Friends star David Schwimmer says girls should be told that they “don’t need to use their bodies to be popular”.
In a rebuke to child sexualisation, Mr Schwimmer has warned that both in the UK and USA “we have this real emphasis on how important it is to look young and sexual, so that’s the message we’re sending our girls”.
And the actor-turned-director also hit out at the music industry, saying: “Look at the biggest pop stars around at the moment: everything they do is about sex.”
The star was speaking to The Sunday Telegraph ahead of the release of a new film he has directed.
The movie focuses on a family coming to terms with their daughter’s rape by an internet paedophile and raises issues of an increasingly sexualised society.
Mr Schwimmer, who is best known for his role as Ross in hit TV show Friends, said: “You need to explain to girls from a young age that they don’t need to use their bodies to be popular”.
He said that girls “can use their minds and their personalities”.
And Mr Schwimmer also commented that “the sexualisation of young kids to sell products has got much worse since I was a teenager”.
Sceptics will say that programmes like Friends have contributed to problems surrounding sexualisation.
In 2008 a study tracked more than 2,000 American teenagers for three years, monitoring their exposure to programmes like Friends and Sex and the City.
They found that sexually active teens whose exposure to the programmes was highest were twice as likely to become pregnant or get someone else pregnant as those who watched them the least.