Monday, May 07, 2007

Too Young To Be "Sexy?"

Also posted on a debate/discussion board that I visit, but it's expanded here.

This is inspired by my 6 1/2 yr old daughter. Yup, you read that right. My 6 1/2 yr old daughter. She doesn't know what sex is yet, but I know that with what she knows about bodies, and how married couples are "allowed" to see each other naked (don't ask how that came about heh heh),she's bound to ask What Is Sex soon.

Well, she came home from school today (1st grade) and was talking about how during recess, she and her friends are teaching each other dances. She informed me that she looks sexy when she dances, and her dance moves are sexy. She has no idea what this means. She *thinks* it means her dance moves look great. I'm not sure if I should explain... ugh... I feel like I can't explain that she's not sexy without also explaining what it means. And where the word comes from. I was really disturbed when she insisted that her dancing is sexy.

I couldn't cover the shock on my face quickly enough, so she asked what the word meant. I asked her what she thought it meant. Pretty, pink, girlie, nice. I explained that sometimes that's true, but it can also mean "glamorous" and is used to describe adults, not kids. I showed her a few pictures of some lovely gowns that are tasteful, but could be considered "sexy." So her new definition includes "beautiful, frilly, and movie star." She could tell I was stumbling a bit with my response to her, and when that happens, she's less likely to heed what I tell her.

So thinking about that, it led me to think about how we, as a culture, tend to sexualize everything. Even our elementary schoolers clothing. The dance moves they learn. The phrases they learn. The toys they play with. We make sure we have age-appropriate TV programming, but what good does it do when commercials that are inappropriate are played during NickJr??? What about slutty-looking dolls, like Bratz and Bratz Babiez (which are not allowed in our house, BTW, even though we have 2 miniature Bratz Babiez floating around somewhere).

On a related note, I've caught Juliana TWICE already having snuck a change of clothes into her backpack so that she can change from a parentally approved outfit to shorts or a skirt and a tank top. Because it's Spring and in Spring, you can wear "sexy clothes" which in this instance, apparently means "cooler clothing that you don't have to bundle up with" like in Winter.



Jackie said...

Oh Gesh. .. I dont look foward to those days that every parent of a girl goes through. This must be what they mean by "boys are a hand full now, but girls are a handful later" lol


Megan said...

Oh geesh. I'm going through it with Ayaan too. The idea of raising teenage girls terrorizes me.

~aj~ said...

I desperately want to have a little girl someday, but this is what terrifies me about it. They are forced to grow up too soon. A 12 year old shouldn't be concerned about looking sexy and yet they're already thinking about it at half that age.

You did a great job explaining it, Jess. Parents have to step up and be the ones to teach their children about these issues or else they'll learn the wrong idea from someone else.