The horror of the sexualization of our young girls

Holly - posted on 01/22/2013 ( 32 moms have responded )

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I have ALWAYS been against the sexualizaion of our young girls. But the fear is getting greater as my oldest daughter will be in middle school in the next 2 years. She talks about how cute this boy is in her class, and how she wants a boyfriend. she is only 9!!! In elementary school it is easy to keep them away from such sexualization, but i fear for the middle school world. where some of the children are pregnant even in middle school. I keep them from watching nickelodeon where the girls are all wearing the shortest shorts and skirts i've ever seen and the midriff baring tops, where they don't think twice about showing men prance around in undergarments. So far i haven't seen anything like that on Disney... but i am sure it is coming at some point... I try to let them listen to empowering songs and not songs such as "I'm sexy and i know it" or Keisha's "tick tock" song... but i feel as though to instill the important things into my children i have to micro-manage them.

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~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/22/2013

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You know the best way to handle this? Having open communication about hormones, sexuality, sex, and protection. Yes your daughter is only 9, but she will be hitting puberty soon and should be armed with information about what is going on with her body and what is appropriate to wear, and how to act around boys.

Jodi - posted on 01/22/2013

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Personally, I don't think hiding these things from our children is the answer. My daughter watches Disney, and yes, even Hannah Montana. However, because *I* don't wear clothes like that, and *I* don't like them and have expressed my concern over my daughter wearing shorts up her butt crack and showing her belly, etc, she has absolutely no interest in wearing them, and has even expressed that she doesn't like them. I don't censor her music, and I don't micro-manage. My daughter is almost 8 and shows no signs that she has been corrupted. Our 20 year old is also not a sex crazed doll.

My boys are teens. They haven't really had their viewing censored either. They don't treat girls as sex objects.

I don't think watching things on TV and listening to music is going to turn them into sexualised idiots. I think what happens at home, and attitudes in the home has a MUCH greater influence and will over-ride anything like that. In fact, by EXPOSING them these things, and discussing them with them, you are probably giving them a greater ability to think critically about these issues than just flat out telling them they are censored. After all, in the real world, you can't always censor everything, so why not encourage discussion and critical thinking (which you can't do if you never exposed to the issue) rather than just micro-managing it?

Madame - posted on 02/26/2013

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The best way to keep your daughter from having sex at an early age is to talk, talk, talk about sex openly. Having crushes on boys is natural and healthy and not necessarily a sexual desire but could be more of a sense of belonging and comfort, so understanding how to respect her body and person will make all the difference.

Kristi - posted on 01/29/2013

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I think there is a big difference between desensitizing a child or anyone for that matter and allowing your child(ren) to watch a certain amount age based programming, which I believe Jodi and Shawnn are referring to. I don't think anyone is supporting 9 year olds watching Jersey Shore or simply letting media educate their children.

I think when we take things to extremes, one way or the other, we are asking for trouble. None of us want our children to be exploited. But there is not a one size fits all answer. My daughter is 13 and she still watches Nick and Disney. I've been scrolling through my memory and can't come up with any shows where the girls are half naked. My daughter's half sisters (2 out of 3) dropped out of school because they got pregnant. One of them got deep into drugs and they each have more than one child. They grew up on Full House, Rugrats, Power Rangers, Kenan and Kel. No sluts or teenage pregnancies there. Complete lack of parenting to the extreme. Details are irrelevant.

My daughter is allowed to watch most things. She is an athletic, out going, very attractive, smart young lady. This sounds egotistical but she knows she looks good in "short-shorts" and the like because she is a gymnast and at home she works out in her gymnastic shorts and sports tank, which is half cut and she is very proud of her body. But, she knows full, good and well how to dress appropriately. She is half tom boy, half young lady. She is not at all interested in boys. We've been talking about sex, drugs, stranger danger, the difference between what's on TV and what is real life, behaviors and consequences, etc since she was a wee little one. She has manners, most of the time. Lol She volunteers. Will she screw up...sure! Am I a perfect mom...HELL TO THE NO!

It sounds like you have a good line of communication with your daughter. You obviously want the best for her. There is nothing wrong with establishing high standards for your daughter. But you will drive yourself and eventually, your daughter, nuts trying to micro-manage her life. If you want to empower her, give her the full picture and trust that you have educated her well enough to make positive choices. If all she sees is half of the picture that you want her to see, when the other half reveals it's self, she will be curious about what is in that half of the picture and more than likely she will check it out.

There are no guarentees. You can do everything right and sadly, your kid could still end up in places you avoided even in your nightmares. But, the better role models they have at home, the better chance they have for success. In most cases, kids emmulate what they see at home, not what they watched on TV when they were 9 or 14, same with the music. Try to find a happy medium and then have faith in yourself for raising a great kid and have faith in your daughter for being a great kid.

Jodi - posted on 01/23/2013

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BJs are not common because some kid watched Nickelodeon when they were young......

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NinaPatricia - posted on 03/02/2013

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Agreeing with Jodi as well, it does not matter what they watch or the music they listen to, is what you teach them. I was crazy about boys but was never into short skirts (I went to a private school) or low cuts, baring my belly etc. And Madona and Cindy Lauper where my idols.
My oldest is 20 and he is old fashion, very respectful and almost boring to kids these days. Teach them what your morals and views are, open the discussion, and you will see results.

Cella - posted on 03/02/2013

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way over reaction. just because girls like boys from a young age doesn't have anything to do with sex. plenty of young kids have 'boyfriends' or 'girlfriends' & just hug & hold hands. kindergarteners have crushes on boys. if you're daughter hasn't liked a boy until 9 i would stop complaining bc that's more unusual that her liking one 5 years ago. i can distinctly remember almost all the girls having crushes on boys in my kindergarten class bc it was a small private school & their were only 5 boys so obviously some liked the same one. i also remember one day as one of the boys was leaving 2nd grade he gave me a quick kiss. it was adorable not at all a sexual thing. as for tv them being aware of certain things doesn't mean they are desensitized. plus you just need to accept that they are going to see it & hear it whether you know or like it or not. you might as well watch or sit down together & discuss it first instead of them watching it at a friends etc.. some girls wear short skirts & short tops. you think once they go to middle or high school or are out in the real world they won't be around girls doing this? better to watch the shows & explain that you think it's a funny show, but that you think their outfits are inappropriate & we wear more modest clothing.. than to try & hide them away from everything. if you want your child to respect herself & have healthy ideas about sex the best thing to do is be open & honest & to talk about it. by 9 they should've definitely had the sex talk imo.

Lakota - posted on 01/28/2013

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As parents we need to decide what is ok and not ok for our kids to watch because it goes against or with our morals or beliefs. Letting a young girl watch a show that contains things you don't like as a parent, just because you shouldn't "shelter them" is rediculous. Society is dictating what our children should watch. Many parents feel like it's ok because "everyone is watching it". Being a parent isn't a popularity contest and not letting a young girl watch a show that has barely covered young women in it isn't going to make them go out and have sex one day or go wild because mom didn't let them watch Nickelodeon. There are many more ways to educated and prepare our children then the use of TV and TV shows.

Holly, I think you are doing right.

Holly - posted on 01/28/2013

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I do discuss things with my kids, and I don't "hide things"from them.. Read my responses

Shawnteria - posted on 01/28/2013

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I agree with jodi its better to allow your kids to see things then to try to hide it from them because the moment theyre introduced to the things that society feel is ok they will be interested and will start to do what you dont agree with because their parents didnt tell them "hey people wear things like this and act as this but i dont think thats appropriate for a young woman or man to act" . You have to trust that youre raising your daughter right and she will make the right choices because you raised her. You cant shelter her from the world.

Holly - posted on 01/28/2013

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Also, i need to add in here that I do not tell my children that they cannot watch what they want outside of my home, but that I don't LIKE them to watch nickelodeon, that is MY preference, but i know that OTHER parents allow their children to watch it and if they want to watch it that's ok, and i give them the reason i don't like it. and honestly they tell thier friends THEY don't want to watch it. they tell my mother they don't want to watch it when she puts it on. because of the talks we have, they look down on girls who dress like that. I've seen hookers wear more clothing that some of those girls on nickelodeon.

Holly - posted on 01/28/2013

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wow alex, you must know everything about me, it's like you can read the future... No, I have already taught my children about sex. And later on, i know she will date. I have also taught her that her virginity is something to VALUE, not toss away on the first boy she thinks she is in love with, and that IF the boy cares for her enough he will wait. If he decides to not wait and go out with some other girl that WILL put out, then he is just a sleazy boy and she deserves more than that. (she thought it was gross that i talked to her about it. but i know that she will be in middle school were there will be pregnant girls, so i figured i'd talk to her about it before she gets there and sees that)

Jodi - posted on 01/27/2013

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Um, Alexx, it is a word.....a real one, in the dictionary and everything.

S. - posted on 01/24/2013

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I am also against the sexualisation of our young girls but you can't shelter them to the world only guild them, educate them, be honest with them and hope you've done a good enough job, I have never banned tv channels like nickelodeon but I do ban my kids from wearing words on their butts, high heels, short skirts and padded bra's (for the 13 year old) I explain to my daughter why I don't let her wear those things and even thou a lot of people that go to her school wear skirts so shockingly short my daughter has no desire to.
The worlds a big scary place but I think by banning thing you could only make things more tempting.

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I agree with Jodi and Little Miss here's you can't shelter your children forever. My uncle tried to do that with his his boys the result was they felt they had to hide everything from him. He didn't want them listening to anything other than Christian Rock well his older boy liked other stuff so he hid all his CDs from his dad. He tried to shelter them so much that they told me not to talk about certain books that I was reading at the time because he didn't like the authors.

There is also the fact that while you may try to censor everything in your house what happens when your daughter spends the night somewhere? Or even at school, you can't control every little thing in her life, open communication is what's needed

Edited to fix some spelling errors

Jodi - posted on 01/23/2013

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One word....Madonna.....

But having said that (I was a child of the 70s and 80s), can I ask you what it is on nickelodeon you have such an issue with? Dora wear shorts. Sponge Bob, well, he's an obnoxious sponge, iCarly, whatever, my 8 year old enjoys the show, but has no interest in BEING like that. Seriously, the TV show isn't what is going to turn your kids into a bunch of pregnant teens.

Holly - posted on 01/23/2013

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Those were jot shows intended for children, also even if they were Lavern and Shirley were women not teens nor preteens. Watching happy days you probably weren't wanting to be the Fonz when you grew up... Watching grease sandy was a great person to emulate, she didn't smoke, she wasn't like the other girls. And honestly I don't see anything wrong with Hannah Montana... Disney is actually the channel I prefer my kids to watch. And Disney in the past has never sexualized girls.

Shawnn - posted on 01/22/2013

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I'm with Jodi and Little miss on this one.

You cannot get away from it, Holly. You cannot put blinders on your kids and hope that they'll grow up OK...

You should continually be having dialogue with your kids at all ages, about all aspects of their daily lives.

If, like Jodi says, you constantly communicate your values to your kids, they will pick that up, and no desensitizing is needed, because you've given them a firm foundation.

I still fondly remember my boys as little boys. I'm very vocal in my approval/disapproval of things. If I think you look like a raging dork, I'm going to express that opinion. When we were out at one of the local venues, a teenage punk with his hair dyed 4 different colors and piercings all over his face sat down next to us. With out a pause, my eldest (then 6, now 18) looked at the kid and said "do you realize how stupid you really look? I mean, you're an adult, and you look like a clown"...The kid was offended, but, hey, better my kid say it than me...I'd have added a few choice "adult" words in there.

My sons are not over sexualized. They do not treat women like objects. As a matter of fact, they're too "old fashioned" for girls today. No one understands them, and thinks they're "weird"...except the parents who adore having their daughters treated like queens. And they grew up watching the same crap you're talking about. They actually look at those shows and say "so, why does the producer think that is an attractive look" for some of these outfits. And their friends, who've grown up with the same, generally tend to be some of the more modest, well dressed young people around. Because of how their parents raised them, not because of the shows they watched.

I mean, heck, I watched "Happy Days" and "Laverne and Shirley"...I'm neither a washed up biker babe (Pinky Tuscadero) nor a beer swilling desparate cougar...I guess my point is that (as Little Miss pointed out) it's everywhere, and it didn't just start yesterday. How your kids handle and view it is up to how you present your feelings and opinions on the subject.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/22/2013

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There is definately sexualization of young girls/women today. But there has been for a long time. It is nothing new. But what you teach your children is the best way of dealing with it. I don't think desensitizing them, or censoring them is the answer. I mean, age appropriate tv is of course a must, but censoring imo makes them more rebellious later on as a teenager.

Jodi - posted on 01/22/2013

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But are they looking UP to those girls, or just watching a TV show? I think that is a question you have to ask. My daughter has NO merchandise from any of those shows, she has never asked for it. She likes the shows, but she has no interest in emulating them in any way. I have never seen any of my kids look up to those sort of characters. I think we, as adults, read far too much into what our kids read into these things.

Do your daughters have Barbie dolls at all? Just interested in knowing where you are coming from. (And just for the record, my daughter has Barbie dolls, but she far prefers playing with her Lego and Hot Wheels cars.....).

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/22/2013

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I remeber having a boyfriend in second grade. I was only 7 and NOT sexualized at all. They can be interested in boys, and think they are cute. Remember back to when you were young.

Holly - posted on 01/22/2013

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Kids first teachers are their parents and girls look up to their mom alot. So I Gerry that... But I guess for me I feel that for me I don't like the idea of my kids looking up to girls that dress or act in a sexual manner.

Jodi - posted on 01/22/2013

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Except that my kids DO know what I think is ok and not ok because I discuss it with them. They also realise that other people might think differently, which is why they see little girls dressed like that down the street, or on TV, or elsewhere, and is why we had so much trouble buying shorts for my daughter when we went shopping yesterday and came home empty handed because both she and I don't like the idea of showing her butt cheeks.

Lakota - posted on 01/22/2013

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I can see both sides. But, I do lean more towards not letting young girls watch a show that has girls around the same age acting and dressing in a way that I wouldn't approve of for my girls (if I had any). I understand that you can't shelter them from things, but, they need to know what their parents think is ok and not ok. Sexualizing young girls is not ok.

Jodi - posted on 01/22/2013

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I didn't take offence. I just don't see that it is an issue of desensitisation. Kids will see inappropriate behaviour/things on TV all the time (and in music, on the street, and so on). Think about advertising of breakfast cereals. DO we ban that because our kids will believe that all those breakfast cereals are good for them, or do we, instead, allow them access to those advertisements, and instead teach them about sugar content and help them with how to read the label and determine for themselves if that particular cereal is actually healthy, and therefore critically assess what the advertisement has told them?

Holly - posted on 01/22/2013

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i am sorry if what i said offended you, i guess it came out that way, i in no way meant any offence, i was just wondering if you thought that way... sorry again for any offense that you took to my reply

Jodi - posted on 01/22/2013

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You're being just a little paranoid in my opinion. Do you really think the kids end up desensitized to short skirts and shorts because they watch Hannah Montana and enjoy the story line? That's like saying that they watch 1950s cowboy movies and become desensitized to gun violence. You go ahead and micro manage your kids lives and teach them nothing about these issues other than what YOU tell them. I will continue to teach my children to think critically about what they watch, see and hear for themselves.

Holly - posted on 01/22/2013

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so you think desensitizing them to it would be a better idea? and then telling them it is not appropriate, as to say i enjoy you watching this, and thinking this is cool, but dressing like this is inappropriate?

Holly - posted on 01/22/2013

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does anyone else agree? or do you think i am going about this in the wrong way? does anyone have a good article related to this topic?

Holly - posted on 01/22/2013

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i think raising awareness of this issue may be a big key to solving this dilemma but i am not sure how to go about doing so.

Lakota - posted on 01/22/2013

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Hi, Holly. I completely agree with you! I have two boys though. It is hard to raise them to respect girls and women by not looking at them as just sex objects, when girls at school, on tv, etc. are half dressed, acting sexual, and the main thing seems to be to get the best looking guy by using their looks. Frustrating.

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