Sexy Children?

Vicki - posted on 07/26/2009 ( 29 moms have responded )




I'm just wondering about how everyone feels about the term "sexy" when used by a child. Recently my six-year-old niece was visiting, and while she was redesigning her Mii, she asked, "Which color will make her look sexy?" I responded that any color would be attractive and she should choose that which she felt was the most appealing. She decided to make a cute little vampire and chose black. But why, I wonder, "sexy"?? And then just now, I saw a commercial for a toilet paper. This little puppy is being pampered and says, "Looking sexy." C'mon. Seriously? Why does a puppy need to look sexy? Why does a toilet paper need to sell "sexy"? Why cannot another term be substituted?


Katy - posted on 07/26/2009




I agree that as parents we need to filter the things they hear and say, but as a warning be careful how you react. I've found that it's best to stay calm and have a conversation to find out where they heard the word or phrase, ask if they know what it means, and explain thet there are things adults say that aren't right for kids to say. My 8 year old asked me the other day if s-e-x (she spelled it) is a bad word. I told her no it's not a bad word but it doesn't need to be talked about with/to everyone. I then calmly asked if she knew what it meant, cause I'm not gonna tell her more than she needs to know at this age. She said it's when a mom and dad make out. I told her that's about right and because it's between a mom and dad it doesn't need to be talked about. I grew up in a house where anything sexual was strictly forbidden and I am still uncomfortable with the topic to this day, I'd like my kids to be more comfortable about a natural process but to know they should be discreet and to learn things at age appropriate times.

Bronwen - posted on 07/26/2009




Unfortunately sex is used absent-mindedly to sell pretty much everything--toilet paper, tires, microwave rice bowls--and children will repeat anything they hear. But they do it to test us and bounce off ideas, and they come to conclusions based on our reactions. I think the best thing to do is discuss. I wouldn't stress "sexy" as a bad word but an adult word, to be used by adults who know what it means. And when they inevitably ask what it means? I'd try to be honest in the most appropriate way possible. Something like "It's a word grown-ups use when they find each other attractive." They can take that information on with them until they're old enough to understand it, and that takes away the mystery and allure that makes them want to use the word in the first place. As for parents buying their little girls T-shirts that say "Bringing sexy back" or pants with "Cutie" embroidered on the butt--that's just irresponsible.

Tonya - posted on 07/26/2009




I agree but here is our chance I have been overweight for 11 years and am now working ot and watching my diet instead of sexy cute or pretty I am trying to teach my girls healthy is the way to be We have replaced looks for health and their friends even seem to jumping on board for the positive instead of the gender bias

Libby - posted on 07/27/2009




My 7 year old son said sexy before. I told him that wasn't really a word to use. My kids are pretty good with that, if they say something they shouldn't, I just correct them and I usually don't hear it again!

Deanne - posted on 07/27/2009




I find it disgusting!!!
I'm a facebook baby pic contest addict & some people writing "vote for my sexy baby boy" is disturbing to come across!!!!!!!!!!!

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[deleted account]

Wow Deanne, I haven't seen these contests, and that really bothers me if that's what they are saying!! Just out of interest, are they generally really young mother saying those things? Because I really do believe that our language and terminology has evolved (not necessarily in a positive way) very quickly over the last decade or so. I find referring to children as sexy extremely offensive, but it has become so generic now that it could actually mean anything :(

Lee-Ann - posted on 07/27/2009




I blame every form of media. we (well, some of us) as a society are progressively becoming numbed (not the best word, but it's late) to 'sex'. like when you think back to what our parents found offensive, compare it to our times and then compare it again to our kids time. It's becoming commonplace, when the only place it should be is in the bedroom of adults. I could babble on for ages about this, it's a love hate topic of mine. I also think parents who dress their kids in skimpy sexy outfits are out of line, so are the manufacturers.

[deleted account]

I've had to vet every item of clothing that my daughters have been given by well-meaning family members. It sounds odd to them but I won't dress my girls in mini-skirts, vee-necks (unless it has a modesty panel), lace-up (corset-style) shirts, bikinis, midriff tops or ruched-front shirts ( because it makes them look like they have little boobs). They're only 34 months and almost 7 months old, they shouldn't be 'sexy' for a long time! I also have my eldest wear bike shorts or tights under her skirts so she can play without thinking about who can see her undies. She's too young to have to worry about that!

Sharon - posted on 07/26/2009




Its not allowed here. We don't stress "sexy" in our home, being clean and attractive of course. We were trying on school clothes today and my daughter had on a cute dress with a scarf and she said "I'm gonna look HOT at school." I said "what do you mean "HOT"?" She says "You know I'm going to look good." I said "what do you mean ""look good""? She got a bit upset and says "You know, I'll look like I know how to dress myself."

See if you can get your kids to define "sexy"?

Brandy - posted on 07/26/2009




unfortunately children are being exposed to this kind of thinking earlier and earlier...personally I feel that it's wrong and takes away part of their being a child.

[deleted account]

Jodi makes an excellent point, the word has a "different" meaning more than likely; unforunately, the meaning for most *adults* is being discussed in this forum. As a teen I hated when my parents jumped to conclusions or "filled in the blanks" for me, judging my friends with crazy hair color and piercings or assuming I meant something I didn't, and I really hated those old fogies that took certain cartoons that I grew up with off the air because they claimed it was causing kids to shoot other kids at school (etc). I was completely surprised when I caught myself doing the same thing once I became a parent. I had to remind myself that while we as adults can catch the double meanings and details of some things, our children are no different than parrots, simply repeating what they hear and giving no thought as to it's meaning.

I have less a problem with a little girl 'saying sexy' than with the little girl "saying 'sexy' around an adult", because I know she is innocent. It's the awkward feeling it creates for the grown up, I mean, I wouldn't want my dad or husband dealing with a 5 year old saying "am I sexy?". And that's just the awkward side, what about the nasty perves out there??

But THAT is just the point, why even deal with the situation? Why even put that word in the commercial? Why create an opportunity for kids to repeat it? It's as bad as that horrific Dr Suess movie when he says "Dirty Hoe" but it's in reference to a garden tool. Yet kids hear laughter errupt from the grown ups and don't know WHY it's funny, they just know "Dirty Hoe" makes grown ups laugh. Why the hell wouldn't they repeat the phrase?

It has everything to do with responsibily for our advertising. These people who make these ads aren't separate entities, they are our peers who happen to work for an ad company. We should speak up and say, "Hey, not in my house." It's a lovely idea to limit our kids television, but even if they watch for only half hour a day, they could still very well run into such a commercial or innapropriate material. The solution is to be more active toward the cause, to speak up and supply reasonable objection.

Do I think "sexy" is going to turn my daughter into a pole dancing whore when she grows up? No. But do I want to waste her precious childhood explaining this kind of crap to her? NO. Please, write the company, I have provide the address above, just scroll up and send a simple post card or email or make a phone call.

The problem is OURS, not cottonelle's, you can't get rid of a problem by just have to do something. And that goes for ANY kind of issue, from school bullies to discrimination and everything in between. (man, puns are really difficult to avoid on this topic!)

Tessa - posted on 07/26/2009




simple answer, sex sells. sex really really sells. I think our best hope is to try to minimize the amount of tv our kids watch, put on a video or something instead, something with no adds. Id like to try and keep lily out of the whole "sexy"stage as long as i can. It breaks my heart to see 5 year olds wear mini skirts and high heeled shoes. we wonder why there are so many pedophiles out there!

Ikeca - posted on 07/26/2009




I have been going through that. My eight year old stepson keeps claiming "Keykey your sexy" like seriously? I dont' know what or who gave him the idea of sexy. least of all to claim I am attractive as a mom you know?. I don't think it is in the least bit appropriate. I have been in his life for one year. I personally think that television is the fault for our childrens behavior. but what can we do? sit back and watch our children grow up under pressure and uncertainty.

Kate CP - posted on 07/26/2009




My stomach is rolling just from reading this. I think it's awful. I have no problem with sexuality and sex when it's about/with adults. A child shouldn't be worried about what's sexy...or even attractive or stylish. They should worry about things like "If I wear that dress, will people be able to see my butt when I climb a tree?" or "Will I be able to run at the park if I'm wearing these shoes?"

I also think bikinis for children are just gross. :P

[deleted account]

Bronwen, I agree with you, but I think part of the problem is that the term 'sexy' no longer actually means 'sexy'. So therefore it is a word that our children associate with other meanings, and unfortunately, it is incredibly confusing for them. I don't know what the answer is....

Trisha - posted on 07/26/2009




I find this very offensive and cannot understand why adults would want to say such things to children. I do not understand why another term cannot be substituted for "sexy" either. Glad you brought this up, it has always bothered me.

Stina - posted on 07/26/2009




Bravo to the ladies with little boys teaching them about appropriate words to describe girls.

If my 2 1/2 yo DD were to describe herself as sexy, I'd probably grill DH about what they are watching on TV while I'm at work in the evenings. (that's a battle all in it's own) I'm amazed at the things she picks up. A few weeks ago, she started saying "I'm a Diva" Not sure where she got that. Cracks me up a little... She also dances around saying over and over "I'm a little princess." That one, I know we taught her because we call her princess pretty often. But sexy? I'd never call my little girls sexy... or tell them that they are sexy...

[deleted account]

Jodi makes a good point. I'm sure Vicki's neice was not using the term in the context that our generation uses it, but it still raises eyebrows, and I wouldn't want a preteen or child using "sexy" around my husband or father simply due to the awkward nature it would create. No one wants to put "sexy" and "little girl" in the same's just weird.

[deleted account]

Tam, I agree with the boycott of the franchise, but that isn't enough impact. Here's their address. Could be all take an extra step and write? I think that is the biggest problem, we get passive and just turn the LOL!

Kimberly-Clark Corporation

Dept. INT

P.O. Box 2020

Neenah, WI 54957-2020

1-888-525-8388 (USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico only)

Call us toll-free Monday through Friday

8:00 am - 4:00 pm Central Time

[deleted account]

I think society seems to given a new meaning to the term 'sexy'. I have noticed it used quite frequently as meaning something that looks fantastic. In Australia, we recently had a series of Masterchef Australia, and one of the judges was constantly using the term 'sexy' to describe a food dish! I found it strange, but it seems to have changed its meaning to many people.

Tam - posted on 07/26/2009




The biggest impact we can make is to not buy the product that is selling the sexy image. We can let the company know that the image they are selling is less than wholesome and not appropriate. Parents can and should refuse to buy clothes that are "sexy" no matter whose name is on the label.

[deleted account]

OMG!! I was totally thinking the same thing about the commercial! Not only is a puppy "child-like", it's also an animal, since when are animals "sexy"? I thought it was a totally innapropriate term. I think after reading your post I am going to email AND write the company as to it's innapropriateness. I mean, I'm not prude, and I'm not one of those moms who don't let their kids watch spongebob, but this is one of those "weird" moments that make you take a second look. I'm so glad you said something.

I think we should band together and send cottonelle toilet paper a message, your story about your neice is a good example.

Abigail - posted on 07/26/2009




Sadly it's just 'in' now. Everytime I see the commercials for that show toddlers and tiaras, I cringe. It's so wrong to make your children dress like that and then parade around to be judged. I wish the in thing now was 'beautiful' and not sexy but...alas...that's not the case

Vicki - posted on 07/26/2009




I do agree that there is much undue pressure, particularly for girls, to maintain a certain body image. And children are often in a hurry to grow up. They can't understand that "sexy" is dangerous. It is impossible to avoid the pressures from media, however as adults, when a child acts inappropriately it needs to be put to a stop, not encouraged. Too many prey on innocence. It would be better for a child to have an understanding of the meaning behind words and actions. An extended vocabulary can help to use more appropriate words to convey meaning and better understanding.

Kristen - posted on 07/26/2009




the way my family uses the word sexy is just saying someone looks good its not said in a sexual way there is a differents the way people use the word sexy now then how they used to use it and some people do refer to the word sexy as be sexual but as for little girls they are just calling themselfs pretty or cute thats all they are doing if you don't like them to use it tell them its a bad word and tell them to use a word like pretty or cute or something else in replace of it but this is just my opinion i also have a few nieces that use the word sexy but when they started it they was like 2 years old maybe even younger and when they said it they was using it as calling themselfs cute if you disagree thats fine but this is my opinion and i am strick on what i think a little kid should say and how someone should or shouldn't talk to or around a child but this is just i guess a word of many meanings for different people

Alison - posted on 07/26/2009




I agree totally - I hate that word in any context, and especially for children! Women are under enough pressure when they grow up, why should I child have to deal with ideas like "sexy"? As for actually refering to your own child as such, that's verging on obscene! Sex appeal is definately an adult domain, and a very personal thing - I think calling someone sexy is like calling them "breathey" or "eaty" or "walky" - it's just something we all do (if we're lucky!) not some magic formula that only the celebs have... phew, rant over....

Michelle - posted on 07/26/2009




My son (10) doesn't use the word sexy - but does say "hot" to refer to girls looks (we tell him not to but sometimes it slips out) - he gets this from kids shows (Hannah Montana - Suite Life of, etc). We asked him what he thought "hot" meant and he said "pretty or cute." He thinks of it as the same (the first time he used it - he told me that i looked hot that day) - we just explained to him that that is an adult term and he was just a little young to really understand it, etc. I think sexy as being pretty much the same - and they need to be talked to about adult words which aren't appropriate for them to say and also are too complex for them to understand. I agree with you on commercials - but our kids are going to live in a world that is full of adult things which they will be exposed to in (apparently) the oddest unpredictable ways - all we can to is keep communication open. Tell them when something isn't OK for kids. They really respond to that!

LaCi - posted on 07/26/2009




I think this is sooo great because I was thinking exactly the same thing the other day when I saw that silly cottonelle commercial.

Also, while flipping channels the other day I heard a woman refer to her infant as *sexy* which just completely blew my mind. But it was on maury :)

Totally with you here. Honestly I don't think I've ever seriously said the word sexy in reference to anyone or anything... so I just don't really get it. It's just not a word I'm fond of.

Galadriel - posted on 07/26/2009




My seven year old is obsessed with dressing "sexy". She has a friend accross the street who gets all kinds of short skirts with shorts in them and I don't think they are appropriate for that age. I extremely dislike the accepted image of women not only because of my weight and self image issues, but because my seven year old daughter talks about how she is getting fat! I try to replace sexy with attractive or pretty. I constantly tell her how being skinny and dressing skimpy is not appropriate or neccessary for her but she never seems to hear.

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