Jump to content

Sexualisation of the young is becoming society's cancer


  • Please log in to reply
2 replies to this topic

#1 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:36 PM

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/contributors...0225-2f1y4.html

QUOTE
Sexualisation of the young is becoming society's cancer

Our overtly sexual environment is generating depressed, lonely people, writes Steve Biddulph.

Fund research into 'sexy' images - expert
One winter's evening in 1992, my wife and I were at Melbourne airport awaiting a flight. An older couple came and sat nearby. They had a small girl with them, aged about four, who seemed restless and a little odd, though it was hard to pin down just why. Suddenly, the girl went and stood in front of a man sitting among the many in the rows of seats. Hitching up her dress, she placed one hand in her knickers, and did a kind of dance, gyrating her hips while keeping her eyes locked on his. The man blushed, the old couple looked studiously in the other direction.

Years of working around child abuse makes you watchful, if not paranoid, and I immediately wondered if this child had been exposed to pornography. Since that is often how paedophiles groom children for sex - showing them things that make it appear fun or normal - there was some ground for that concern. Right then the flight was called. I was racked for days with what I have should done. You can't call airport security and say "that girl was dancing strangely". Twenty years later, we live in different times. Today it's likely the child would have merely watched too much MTV.

The term sexualisation originated in child protection work. It refers to sexual behaviour imposed on someone, as opposed to arising from their own yearnings or desires. Government reports have been carried out worldwide into the phenomenon, and concern has grown that it is a serious problem for the development of girls and boys. Most people think it simply means girls acting too sexy too young.

The trend for cheap clothing shops to sell tacky knickers and push-up bras for eight-year-olds probably epitomises that, along with child beauty quests, and a lack of boundaries around what children see in the media landscape. This concern is not insignificant - Latrobe University's regular surveys of teen sexuality over the past decade show a significant rise in girls starting their sex lives at 14, and having multiple partners while still at school (approaching one in five girls). School counsellors in Britain tell me that 11 or 12 is not uncommon for first sexual experiences. A disturbing proportion are with much older boys. But it's in normal homes that the most pervasive effects are felt - with eight-year-olds dieting and millions of girls declaring that "they hate their bodies".

I believe sexualisation is a deeper and more lifelong issue, perhaps even endemic - and harmful - to gender relations throughout history. Objectification of women was at the core of the feminist struggle. But today, from a completely different quarter, the nature of sexuality for all of us is being modified. For example, boys are being admitted to London's Tavistock Clinic for sexual abuse of sisters or girls at school and found to have been addicted to online porn for years. Some of these boys are only 12 or 13. But it's not just children who are affected. Our whole environment is overtly sexual now and it is changing a once-private activity, with considerable emotional intensity, into a consumer activity with no meaning at all.

In normal development, young people acquire their sexual feelings through hormonal promptings, beginning in the early teens, and most experience considerable shyness and reserve about this. Mid-teen girls are often attracted to very asexual boys (think boy bands) perhaps because this creates a level of safety. Boys too experience strong romantic feelings that may surprise those who believe they ''only think of one thing''. Young couples find holding hands so delicious on its own that it takes months before they would want to go further. Trust and respect are established over time. This is important since the release of oxytocin in sexual activity ties our hearts into bonds which can leave us wounded if they are broken.

Today this is all changing. Many boys learn their sexuality from porn, and fixate not on deep connection, or tender passion, but instead on treating girls like sacks of meat. Distressed girls tell counsellors of gentle boys suddenly becoming callous and hurting them because they think that's how sex is done.

There is something special being lost here. For many young people, sex has become a performance, overlaid with worry about ''How do I look? What tricks do they expect me to perform? How do I compare with others?'' Separating sex from personhood is what sexualisation does. It's robbing us of closeness. Little wonder we have one of the most depressed and lonely generations of young people ever.

It's not just the young. Porn use is very high among adult men, including married men. It's possible that porn is filling a gap in our closeness and lovingness generally. We live in a society that is often too rushed for affection, for attunement between husband and wife, or parent and child. We are a cold culture. Consumer goods and food have replaced intimacy in our lives.

Our earn-and-spend culture edges us towards seeing ourselves as a product. We modify our bodies to compete better in the marketplace. Advertising teaches our young to evaluate themselves merely by their looks.

Unless we redirect ourselves to inner value - kindness, creativity, patience, loyalty, and passion - then we will have nothing to offer our young apart from our credit cards.

Steve Biddulph is the author of Raising Girls, and The New Manhood (Finch Publishing).


#2 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:41 PM

I feel this is a huge issue and I really dont know how to limit this sexualisation of my on children. We have already discussed clothing limits for the future (no bikiinis/padded 'bras'/gstrings) and have disallowed DD from joining the 3-7yo 'vertical gymnastic' (poledancing) classes.
What can we do, both at home, and as a society?

#3 43 other ferals

Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:04 PM

I think creating an environment that allows kids to be kids for as long as possible is one of the greatest challenges facing parents today. It'd be one thing if you were Amish, raising your children in the country without TV and could keep the world at bay.  I don't know the answer except that we have to critically look at all of the books and television and clothes and music and so on in their worlds and for as long as possible try to keep it age appropriate.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Tot meets his heroes, falls apart with excitement

Two-year-old Quincy finished his potty training last week, and as part of his reward he was able to meet his idols.

Beautiful in our eyes: Georgia's story

I will never deny the fact that grief has a place when you give birth to a child who brings a set of circumstances very different to what you imagined. Because for nine months, I thought I knew my Georgie.

'It's been phenomenal': widower dad of quads thankful for support

There was nothing Erica and Carlos wanted more than a baby.

Vin Diesel names daughter after actor Paul Walker

The actor said there was "no other person" he was thinking about when he chose the name.

How midwives can help women who experience domestic violence

More than half of women who live with abusive partners experience violence during pregnancy.

Mum describes giving birth during Cyclone Pam

A new mother was told she must flee Port Vila hospital with her baby as Cyclone Pam bore down.

6 signs you're done having babies

There were a few signs I'm never going back to the land of maternity jeans, breast pumps and bassinets.

Marta Dusseldorp reveals breastfeeding cost her an acting job

Australian actress Marta Dusseldorp has revealed she was forced to withdraw from a Sydney Theatre Company production because a director did not approve of her breast feeding.

Female celebs (or their babies) with traditionally male names

Looking for a name that's a little bit different for a girl? Turn to names that have been traditionally used for males, as these celebs (or their parents) did.

'If you're anti-immunisation ... take a look at this picture of my son'

Greg Hughes is "an absolute shell of a man" as he and his wife Catherine struggle to come to terms with the loss of their newborn son Riley to whooping cough.

How an extrovert can raise an introvert

Introverts are often misunderstood as shy, and sometimes even rude. A timid child can be difficult to build rapport with, but it's important we nurture their sensitive natures.

Sheryl Sandberg's advice

'Choreplay': Help out at home to get more sex, Sandberg tells men

Forget foreplay. The new and improved route to intercourse is "choreplay" - it's good for your spouse, good for your house, and comes with the imprimatur of feminist du jour Sheryl Sandberg.

How to play with your baby

The first time your child learns a new skill at playtime is very exciting - for both you and your baby! Play is important to your child's development for a variety of reasons - here are some simple ideas for you to try at home.

I'm a single mother by choice

For me, being the best mother I can be means being a mum alone, at least for now. Thinking of my friends with inadequate partners, I wonder why more people don’t choose single motherhood.

Awkward wedding photos

Weird poses, surprise photobombs, bizarre editing: these are the wedding photos that should have never seen the light of day.

Four-week-old baby Riley Hughes dies of whooping cough

The mother of a four-week-old Perth baby who died after contracting whooping cough says her family has been left devastated by the loss of her "gorgeous, sweet" son.

Win a Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom prize pack

To celebrate the April 1 release of Holly's Magic Wand on DVD and Digital, we are giving away five DVD packs featuring the newest installment of Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom Holly's Magic Wand and many more hours of family entertainment! Enter Now!

Oh boy! Video shows family's reaction to baby surprise

Little Peyton Williams thought she was getting a baby sister named Charlee. But the two-year-old has had to settle for a doll dressed in pink after her baby "sister" turned out to be a boy.

How to help build up your baby's immune system

We all know that having a strong immune system is the best way to stay healthy – but what can we do to help it along?

'Nick, you need to call an ambulance': home birth mum's tragic death

A Melbourne mum who died after the home birth of her baby pleaded with her husband to call an ambulance because she felt she was going to die, the Victorian Coroners Court has heard.

When dads believe their baby doesn't 'like' them

Q: My two-month-old baby doesn't like me. He's perfectly content with my wife, but when I try to hold him, he gets upset and cries. I've backed off a little, thinking that he just needs a little time to get used to me, but that doesn't seem to be working. I'm starting to think I'm just not a very good dad. Is it too late for me to build a relationship with my baby?

When was the last time a stranger praised your parenting?

Wouldn’t it be great to get some nice feedback every now and then? After all, everyone likes to hear positive praise, particularly when it comes to parenting.

Special Ticket Offer, Save $8!

The Essential Baby & Toddler Show is back this April! Save $8 off the door price for a limited time only!

15 names on the verge of extinction

If you're looking to revive an older name, or don’t want anything near the top 1000 list, check out these rare monikers for your unique baby.

5 characteristics of great dads

It’s great to see a generation of dads who are more actively involved with caring, nurturing and loving their kids.

Why doesn't Australia have more breast milk banks?

When there’s no question that milk banks are important, why don’t we have more of them in Australia?

Carrie Bickmore announces birth of daughter

Television personality Carrie Bickmore has given birth to her second child.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Sign up to our 30 days of #PlayIQ challenge

Sign up to receive 30 amazing tips and ideas for play with baby during the month of April and submit a picture or tip on our social wall for a chance to win an amazing Fisher-Price prize pack.

Man faces jail after giving woman abortion pill smoothie

A Norwegian man is facing jail after putting abortion pills in his ex-girlfriend's smoothie, causing her to have a miscarriage.

'He's a blessing': family of baby born without eyes

Jordy Jackson was born without eyes. He has anophthalmia, which affects one in every 100,000 babies born.

Win one of 5 Cadbury Easter Hampers

With Easter fast approaching, Cadbury are giving away 5 Cadbury Easter Hampers. Enter Now!

Super fit model Sarah Stage defends her pregnancy body

Model Sarah Stage has defended her pregnancy body after critics claimed her slim figure at eight-and-a-half months pregnant wasn't "normal".

Win a Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom and Peppa Pig prize pack

To celebrate the April 1 release of Holly's Magic Wand on DVD and Digital, Essential Baby and Entertainment One are giving away five bumper DVD packs featuring the newest installment of Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom Holly's Magic Wand and many more hours of family entertainment! Enter Now!

Why I post breastfeeding photos online

I love to take pictures of my children. In some of the pictures, my younger son is nursing.

The day I broke my baby

There are things I wish I didn't know. I wish I didn't know that companies make tiny braces, small enough to hold necks no bigger than a wrist.

The place just for dads of multiples

When a couple discovers they're expecting multiples, the dad can sometimes be almost forgotten in all the excitement and preparation. But one group offers a space just for dads of twins and higher-order multiples.

Brave mum calls for domestic violence law reform

A brave mum of two has shared details of the harrowing attacks she suffered at the hands of her partner in a bid to help other victims of domestic violence.

Why I had the new test for Down syndrome

Early last year I turned 35, and having just found out I was pregnant, I opted to have the new test for Down syndrome.

Geeky baby gear

If your family is more into Star Wars, gaming and the periodic table than most, you might want to check out these geek-chic baby items.

2015: the year of the sheep

According to the Chinese zodiac, babies born in the year of the sheep are creative and enjoy spending quiet time with their own thoughts.

Breakthrough genetic testing now available in Australia

Pregnant women will for the first time have access to locally analysed, accurate, non-invasive pre-natal genetic testing when the first Australian clinic to offer the services opens its doors next week.

Grandbabies: the babies born looking old

Not a day under 65 and a lifetime of struggle! That's the look of these newborns, who look adorably older than their real age. Social networking site Reddit recently featured user submissions of adorable grandbabies, here are our favourites.

Family kicked off flight after toddler seatbelt drama

An entire family was kicked off a Cathay Pacific flight when a misbehaving toddler refused to put his seatbelt on.

Stolen baby found after 17 years

A baby stolen from her mother's arms shortly after birth has been found through an astonishing coincidence.

53 creative pregnancy announcements

Announcing that you're expecting can be a time to express your creativity, sense of humour and imagination. Check out how other parents and parents-to-be have broken the news to friends and family.

IKEA hacks for the nursery and kids' rooms

Are you one of those that know the whole IKEA catalogue by heart? Love their stuff but want to personalise it? Here's some inspiration to help you realise the potential of IKEA furniture and fittings.

36 baby names inspired by food and drinks

A French court may have ruled out Nutella as a baby name, but that doesn't have to stop you from taking inspiration from the supermarket (or bottle shop). See what parents in the US have chosen for their delicious little ones.

Clever breastfeeding products

Check out this range of products designed to help make your breastfeeding journey more enjoyable, manageable and convenient.

 

Sign up now!

30 days of #PlayIQ challenge

Receive a daily email from Essential Baby during April with great play tips and ideas, then submit your baby at play photos to our Playwall, Instagram or Twitter for your chance to win.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.