Postcards from Mommywood: Too Sexy, Too Soon
Tween-age girls seducing boys? Believe it.
As the mother of a five-year-old girl, I often wonder how I’m going to protect my daughter from an overtly sexual culture that seems to relentlessly bombard kids with images of seductive clothes, music, television shows and movies. Granted, she’s not even in kindergarten yet, so I have some time before this becomes a real concern.
Still, any time I shop for clothes for her, I’m reminded that childhood isn’t what it used to be. Hip huggers, sequins, and pint-sized versions of sexy adult clothes abound – but not in my house. My daughter has been taught that glitter is cheesy. Sometimes my rules make it difficult to shop for clothes, but we manage.
Editing a girl’s wardrobe is comparatively easy, though; what’s much harder is protecting her against the images of overly enthusiastic girly crushes on boys, and tales of first loves that are more suitable for much older kids. With the likes of Hannah Montana and her real-life counterpart, Miley Cyrus (I’m not a fan of either of them), and any number of shows targeted to young adults but watched by tweens (Gossip Girl and every reality show out there, especially the stomach-turning Jersey Shore) our children are being exposed to aggressively sexual images and behavior at a much earlier age than ever before.
And how’s this for reality? A while back Jamie Lynn Spears, the star of Zoey 101, was all of 17 when she announced that she was pregnant. She was Nickelodeon’s biggest star, for goodness’ sake! She celebrated the birth of her child with a glowing cover story in OK! Magazine. What lesson do you think her fans learned from that?
What concerns me the most is that I think some girls’ behavior may be affected by all this. I don’t know if there’s any correlation, but I have been struck by the number of moms I know who have told me their young sons – yes, you are reading this right – have been “stalked” by girls eager to begin a romantic relationship.
I know this is all anecdotal, but no fewer than three mothers of boys between the ages of 11 and 14 have told me that they’ve had to tell the girls to cool it. And, says one, her son was relieved by his mother’s intervention. “I think he was feeling the pressure to go along with it because it’s what the other kids were doing, but he’s not ready,” she told me. “He couldn’t find a way to tell this girl to back off, so I did, and both of us are tremendously relieved.”