I find it deeply disturbing how much today's children know about sex and sexuality at such a young age. I went out to dinner last night with a women's social group. One member at our table, a teacher, recounted stories that, while not terribly surprising, would still curl anyone's hair. A second grader came to school one day wearing gold "hooker heels", a micro mini and a low-cut top that was a size too small for her. A 7th grader who routinely dressed the same way was pregnant by the following year--despite the teachers' attempts to warn the mother (who stormed into the school showing off her enormous cleavage and butterfly tattoo on her chest, defending her daughter with the first amendment excuse.) A young boy was frustrated because, he said, "the girls won't leave me alone and stop asking me out." According to our dining companion he said he "just wanted to play basketball--not go out with girls."
Another woman mentioned how her 5 year-old niece has mastered the art of flirting--when going out to eat with her parents recently, she batted her eyelids and flirted with the waiter--who "rewarded" her with an extra bowl of bread.
In my Decline of Marriage post from a few weeks ago, I mentioned the book "The Good Girl Revolution" by Wendy Shalit. In the first chapter, she discusses the influence of pop culture on today's young girls and how it's not helping the situation. In particular she discusses the lack of modest clothing options (one company mentioned in the book actually makes thong underwear for 8 year olds) and how the Bratz line of dolls started the trend of dolls that are dressed like sluts. I guess the polyester pants from Sears that I wore in the 70s wouldn't fly with today's girls or their parents. A few years ago, a line of pony dolls called "Struts" were released that look like Victoria's Secret supermodels--wearing high heels, jewelry, and fashion accessories. Really? What was wrong with My Pretty Pony?
And don't even get me started on the piece of garbage show known as Toddlers & Tiaras--which earlier this year featured a mother who purposely dressed her 3 year-old daughter up as Julia Roberts' hooker character from Pretty Woman.
Holy whores, Batman! What the good gravy is wrong with our society today? Seems like it is truly headed down the toilet. I'm not a parent, but I feel sorry for anyone raising kids today who wish to shield them from sexual influences, particularly those who have daughters. Kids today are growing up way too fast and have limited choices when it comes to role models. I remember when Mary Lou Retton and other female athletes were looked up to. Today, according to the teacher who was at my dinner table, it's people like Snooki. Snooki was actually cited by two young girls in her class as their hero (on Who's Your Hero Day) because she has "'tude" and is "sexy." My immediate thought was why were the ridiculous parents letting them watch Jersey Shore in the first place? Jersey Shore is a show for grown ups, not little girls.
Kids today don't seem to have much of an innocent childhood.
Despite the yearly sex ed classes, I truly didn't feel that I know much about sex until I was in high school. I didn't even know what it meant to be sexy until I was in college. It's only recently--in my late 30s--that I feel like I know how to flirt! The only girl we know of who got pregnant the entire time I went to high school happened during our senior year and it disturbed us. Who would want to get pregnant, when we were going off to college and had our whole lives in front of us? Unfortunately, today we have shows like MTV's Teen Moms which is supposed to show the unglamorous side of teenage motherhood, but instead had the opposite effect when a girl got pregnant on purpose to be on the show and become famous.
For many pre-teen boys, their first look at naked or semi-nude women came from sneaking their old man's dirty magazine collection or looking at the undergarment section of the Sears catalog.
That is not to say that kids in my junior high and high school weren't having sex. Teens have always been having sex, but their knowledge and experimentation is occurring at earlier and scarier ages. I remember a few years ago Oprah did a show about oral sex among pre-teens...12 and 13 year-old boys and girls who had shared many oral sex partners in their school. These kids didn't think much of it because President Clinton had declared that oral sex wasn't the same as real sex during the Lewinsky scandal. The girls didn't seem to care that they were at an increased risk at contradicting diseases.
Technology isn't helping. Teens and pre-teens think nothing of "sexting" and sending sexy photos to each other using their smartphones. It landed at least one teen--who distributed pictures of his steady girlfriend to several friends and family members (what?!)--on the sex offender list.
Parents aren't doing their job. Yes, we have pop culture and toy influences but we can't place all of the blame on TV shows, musicians and the toy companies (personally, I think if parents are unhappy with certain toys and clothing manufacturers they should let them know, as was the case when Abercrombie & Fitch tried to advertise bikini tops for 8 year-old girls which attracted many negative comments on their Facebook page.) Parents need to talk to their kids about sex and stress the importance of waiting until they're older and not giving in to peer pressure. Watch what your children are watching on TV and look for clothing alternatives to letting them dress like a hooker. We need a return to family values.
P.S. I didn't mention the disturbing trend of girls going through puberty at earlier ages, because that is something beyond their control (and is a sad situation for sure.)