Stop Sexualizing Children

This article from edudigest.org.ng got my attention and i’d love to share with you guys.

There is a story told of a recent occurrence. It was a birthday party a pastor and his wife threw for their nine-year old daughter. The party  was well-attended and guests were of all age brackets. There were friends of the parents, colleagues, and friends of siblings. There were well-wishers from church and there were what the Yoruba call ‘mogbomoya’ (I heard about the event and stopped by).

Everything was going well and the mood was electric. The parents and the celebrant could not have asked for better. But THE DEVIL often knows just when to strike and how to make it deep.

Following the usual traditions, the celebrant was called out to the middle of the guests to dance. The pastor’s first disappointment was that the song was not of praise and thanksgiving to God but he could deal with that. It was a birthday after all. Then the girl started dancing. Every sexy move and every seductive twirling of the waist was on the display. Then the girl launched into seduction itself and the man witnessed his daughter perform everything he had ever seen on television and condemned from the pulpit. He was too shocked for words but his daughter was too engrossed to notice. Not with the young guests cheering away and the embarrassed generation doing everything to hide their dismay.

When he managed to look at his wife, his eyes spoke the unmasked words, “how did this happen? When did this happen?’ the woman understood very clearly that there was a problem.

In the end, the pastor rose and virtually stormed out of the room. Some persons who knew there was an approaching storm immediately followed him. They had work to do.

It is idle to begin to ask questions like, ‘who is to blame?’

Damage has been done. If they are lucky, the damage would only be to the reputation and mission statement of the pastor and his wife. The little girl may only have danced what she saw on television and seduction may be the absolute last thing on her mind. In such a situation, a careful retraction would need to happen and there can be no rush. Besides, what has been learned cannot be unlearned. It could be moderated and put into good use. There really isn’t a problem there. The problem is that what the parents thought was watertight was indeed a gaping hole.

Someone has sexualized their child right under their noses.

I often thought I was over-thinking whenever such thoughts came to my mind. Not until I read this stunning Facebook post below and it was amazingly a better than I could have written it.

I have to say this and it is going to offend some persons. Some of the cases where adults have sexually abused female children have been spurred by this kind of situation. The news report would say, “Man 38 rapes 11 year-old girl”. It is wrong and it is disgusting. But when you wonder what would have caused a man to lose his reason, you sometimes find that the 11 year-old looks very different in these new things they wear. The child’s senses are not sufficient to handle fall-outs of the kind of exposures her dressing attracts.
Again I must reiterate that this is absolutely no excuse for man to lose his senses. I also will never make a case for a pedophile. But parents have a duty to ensure that the manner of dressing they permit for their children do not help them draw the attention of abusers of children, whether male or female.

Now please read this masterpiece.

Sexualization of Children by Esther Omowunmi
As I waited in the departure lounge of a local airport, I noticed there were many children about but it was understandable since it was summer holiday. One other thing I noticed was the way most of the children were dressed. Most of them, especially the girls, were dressed in bum shorts, halter necks, cut off jeans, etc. The clothes in themselves weren’t the issue per se; it was the overall look of the children that had me bothered. That was definitely not the first time I noticed it.

A few months before, I had taken my kids to a birthday party and found myself in what could easily have been a night club for kids. Scanty clothing such as tight or very short clothes, bum shorts, long weaves, etc, seemed to be the dress code. I noticed my daughter glancing around her, probably wondering, “What in God’s world are these other children wearing?” Or something like that. Not long after, the kids were called out to dance to the hit songs of the season – these songs in my opinion should be rated PG 13. 4-6 year olds trooped to the dance floor, miming the sexually explicit songs and gyrating their bodies in the most sensual manner. They could have given Beyonce a run for her money.

They ran their hands over their bodies, shook their booties hard while their parents cheered them on. The boys had their upper shirts unbuttoned and rapped along perfectly to gangsta raps while doing flawless break dance.

Those who danced like actual children where shooed off the dance floor while the lewd ones were cheered on. As I watched, my child stared out of this circle looking longingly at the others dancing. I knew it was time to leave. As we left, we went to a eatery where I bought them ice cream and gently explained to them the concept of decency and dancing with decorum.

Another time, at a game arcade for kids, I ran into a lady who had made-up her kids’ faces like they were mannequins for Tara or Mac beauty products. Their skirts were so tight, that running up and down the slide was uncomfortable for them. So the question is, why are we sexualizing our kids? Why does your 4, 6 or 9 year old girl have to look like a chick? Why does she have to be hot or sexy? Should your 8 year old son go around with a comb in his hair and his pants sagged almost to his ankles?

If your child wears bum shorts out of the house at age 3, why should she be expected to wear longer ones at 15? If she wears 2 rings and 12 bangles at 6, why won’t she pierce a second ear hole at 17 and her bellybutton at 19?

Why won’t your son pierce his own ear at 15? Are you setting your children up to be immodest and indecent? What trend are you starting them on? That all these are fashionable or trendy doesn’t mean it’s ok.

Some parents even dress their children like this to church. Church!

What are you teaching the child? What happened to children wearing dresses to church? Children can look very nice and decent, they can be well covered and still look good. In this age, when children are being abused, is it wise to make your child an object of anyone’s sexual attention?

When I hear some children belt out sexually explicit lyrics, I ask myself how they became exposed to these songs! As a parent, you can’t play the CD of such songs and not expect your children to pick them up; the same goes for watching Mtv Base, Channel O, etc with your children. Studies have shown that children exposed to a high level of sexually explicit information tend to become sexually active early. Is that your goal as a parent?

Being a Parent involves sacrifice. You will need to avoid listening to such music where your children are.

Most of those lyrics demean women and teach your daughter that she’s just a intimacy gadget and her body is for squeezing. It teaches the boys that money is everything and women are things to be used to satisfy their primal urges. This kind of music introduces them to a degrading pop culture.

Our children have their lives ahead of them, let’s set them on the right path by teaching them to dress decently and sing nice or age-appropriate songs. Let your children be children. Train up a child in the way that s/he should go and when s/he is old, s/he would not depart from it.

Do you agree that children are unnecessarily exposed to sexually explicit elements? Is it possible that some parents are victims themselves or is it that they don’t know any better?

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Christiana

Christiana

I'm Christiana Oni (Sanchez May), a writer, lover, friend & teacher. Anything that comes in chocolate form is definitely my favorite.
Christiana

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