Lyn Brown and Sharon Lamb determined in their 2006 book Packaging Girlhood that our culture conditions girls early on to behave as sexual objects. But what about boys? In their new book, the researchers take a look at the other side of the playground and find that the “stark commercialization of gender” applied just as strongly: boys are told almost from birth to desire sex as much as girls are taught to personify it, writes Marisa Meltzer for Double X.
Witness onesies printed with slogans like “Playground Pimp.” Scenes from seemingly innocent shows like Disney’s The Suite Life of Zack and Cody have steamy themes just under the surface, while cologne and deodorant marketing encourages boys to be pheremone-exuding sex maniacs. “How,” the researchers ask, “are boys expected to deal with all the messages about being out of control, having body parts that seem disconnected or out of their control, having desire that they are told is boundless?”