The Parents Television Council took broadcasters
to task specifically, and the culture more generally, for the objectification
and sexualization of teen girls they see in much of today's TV
In a report focused more on raising concerns than
pointing fingers at individual offenders, PTC said its primary worry was
that those images were "sending the message to today's young girls that
their sexuality is their primary identity and most valued commodity."
The study analyzed the top 25 scripted programs
among viewers aged 12-17, according to Nielsen, for the 2009-2010 season, but
only those on primetime broadcast TV, which is what it monitors on a daily
According to PTC, it based its conclusions on 45 episodes of 14
different scripted shows: The Office,
NCIS, Two and a Half Men, The Big
Bang Theory, The Vampire Diaries,
Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Lost,
Family Guy, House, Glee, The Cleveland Show, American Dad and The Simpsons.
PTC found that the presence of underage girls
was "associated with higher amounts of sexual depictions" compared to
adult women. Only one in 20 of those girls "communicated any form of
dislike for being sexualized."
The study also found that in 75% of the cases,
there was no 'S' rating on the show indicating sexual content. Given that,
said PTC "[i]t is unclear how existing parental devices like the
V-Chip can be useful in helping families avoid explicit
sexual content portrayed by underage characters."
PTC said it hoped to ignite a public dialog
that would include parents, content creators, performers, distributors, advertisers,
industry commentators and journalists, and public servants.
TV Watch, the group founded by Fox, NBC and CBS to
promote parental control over governmental control of the media, and advocate
for the ratings/V-chip system, was certainly ignited to respond.
"Parents understand that all programming
is not for all children and, according to polling conducted solely among parents,
take seriously their efforts to ensure their children view what is appropriate
based on their age, taste and values," said TV Watch
Executive Director Jim Dyke. "What is increasingly difficult to take
seriously is a patchwork of studies characterized by vagaries and
omissions, apparently intended to raise money because the group has the word 'Parents' in its name."