The Sexualisation of Children

We all know that as they grow up, kids are desperate to be older than they are, to be allowed to do certain things, wear certain things, go to certain places – whether that be going to town with their friends, wearing makeup, drinking alcohol, and all sorts of things in between. It’s a natural part of growing up.

What isn’t natural is parents sexualising their children. I see this happening more and more often these days and it worries me. And it makes me cross. It happens in all sorts of ways, but a growing trend seems to be in clothing with slogans on which suggest things I really don’t want to think about in relation to children.

Who in their right mind buys clothes for their young daughter with slogans such as “jailbait”, “WAG in training”, “sexy”, “porn star in training” and the like? Why would you? As well as these ridiculous slogans, there’s completely inappropriate underwear available for children too. Why does a seven year old need a padded bra or thongs? Currently on sale in Matalan’s children range is a selection of padded bras and New Look also have a range of padded bras for sale in their Kids and Teen range. Arguably, these could be said to be for teens, but in Matalan they feature in the 3-13 years range. Why does even a 13 year old need a padded bra?

There has been a growing trend over the last few years for teenage girls, and younger, to wear clothes with the Playboy logo on them, to have Playboy pencil cases and other accessories bearing the logo. Lovely. And what does that logo stand for? Is it just a cute little bunny? No, it stands for the PLayboy Bunny, the woman – one of many – who aspires to be a plaything for a rich old man. Is that what we want for our daughters?

It seems that society has decided that no-one needs a childhood anymore. When did it become OK to stop our children being children? Young girls do not need to wear lipstick, nail varnish or other makeup. I know it might be fun to have their nail painted for a special occasion, but primary school aged girls don’t need to wear makeup on a regular basis.

Or am I just being a prude? Should I want nothing more for my daughter than for her to be a WAG? Should I teach her to value her worth in terms of her ability to be sexually attractive?

We are doing our children a serious dis-service by encouraing, wishing, allowing them to grow up before their time. Never again will they be as carefree as they are in childhood and we should not be in a hurry to urge them into the next phase of life.

As a society, we bay for the blood of anyone who commits a sexual crime which involves children. Why then, do we allow shops to sell, and our children to wear clothes with any amount of sexual suggestion?

We should be more careful of the messages we give our children. Describing them as “sexy”, encouraging them to wiggle their bottoms at people, dressing them in inappropriate clothing (all of which I have seen done) is selling them short.

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2 comments on “The Sexualisation of Children

  1. I could *not* agree more! We have such a problem with self image and self esteem – in both our daughters and sons in today’s society and it’s because we are sexualizing them well before their time. I’m not going to be naive and say kids today don’t mature faster than we did as kids – they do – but they don’t need our help in maturing any faster.

    I was shocked and appalled to see a baby’s bikini with “Juicy” written across the butt. WHAT? The bikini I can deal with (barely, if a child is going to wear a two piece, I would rather it be a top and bottom rather than bikini, but hey, I must just be a prude that way) but JUICY? Seriously?

    Until we, as parents, teach our children that their value lies in their minds, their hearts and their ability to be genuinely good people (rather than on some abstract, distorted social definition of “beauty”) then our depression rates, eating disorders and self image issues will continue to be a problem!

    You are not alone. You are not a prude. There are many just like you. We’re just not always as vocal!

  2. I agree with you 100%. I am horrified at what is acceptable these days for children. I have 2 young daughters and it scares me. We actually get told all the time by complete strangers we need to put our girls into modelling. We have contemplated it, but it just does not sit right with me. We of course would not allow certain things, but I feel like putting my daughters into modelling is having them focus on beauty and potentially reinforcing the sentiments in your post. I do not want to set my children up to think attitudes like that are acceptable.

    Actually there is a real push to ban child paegents here in Australia due to the sexualisation of children.

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