I’m not even going to try and portray myself as anything less than the hyperventilating mom when it comes to the over-sexualization of kids today. There is no use pretending that I’m all “que sera, sera” over here. Nope. I am one freaking-out mama and I’m totally ok with that. What I am not, is hysterical around my girls. To them I am unflappable when they have questions. I answer honestly and I do my best to control my emotions. After all, I want them to come to me always. One major screw up and they might turn somewhere else.
Last week, the CBC aired a documentary called Sext Up Kids (now available for viewing online). It is the next in a long line of documentaries that explore how our over-sexed society is destroying childhood and by extension, creating some pretty messed up young adults. Other documentaries include Killing Me Softly, Sexy Inc., and Miss Representation. There is also an excellent Maclean’s article from a few years back called, Why are we dressing our daughters like this? I watch and read stuff like this because it is important to me that I stay informed, so I seek out information like this that will help me navigate my girls through the teen years. Burying my head in the sand will never be the answer.
And I get it. I have to talk, talk and talk some more. I have to talk until I’m blue in the face with my kids about all the normal, loving aspects of sex and about the stuff that is increasingly presented as normal, but is really just twisted and often violent. I have to be prepared to talk about anal sex, oral sex, multiple penetrations and girl-on-girl sex that is not necessarily homosexual but rather a fantasy that boys are being fed. I have to be prepared to talk about sexting and sending pictures over the internet. I have to explain how online relationships should not be confused with in real-life relationships. And I have to do all this while teaching them their times tables and making sure they have proper nutrition, enough exercise and sleep. So excuse me, if I’m a little pissed off.
I really wanted to explore why this type of thing angered me so much. Was it really because I was scared of my girls having sex one day? After some soul searching the answer was a resounding no. I don’t relish the idea, but it’s much like envisioning your parents having sex—you just don’t do it. I’m fully aware that at some point my children will have sex. Enough said. So what is it then?
Well, it’s a lot of things really. For starters, its all hunky dory that we’re sexual creatures but it’s not what defines us. I don’t walk into meetings and declare I just had the best sex ever. Sex is intimate and loving and private. Yet, it’s become public fodder and as a society we actually see how that pays off for some girls ie. Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and their ilk. That pisses me off.
I worry incessantly about the boys my daughters will meet in the coming years. How many hours of pornography will these boys have been exposed to by the time they meet my daughters? With 80% of boys watching hardcore porn online, it’s pretty safe to assume a lot. How many of these boys will understand the intimacy of holding hands or get the concept of romantic love?
I am angry that no matter how much I try to protect my children from damaging images and videos that some other mom is not doing her job. I am angry that as a society we are not doing enough to push back against the barrage of sexual images being thrown at us daily. I am angry that pornograpy is becoming mainstream and that we’re not doing enough to marginalize an industry that exploits women and children.
I am angry at the media and the businesses that market sexually suggestive items to children under 13. Are any of these people parents?
So, yup, occasionally I need to grab that paper bag and breathe. I find solace in other moms. I mull over different opinions and re-examine mine. I find my true North, which is getting the two most important people in my life to adulthood as well-adjusted, happy people. And sometimes I do want to take them and put them in a bubble. Will I actually do it? No, of course not. I have to deal with the way of the world. It doesn’t mean I have to like it though and it certainly doesn't mean I can't fight back.