Now, I’m going to preface this by saying I am far from a prude. I enjoy a raunchy joke every now and then, just like many others. I’ve read books that probably bordered on being Harlequin romances. And I certainly don’t cover my eyes at love scenes in a movie. But here’s the thing – I’m an adult, and those are my own personal, private choices. They are not things that I expose my children to, because that would be inappropriate.
Unfortunately today, the idea of inappropriateness seems to be fading from society, especially when it comes to sex. Let’s face it, our culture is over-sexed, plain and simple. Somewhere along the way we have been injected with a huge dose of testosterone and it seems we just can’t get enough.
Sexual imagery is everywhere, surrounding us, but what’s more, our children. Our eyes are bombarded every time we turn on the television – it seems that almost every commercial uses scantily clad women, sexual imagery or humor. To say nothing of the fact that movies like 50 Shades of Grey end up grossing over half a billion dollar in the box office. Or that sexual innuendos are finding their way into children’s movies.
Our ears are subjected to it every time we turn on the radio and hear what is in my opinion, pure filth, from the likes of Nicki Minaj and Robin Thicke. It’s one thing for an adult to buy their cd and listen to it in the privacy of their home, but that songs like that are being played on the radio for our children to listen to in any public place, still blows my husband and I away.
Not to anyone’s surprise, sexuality is even there in print, too. In the United States, the Common Core reading list recommends an extremely sexually graphic book for their sixteen and seventeen year old students to read. The book which gives vivid descriptions of topics such as rape and pedophilia, would make 50 Shades of Grey look like nothing more than a tender love story.
It appears that nothing is safe from sexualization in today’s world. We took the children to the circus today – a small circus put on by a great group, who do phenomenal work with children. I have never had any qualms about supporting them. And yet, even there, in what you would think would be the least likely of places, our randy culture crept in. Granted, I am aware that acrobats need to wear tight-fitting costumes, that’s a common-sense safety issue. However, what was not necessary was for that outfit to be, for all intents and purposes, a bra and panties. And let me tell you right now, I have seen underwear from Victoria’s Secret that offered more backside coverage than some of these outfits. When the acrobats were doing spread-eagles on their ropes in front of my 7 year old boy’s eyes, I was praying that there would not be a wardrobe malfunction, lest he get a lesson on female anatomy.
Breasts were obviously best at the circus. As one of the ladies bounced her ample cleavage around, dancing like she was in a night club, shaking her chest for all to see, I looked down to see my not-even five year old daughter trying to mimic her very actions. My husband and I were both a bit shocked to see the outfit that they had their child performer in – a young girl of no more than ten or eleven, was wearing tight booty shorts and a handkerchief top that barely covered her chest, and that was it. Her full belly and back were bare for all of us to see. Is childhood innocence no longer considered sacred? Are there no longer any lines between what is appropriate for children and for adults?
Today’s North American culture is not an easy one to be trying to raise children in. How am I supposed to teach my son to see a woman’s body as something special, something private and to be respected, when he’s growing up being bombarded by images of nearly naked women at every turn? Like it’s no more special or out of the ordinary than sliced bread? How on earth am I supposed to teach my daughter to value her body, and what’s more, to demand that other boys and men respect it – when she’s growing up being taught by media that flaunting it and using her body to get what she wants, is not only acceptable, but the norm? How am I supposed to teach sexual modesty in a world that increasingly scorns the idea?
These are the questions that many of us parents today are struggling with. Often, parents like myself who are concerned about such things are told, “Well just screen what they read/watch/listen to”, but the problem is that you can’t screen everything. When you can’t even go to a mall or doctor’s office without hearing songs on the radio about sex, or derogatory terms about women, when schools are suggesting their students read books about rape and pedophilia, and when you can’t even go to a family circus without having to hope private body parts don’t pop out of a skimpy costume… the answer isn’t, “Screen it.” Because the problem is, we shouldn’t have to.