A very interesting report put out by the Quebec status of women, (which still receives funding because apparently women are still considered equal in Quebec) points out a huge problem with marketing sex to prepubescent girls. The report makes several recommendations on how to improve the equality of women by helping young girls to understand and resist the marketing machines that are turning them into pint size sex objects.
A great article in the Gazette by Brett Bundale sums up the problem nicely in the intro:
Walking down some stretches of Ste. Catherine St., you might have trouble telling a strip club and a toy store apart.
Dolls come dressed with black leather miniskirts, fishnet stockings, thigh-high boots and red feather boas.
The ads for Club Super Sexe portray women as girls, with pigtails, schoolgirl skirts and ruffles.
Bundale goes on to discuss:
Padded bras and thongs advertised to 7-year-olds.
The fact that 65% of girls aged 12-17 have experienced mental or physical sexual violence
And that 20% of girls who had sex before 16 thought that they had to.
Hmmmmm…..I wonder where they, and the young guys having sex with them, got all these messages about sex.
Besides the La Senza girls and the Brat dolls, teens see porn. They see sex on TV, in the movies at their friends but mostly on the internet. Sadly, we all know what the internet looks like. And trust me, your 12-year-old did not click the “I’m under 18 button.” What a joke.
And you may supervise your kids on computers at home, but when they are at Jimmy’s……or Cara’s……..exactly…..you had an inkling.
While we as teens, may have stumbled across dad’s Playboy, kids these days, get face shots, double penetrations and maybe an occasional round with a donkey. It’s a fact of life. It’s not a pretty fact that our internet is completely dominated by porn. When my liberal feminist blog brings people to my articles because they did a search for “kiddie vagina” or “teen face shots” I am extremely discouraged with our world. But then I think, maybe they’ll read about what a young student escort is really thinking when she has sex with them and they wont be able to get it up next time and maybe stay home and read a good book instead. (Yes, I’m an optimist) A digressing one…
The report’s conclusion states that the main concern is that young girls feel increasingly like objects. This is a horrifying by-product of our current cultural climate.
I remember feeling very empowered as a 14-year-old listening to the Sunday Night Sex Show with Sue, reading Sassy magazine, listening to Liz Phair.
Today, these girls have Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson and Jaime Lynn Spears as role models. Be stupid, look pretty and you’ll bag a rock star or a hockey player. (And totally have the coolest babies with them.)
I remember so clearly the day I realized that most likely, in tight jeans, as I walked away guys would check out my ass. I was 27. Growing up, it never even crossed my mind that as I schooled a guy at pool, because I used to be a bit of a teen shark, he may have been looking for cleavage as I leaned over the table. And maybe, thanks to my mom and her dress code for my early years, I didn’t feel like a sex object until I was able to understand what that meant and deal with it accordingly. (O.K. maybe I clued in a bit late, but trust me, it wasn’t a bad thing.)
Today, young girls become sex objects at such a young age. They don’t get a chance to play on the ball field with the guys without worrying that since it’s chilly out their nipples may be showing and the second baseman will for sure notice so they might as well miss that fly ball. Or maybe they are wearing extra short shorts so that the centre fielder misses his own fly balls. Same diff…
What we have is a big cultural void for our young girls. They don’t have Riott Girl and 80s career movies. They don’t have Liz Phair singing about one-night-stands and Ani Difranco about periods. They get Surf School instead of Fast Times at Ridgemont High. They look up to Venessa Hudgens, not for the brutalness that is High School Musical, but because they know that in real life, the actress landed a sweet gig, posted nude pics, and is actually dating Zach Efron and can make out anytime when Disney is not in charge.
The markets feel that selling sex to teens is worth while. Clearly it’s worth while because it works. These little girls are eating it up and nothing is standing in the way. Or at least competing.
So the Quebec report makes some recommendations. Among them:
– Discuss sexuality and the media in the ethics and religious culture course that is to begin in public schools this fall.
– Launch a media awAreness campaign to promote equality.
– give youths and parents better access to information about sexuality.
Now besides the fact that these recommendations are totally mundane and most likely useless, they are important in that they will get people who can have some influence some information and hopefully a kick in the ass to take action.
But I have a few recommendations of my own:
- Teach your girls that they are not different from boys in that they will be curious about sex, have sexual feelings and want to explore their sexuality. Then talk to them about doing things and behaving in ways that make them feel good about themselves and not bad.
- Tell your girls, as my mom told me: “You have your whole life to dress like a tart, preserve being a kid, it’s the best life has to offer, it will go quickly, don’t rush it.”
- ENROLL YOUR GIRLS IN SPORTS!!!!!! And not ballet, horse back riding and yoga. Sports. Like soccer, football, hockey. Trust me, when the other girls make fun of Molly for wearing eyeliner to practice, she will think twice about how cool it is. And unlike dancing, girls bring the skills they learn playing these sports with them everywhere in life. Whether it’s a 21st birthday party at a bowling alley, a pick up game of football at the company barbecue or a game a pool at the singles bar, women with skills, agility and physical acumen kick ass. (not to knock dancing etc. but supplements of sports are well worth while.)
- Talk to your boys. It is not cool to have conquests. It is not cool to brag about what you’ve done. The boys who don’t need to beg for it or tell everyone about it are always the ones that all the girls swoon over. If he really likes you, and you like him, he’ll wait. If not, he’ll leave right after. Let’s get real here.
- Ask your girls how they feel about their bodies, about boys. Ask them if they are being pressured, harassed, or our curious about making out. Trust me, if you never ask, she will never tell you. Girls are scared to talk about these things. They are scared to talk about sexual violence. They feel guilty and don’t want you to know. But often, they really want to tell you….if you ask.
- And: don’t treat your girls like little wall flowers who only do what boys want and have no hormonal desires themselves. Childhood innocence is pretty much a bust. Preserve it for as long as it will last, but once it’s over, it’s really over, so get real. She can google it and trust me, you don’t want her to follow the advice on hotteensexforu.com.