.
The American Psychological Association reports females of all ages become more self-conscious about their body, become more prone to having eating disorders, develop negative expectations towards sex, and gain a skewed view of femininity from this hypersexualization.
And what are the consequences on other areas of society? The APA report states “Exposure to narrow ideals of female sexual attractiveness may make it difficult for some men to find an “acceptable” partner or to fully enjoy intimacy with a female partner.”
Also, the constant portrayal of hypersexual teenagers in media discourages women from joining the science, tech, engineering and mechanics industries and encourages more sexual harassment and violence against women.
Finally, it creates a standard of beauty that is focuses on youth.
Remember the controversy over French Vogue’s spread featuring a 10-year-old girl looking “grown-up?” You can’t deny there’s a problem here.
Maybe Hollywood should take a cue from movies like “Brave” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen and Disney’s Merida are both heroines concerned with surviving and protecting their loved ones. And they did it all with their clothes on.
Here’s the full infographic by the NY Film Academy: