The inappropriate sexualisation of children
Tuesday, 15 October 2013
Today whilst on the bus, I heard a mother say to her little girl who appeared to be around two years of age 'Are you my sexy baby?' The little girl said 'Yes!' to which the mum replies 'No silly, you're my sexy little girl now!'
This isn't an isolated case, both online and offline I have heard people referencing their babies and children as sexy much as one would use the terms cute, adorable, beautiful or gorgeous etc. I'll admit to being absolutely aghast at this practise. Why would anyone use a term that is defined as sexually attractive, sexually exciting or sexually arousing in connection with their child? Is this not absolutely inappropriate and potentially damaging as it belittles and clouds the definition of the word and it's connotations? Surely we should be alarmed at anyone referring to our children as sexy, so why on earth are parents themselves doing it? It's not cute. It's not funny. It's not cool. To be frank, it positively disgusts me. How is a child to recognise when someone is being verbally inappropriate to them when we blur the lines of what is acceptable?
Yet sexualisation is everywhere, granted to the very young it's almost subliminal as they have no knowledge of what certain things represent nor the connotations that are attached to them such as, just to name a few:
* BHS who were selling padded bras and knickers aimed at pre-teens with 'Little Miss Naughty' emblazoned across them. In America Abercrombie & Fitch were selling push up bras for seven year old and, wait for it, thongs...again starting at age seven with the delightful slogans of 'eye candy' and 'wink wink' emblazoned across them. After coming under fire they simply renamed the push-up bra to padded bra, because that's so much better right? and stated it would only be available for 12yrs+ yet the sizing started at age 10. Asda at one point sold childrens knickers in black and pink lace.
* In 2008, Woolworths who once sold a childrens bed with the name 'Lolita' a name associated with the character Dolores, nicknamed Lolita from Nabokovs 1955 novel (where a step dad is utterly obsessed, sexually, with his 12 year old step daughter) which has since become synonymous with sexual precocity.
* In 2005 WHSmith were criticised for selling stationary to young people with the Playboy Bunny motif on them, a motif that is associated with a huge porn empire. Likewise in the past I've seen the pink Playboy bunny bedding advertised alongside children's bedding.
* In 2006 the supermarket giant Tesco were condemned for selling a pole dancing kit marketed in the toy department complete with garter and toy money to stuff inside with the packaging stating it can be used from age 11+ alongside the slogan 'unleash the sex kitten inside'
* Bratz brought out the vulgar 'Bratz Babyz Twins Phoebe & Roxxi' dolls. If you click on the link and look at the picture, I think it speaks for itself really. Dolls made to look like babies dressed up as skanky prostitutes.
Where does it end? It's unnecessary. Why is childhood, innocence and wholesomeness suddenly so incredibly out of fashion? When I was a child many parents found 'crop tops' scandalously inappropriate attire so you can imagine The Mothers horror when she spied a vile thong in the children's underwear section.
How did it all go so wrong and come to this?
Give children back their right to be children and have a childhood. Lets end this mini-me obsession. Childhood is not sexy.