In 1953, Marilyn Monroe was the icon of female sexuality. At the age of twenty-seven she starred in the monumentally successful film, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” and this was only at the start of her career. Jump to today and Marilyn Monroe supplies a modestly quaint idol for sexuality compared to modern pop culture icons. Sixteen-year-old pop stars in revealing Catholic schoolgirl uniforms are common alongside four year olds traipsing around beauty pageants in bikinis on national television. America’s youth is becoming more sexually active earlier, some as young as six years old. But why?
The third installment of America the Beautiful explores America’s controversial and shameless sexualization of our youth. Theories and observations merely scratch the surface of a culture centered on the objectification of women. Beneath the glossy, perfect images presented in pop culture there are more desperate stakes at hand. Who is at fault for perpetuating such a harmful culture? Is it corporate greed in advertising? Is it the media that projects these images? Could it even be the parents?
Award-winning director Darryl Roberts along with industry experts Jean Kilbourn, Carolyn Costin, Steven Genarro and Gail Dines tackle the complicated answers to these questions, revealing the treacherous effects this has on not just children, but society as a whole. The assault of images portraying the perfect sexy body is inescapable and inappropriate, contributing to a national physical and mental health crisis. According to the American Psychological Association, the impact of this on girls and women of all ages range from eating disorders to low self-esteem and body image insecurities. ATB 3 also looks at how boys, some as young as 11 years old, are now raised in a porn culture making it is difficult for them to conceptualize healthy relationships and sexuality; the dangers of this are abundant and increasing.
America the Beautiful Part 3 not just about the dangers of spray tans and babies in bikinis, it is a look into the impacts of an unquestioned culture and the psyche of society’s most threatening perpetrators who may not consider themselves to be part of the problem.