From Balenciaga to Netflix, PTC Calls on Hollywood and Corporate America to Stop Sexualization of Children

Written by PTC | Published November 29, 2022

LOS ANGELES (November 29, 2022) – The Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) is calling on Hollywood and Corporate America to stop the sexualization of children, in light of the sexually exploitative Balenciaga ad campaign that showed small children holding teddy bears dressed in bondage gear, and has launched a petition to hold these companies accountable.

“Earth to Corporate America: the sexualization of children is never appropriate. Never. Yet Balenciaga’s highly disturbing ad campaign is only the latest of many examples we have seen over the last few years of corporations normalizing, enabling and profiting from the sexualization of children in their products and content. This is wrong and it must end,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

The PTC pointed to several additional examples of recent child sexualization in entertainment:

  • Netflix’s Big Mouth is an animated TV series about middle schoolers going through puberty and depicts 12 and 13-year-old children in sexual situations, sometimes with full frontal nudity, and engaged in sexual dialogue that includes offering sexual favors to their parents.
  • In 2020, the Hasbro Company removed its Poppy Trolls Doll from retail shelves after the public became aware of a button, located under the doll’s skirt in her genital region, which, when pressed, would make the doll gasp and giggle. Despite numerous public calls for them to do so, Hasbro never disclosed the steps, if any, that it took to ensure a product like this will not make it to market again.
  • Disney’s A Teacher centers on a romantic, sexual relationship between a high school teacher and one of her students. The program streams on Disney-owned Hulu.
  • HBO’s Euphoria, a show featuring high school aged characters, normalizes as part of the teenage experience: the graphic rape of a child by an adult, graphic teen sex, and full-frontal nudity of teen characters. One episode fixated on the naked body of a high-school-aged female character as she engaged in various sex acts with another character.
  • Netflix’s Cuties depicts 11-year-old girls performing sexually-charged dance moves. The main character, also 11 years old, was shown attempting to seduce an adult male family member in order to retrieve her cell phone, and photographing her genital area to post on social media. (A Texas County grand jury indicted Netflix for violating state laws governing the marketing and distribution of the sexual performance of a minor.)
  • Netflix has streamed a movie (Desire) showing a 9-year-old girl sexually stimulating herself to an orgasm.
  • Netflix series Sex Education graphically depicts under-age characters engaged in sex acts so lewd that one would normally expect to find it only in X-rated pornography season.

“How hard can it possibly be for publicly-traded corporations in the United States to promise not to sexually exploit children in their businesses? Is it really too controversial to say that you won’t sexually exploit a child for profit? At a time when corporations are falling all over themselves to take popular positions on social issues, how can they possibly ignore a simple pledge to protect a child’s human dignity? We must do everything we humanly can to prevent the sexualization of children from becoming normalized,” Winter said.

“Children are being bombarded 24x7 with messages that sexually objectify them on TV, on social media, and in the culture at large. The consequences are real, and they are increasingly tragic: A research report produced by Thorn found that nearly 1 in 7 children aged 9-12 shared their own nude photos in 2020, almost triple the number from just one year earlier.

“Corporate America and Hollywood must cease the sexualization of children and pledge never again to do so. If #MeToo matters at all, then #OurKidsToo must also matter,” said Winter.

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