Tuesday, July 15, 2008
My child is 13 months old, not out of diapers yet and is still innocent. But I am worried and concerned because children of today have lost their innocence. Images in the media, friends, and to a certain extent I would have to say parents, are encouraging a new generation of children to grow up too fast, exploring sex and sexuality at far too young an age.
I had a conversation with one of my best friends the other day about her nephew who is 15 and she shook her head saying - "fast, he is fast and the girls around him are faster." I was taken aback for a moment and asked "is he sexually active?" her reply "yes, and given the girls around him there is no question why." At this moment my feminist sensibilities sprung up and I tried to stand up for young women but my friend (the mother of boys under 10 said )- "you will see - young girls today are hyper-sexualized and pursue the boys, early".
That was some food for thought. Today I visited myspace (I regularly visit facebook, enjoy it more but still have a myspace account) and saw an image that upset me. A profile picture of a young woman that I have been fairly close to over the years posing seductively in a bathing suit. Technically speaking since she is at college now I suppose she is "grown" and can make her own decisions but everything in me wants to cry out to her "Stop, you are more than your body image, don't you know this?" But then I look at profile images of woman in their mid-thirties, church going women with similar profile photos and wonder is there really any hope? Will my few words make a difference?
Probably not, given the young woman in the bathing suit is sexually active and has dealt with other issues that could certainly contribute to an already low self-esteem. And, the thing is I can relate to her - I made some poor decisions when I was young, but how do you utilize your personal life experiences to help a teenager find their way? Some may even argue that her self esteem is high - if she has the body why not flaunt it? So many images in the media are doing it and it is reasonably acceptable.
My question is - so, what do I do? A mother of a baby boy who will one day become a young man? How do I keep him from exploiting young women? How do I keep him from regarding woman as play things in this society full of misogynistic images of women gyrating in every music video? I guess I can only be the best example possible of womanhood for him, I can continue to raise him in a loving home, teach him to respect woman, hope he follows in the footsteps of his father and of course pray.