How the Lion Groomed the Lamb

The effects of Media on Young Girls


  • Brianne I. Bertram Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta



media, grooming, Disney, popular culture, vampires, anthropology


Growing up in North America, girls are bombarded by messages about how they should behave. This process starts at a young age with little girls watching Disney Princess movies and learning they need to be submissive, quiet, and pretty. As they grow up, contemporary vampire fiction takes the reins and teaches girls that the ideal romance is one where they are isolated, physically weak, victimized, and afraid. In both, their purity is fetishized, and they are expected to give up everything for their male partner. This article explores both ideas throughout the span of an adolescent girl's life and then compares them to a YouTube trend “Am I pretty or ugly?” This trend has young girls who seek validation make videos that ask the internet to judge their appearance for a boost in their self-esteem. Instead, they are met with malicious comments that reinforce the ideas they were taught in the popular culture discussed above. Overall, my findings are that these messages, often created by adult men, are grooming young girls to be submissive housewives who are taught that their value as a woman is tied to a specific concept of purity, and that one’s partner being physically threatening is a sign of love.


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