On the surface, Jodie Foster, Kirstin Dunst, Lindsay Lohan, Brittany Snow, and Taylor Lautner look like they have it all. Money, fame, fans, exotic trips. In reality, they are innocent children trapped in sexy adult bodies. I don’t understand why young girls in movies are forced to wear make-up and show off their bodies just so they can seem older and more mature. These young actresses and actors are forced to grow up too fast, which causes them to start making decisions that are detrimental to their health and everyone around them. They are children who are forced to act in adult situations. Some can handle it, but most of them can’t. According to the American Psychological Association, oversexualization increases eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression. Here are 5 movies that oversexualize youth in movies:
Jodie Foster played a 12-year-old prostitute in New York named Iris in 1976’s Taxi Driver and she was nominated for an Academy Award. Taxi Driver stars Robert De Niro as a lonely and depressed young man who becomes a taxi driver to fight his chronic insomnia. I remember seeing that movie a long time ago and it was pretty violent. The first time Iris appeared on screen she was being thrown to the ground by her pimp named Matthew “Sport” Higgins. She wore provocative clothing and her face was full of make-up. Instead of looking her age, she looked like she was 18. I just couldn’t believe that they would show this on TV! Travis hired her but instead of having sex with her, he tried to persuade her to stop being a prostitute. I thought that it was pretty admirable of him but she wasn’t going for it. Travis, who was prone to violence and angry outbursts, eventually invades Sport’s brothel and shoots him and his two goons. He ends up having several gunshot wounds. Iris, who is scared for her life, pleads for him to stop killing people. He eventually stops but he tries to shoot himself. Thankfully, he runs out of bullets. When he recovers from his wounds, he receives a letter from Iris’ father thanking him for saving her life and tells him that she has returned to Pittsburgh and is going to school.
The sexiness of her youth didn't stop there. She continued to model as a child and many of her photos show most of her body. When you consider Foster was only fourteen at the time, this all gets a little bit creepy.
Interview with the Vampire
Kirstin Dunst, who is known for playing Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man movies, had her breakthrough role at the age of 10. In 1994, she played a child vampire named Claudia in the romantic horror movie, Interview with the Vampire, starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. In the film, she had her first on-screen kiss with Brad Pitt, who was 19 years older than her. In an interview, she was asked about the kiss and she said it made her very uncomfortable. “I thought it was gross, that Brad had cooties. I mean, I was 10.” Many film critics praised her for her performance. She even won an MTV Breakthrough Award and her first Golden Globe. People praised this kind of behavior. No wonder it hasn’t stopped!
In the movie Mean Girls, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, and Amanda Seyfried portrayed oversexualized teenagers. They wore very short skirts and talked about sexual stuff openly without shame. I didn’t like the fact they turned the innocent, nice girl (Lindsay Lohan) into a mean girl so she could fit in. I also didn’t like she had to treat her friends like they were outcasts and rejects so she could be popular. It makes teenage girls think they have to be cruel and ruthless just to fit in and feel accepted. Lindsey Lohan was only seventeen in the movie, but she and her friends were drinking alcohol and having sex. A scene in particular, when they were all dressed in sexy Santa clothes and singing "Jingle Bell Rock," was just over the top, ridiculous, and inappropriate for teenagers to watch. It just proved that teenage girls are only seen as sex symbols. They were only in high school and grown men were gawking at them. I think teenage girls should be able to see young women in movies who can be looked up to as good role models.
John Tucker Must Die
This movie is about three popular high school girls (Sophia Bush, Arielle Kebbel, and Ashanti) who transform a sweet, nerdy young girl named Kate (Brittany Snow) into a scheming and manipulative girl seeking revenge on a basketball star athlete, John Tucker (Jessie Metcalfe). The funny thing was that John never did anything to Kate. John had cheated on the popular girls. The plan was to trick him into liking Kate and then ultimately crush his heart. Even the movie poster had a girl with a white t-shirt and panties on the front. The whole premise behind the movie is full of revenge, hatred, and cruelty. I like a good teenage angst movie, but I think this movie took it a little too far.
I think the whole movie just represents teenage girls as sexual, mean, and revengeful. The girls go to extreme lengths to get back at John. In a hotel of an away basketball game, Kate wears sexy lingerie to seduce him while video-chatting with John and then convinces him to wear a thong and climb to her room. Unfortunately, instead of her room he ends up in a teacher’s room! He becomes the laughing stock of the school. It also oversexualized John because he was wearing a thong, which emasculated him. The girls also put estrogen pills into his Gatorade bottle during a game and he started acting like a girl who was PMSing. They also made him do a photo shoot and replaced the photos with a Herpes ad. They put that poor boy through hell.
Twilight Saga: New Moon
Taylor Lautner was invisible in the first Twilight movie but then this movie came out. He played Jacob, a normal teenage boy who suddenly became ripped when he became a werewolf. In order to keep the role of Jacob, he had to go through an extensive workout to completely transform his physique. Jacob is in love with the main character, Bella Swan, but she is love with the vampire, Edward. I think he was oversexualized because in almost every scene, he had his shirt off. He was called a sex symbol by People magazine, Rolling Stone, and GQ. The fans and paparazzi grew so overwhelming for him that he had to live with his parents and his younger sister for privacy and anonymity. His sex symbol status came at a price because it has made Taylor Lautner famous for mostly his looks and not his acting skills. In 2010, less movie offers came along after 2011’s Abduction was a flop. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he focused on smaller roles, recently wrapping the indie thriller Run the Tide and the second season of the BBC comedy series Cuckoo. Check him out in Adam Sandler’s Netflix film The Ridiculous Six! I hope he can become more than Jacob, the shirtless guy from Twilight and show us what he is really made of!
Young children and teens in movies should portray characters their age with their innocence and sweetness intact. The audience members who are young and impressionable should be able to look up to actors who are good role models and who act their age. Parents should be able to feel comfortable letting their kids watch movies and shows on TV, but unfortunately that's not in case anymore. I just hope that this article doesn't offend anyone. I just wanted to voice my opinion on some movies that I wish could have cared about how oversexualization would affect the teen audience as well as the actors themselves.