• Culture shift - The Research

Culture Shift: The Research

Sexuality is healthy, sexualization is not.

Media influences how people perceive the world. Often, representations of women and men are skewed, playing into polarized social norms that portray women as passive, sexualized beings and men as aggressive, powerful and hypermasculine. Sexualization of women and girls in media is a significant barrier to gender equality. Not only is it linked with increasing mental health issues among young women such as eating disorders and depression, but it also contributes to the societal tolerance of violence against women. Despite these impacts, sexualization occurs in virtually every form of media. The corresponding hypermasculinization of men and boys equally contributes to mental health issues and unhealthy relationships, and can result in the use of violence to solve problems and deal with negative emotions. The YWCA Culture Shift project addresses these issues through research, advocacy and tools for action.

Read the Research

Research Report: Addressing the Sexualization of Women and Girls


Concerned? Here's what you can do:

  1. Educate yourself. Read the Culture Shift Project report or executive summary.
  2. Join our newsletter, follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates on the project.
  3. Shift culture yourself. Ask a question, point out a fact or share a personal experience where sexualization or hypermasculinity affects you. Don't forget the hashtag #ShiftThisCulture.


  • When what I wear to a client meeting still matters more than my presentation #ShiftThisCulture
  • Why do we tell boys that they shouldn't cry? #ShiftThisCulture

How are we shifting this culture?