America The Beautiful 3 is a serious yet surprisingly sweet investigation into the sexualization of our youth and its unfortunate consequences. This is the conversation every parent of teenage kids should be having but aren’t.
While America The Beautiful 1 and 2 dealt with celebrity, body image, and eating disorders, the third installment by writer/director Darryl Roberts explores sexual imagery. Sexual saturation in advertising and its confusing effects on young women, beauty pageants and how creepy they are are both investigated. But most interesting is how pornography viewed by boys as young as 11 and 12 shapes their view and treatment of girls. And it is not good.
While informed and interesting experts discuss the unformed adolescent brain and how it seeks immediate gratification, the most compelling subject in the doc is a teenage boy and confessed “porn addict” whose misguided attitudes contribute to the rape culture. He admits that he is “disrespectful” to girls and looks down on them– because his brain is fried from watching too much porn.
But America The Beautiful 3, The Sexualization of our Youth has a happy ending. The film’s female teenage intern convinces Abercrombie & Fitch that their advertising is exploitative and non- empowering to young girls. And there is a take away here; that awareness and more social sex education from peers and parents can result in boys becoming better men, and treating women with more respect.