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Study: Teen Girls Targeted for Sexual Exploitation on TV

New research from the Parents Television Council found that underage female characters on primetime broadcast television are more likely to be presented in sexually exploitative scenes than adult women, and the appearance of underage female characters in a sexually exploitative scene increased the probability that the scene would be presented as humorous.

The study results revealed that out of 238 scripted episodes which aired during the study period, 150 episodes (63 percent) contained sexual content in scenes that were associated with females and 33 percent of the episodes contained sexual content that rose to the level of sexual exploitation.

Among the major findings of the study:

  • Although an adult female character was more likely to have sexualizing dialogue or depictions in their scenes, the likelihood that a scene would include sexual exploitation was higher if the female characters were young adults or younger.
  • The likelihood that a scene would include sexual exploitation was highest when the female characters were underage (23.33 percent).
  • Sexually exploitative topics targeting underage females were more likely to be humorous (42.85 percent) compared to adult women (33.02 percent).
  • Thirty-seven percent of all sexual exploitation observed during the study period was intended to be humorous.
  • Topics that targeted underage girls and were presented as humorous included: Sexual violence (child molestation), sex trafficking, sexual harassment, pornography, and stripping.

Source: Parents Television Council