Monday, June 23, 2008

M. Gigi Durham's THE LOLITA EFFECT in The Washington Post Book World

In yesterday's Washington Post Book World, Jennifer Ruark reviews The Lolita Effect in a round-up of new parenting books: " I accept Durham's premise that no one is immune from the media's influence, and her book offers dozens of helpful, specific ideas for rendering it less potent. Durham calls for media-literacy education in the K-12 curriculum. She writes wisely that there's no point in trying to force girls to reject the Lolita effect outright. But we can raise questions and present different interpretations of the images that surround us. Elementary schoolgirls, for example, might be asked, Why do you think the girl in this picture is wearing hardly any clothing? Older girls might consider how words and images work together to convey messages. If Cosmopolitan were named Sleazy or Trashy, would we read its cover image differently? We can help children see that the fashion, beauty and fitness industries -- along with the mass media that need their ads -- depend on purveying titillating, unrealistic pictures of what it means to be "hot." As my daughter hurtles toward adolescence, I am grateful for such strategies. It's good to know I can do something more useful than shout "You'll wear that out of the house over my dead body!"

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