Sunday, August 28, 2011

Are adults there to adulterate?

I would certainly think not. But sometimes I can't help but feel that adults are responsible for corrupting that which is innocent. Who else can be held responsible for treating children as if their childhood were a stage to be skipped? A child--unless introduced to grown-up things too early--naturally tends to be child-like. Would a little girl flash a come-hither look or gyrate like a burlesque dancer if she weren't exposed to such concepts in the first place?

So, why are such things happening?

10-year-old girl poses seductively for French Vogue

Little girls gone wild: Why daughters are acting too sexy, too soon

French company blasted for marketing 'sexy' underwear for four-year-olds

I thought it would stop at that pole-dancing kit for kids several years ago that was briefly marketed online before being pulled out due to numerous protests ... or the padded bras for toddlers after that which didn't really take off. But it looks like marketers will stop at nothing if the glare of big bucks becomes too hard to resist!

As for that last item above about "kiddie lingerie," I came across something written by a mom who reacted to it. Here's an excerpt:

Instead of talking about if this is right or wrong, how horrible the sexualization and sexploitation of childhood is, how our daughters are being damaged by messages coming at them so early that their ability to be beautiful and sexy will define their worth and that their not-yet developed sexuality will be a performance for others instead of something innate….

Let’s desconstruct what this is really about, because I heard some absurd things when this was discussed:

2. “Saying that a woman wears pretty undergarments because they expect to be undressed for sex, also bad.” And “not always why I wear it… I would say it’s made to make me feel (when properly fitting, of course) feminine, sensual, attractive, etc”.

What I said, for the record, is that the ‘lingerie is gift wrapping for sex’. There are definitely women who like to wear lingerie for the sake of wearing lingerie, sex or no sex. Fancy bras and panties are a perk to being a grown woman. But I think it is safe to say that the majority of people wearing lingerie, the majority of times they wear it, is to be seductive in the boudoir and to be gazed upon. Now we have a children’s version, which makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Let’s remember, Victoria’s Secret was created by a man, to make a more comfortable and easy shopping experience for men buying items for their romantic interests. The lingerie market was created and largely exists for sex and seduction, to be gazed at while wearing garments that accentuate the adult body in a sexual manner. Wearing lingerie is about sex or feeling sexy. And none of that has to do with being a five year old.

5. “I don’t think I would have had any idea I was being sexualized, and since my parents would never have let me pose in my underwear in a public forum under any circumstances (and it never would have occurred to me to want to), I don’t think anyone else would have had the opportunity to sexualize me either.” And “If no one involved, including the children, notice it happening, then how is it happening exactly?”

That is the beast of sexualization, isn’t it? Children don’t understand that it is happening to them. How would they? That doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. If I have a pot boiling on the stove and I leave the room as it boils over, I may not see it happening, but I still have a mess to clean up. Sexualization doesn’t have to take place in public, and sexualization is not the same as sexual abuse.

6. “I think saying ‘my daughter wants to be like me and she may by any means she chooses EXCEPT the things I do because they make me feel pretty’ is…bizarre. Girls are allowed to want to be attractive.”

I think all living creatures are looking for acceptance, and a part of that comes from being found attractive. But in girlhood, that shouldn’t come from being sexy. Trying on Mommy’s dresses and make-up and painting toes is one thing – both totally normal and age appropriate, while keeping in check the focus and emphasis on “being pretty”. Trying on mini, child version of the type of lingerie Mommy would wear to seduce Daddy while away on an anniversary weekend? Not okay. Disgusting, really.

Playing with hairstyles and clips and updo’s – totally normal and age appropriate. Sitting at a photoshoot getting a Brigette Bardo bombshell updo to model lingerie made for kids? Are ya kidding me? Not. Okay.

There are some things adults do because they are adults that have no place in childhood.
It is all about allowing our children to be children, and not rushing them in sexuality and adulthood. It is about seeing the value in our girls enjoying and thriving in girlhood. If we do that, we’ll be raising a great bunch of young women.

Couldn't add anything more to that!

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