Larissa Dubecki speaks out against the increasing sexualisation of children. Her concern is prompted by such signs of our times as hair removal products aimed at 10 year olds, pole-dancing scenes in G-rated TV shows and a 12-year-old girl being chosen as the “face” of Gold Coast Fashion Week. Larissa calls on the parents to resist this worrying trend:
Encourage them to be children, just for a little while longer. And don’t worry. They’ll have plenty of time to learn to hate themselves when they get older.
Here at Lattenomics we find ourselves in agreement with the thrust of Larissa’s argument. Still, we think it doesn’t goes far enough. Yes, the companies are marketing to children and some parents are too permissive but this is not the main problem. Business marketing and parental attitudes reflect the state of our society. There would be no demand for teen body-waxing products if teens didn’t want to buy them. Similarly, parents would be much bolder in dealing with sexualisation of children if the society supported their efforts.
The current situation didn’t develop overnight, instead it was shaped by popular culture driven by “progressive” ideas of 60’s and 70’s. Despite of its original intent female sexual liberation largely resulted in consequence free sex for men and the idea that slutty behaviour for women is normal. For instance, how many times have we heard this fashionable nugget: “when men sleeps with many women he is a stud, but when woman sleeps with many men she is a slut”… implying that what is good for men should be good for women. Except the consequences for women are always much greater. Not to mention that if women refuse to sleep with many men, men cannot find many women to sleep with. Didn’t that occur to anyone? Men fantasise about sleeping with many women, but if women didn’t do what men want, men would have to either sleep with: a) Mrs. Hand, b) rubber dolly or c) turn gay. Equality could’ve been about men having to reduce their sexual appetites to match women, rather than women increasing theirs to accommodate men, which suits men just fine. But I digress.
Sexual liberation was the darling of progressives in the 60’s and 70’s. It achieved the removal of various sexual taboos. In the bad old days what went on in the bedrooms was a private matter. Now sex is everywhere. Prety much any sexual behaviour no matter how devious is now considered normal or a part of some alternative lifestyle that cannot be criticised for fear of being labelled conservative, prudish, homophobic or George Bush.
While it can be argued that any sexual behaviour is fine amongst consenting adults, children are not half-stupid to be entirely insulated from what goes on in adults’ private lives. They see celebrities involved in public sex scandals and their own mummies dolling up in slutty outfits and getting Brazilian waxes. Why should we be surprised that children strive to emulate this part grown-up behaviour. They try this with everything else from swearing to smoking.
Lattenomics isn’t calling for the return of good old-fashioned values but for a reasoned debate about how our society’s narcissistic obsession with sex is hurting the children. Blaming corporations and parents while avoiding the really big questions only skims the surface of the problem and places responsibility elsewhere.