Does age change how we perceive a pose?
Exploitative or innocent?
When we teach children from a young age to express their identity in a hyper-sexualized way- what impact does this have on their ability to identify with their achievements, skills, abilities, and goals?
What impact does teaching children to express their identity in a hyper-sexualized manner from a young age have on their ability to skills, abilities, goals, and identify personal achievements?
If a child can identify early on that being sexy and receiving attention from others yields rewards with little effort, what motivates her need to showcase other admirable characteristics or identify with other aspects of her identity that may require harder work, such as studying hard to make academic achievements?
What is your first thought that comes to your mind when looking at this image? What message is being conveyed in this image? What message do you think the words on this tank top gives to an adult… or more so another child?
Some may think the message on this tank top worn by a young girl is “cute”, “funny”, “no big deal”, or “who cares?” However, the message can actually be quite harmful to the tank top’s wearer.
Seeking sexual attention at a young age will impact one’s psychological development. Children who sexualize themselves at such an early age will have greater difficulties recognizing the problematic nature of this type of behavior and may struggle with greater insecurities later in life. If parents can’t help their children make sense what they are exposed to, they are inviting their children to misinterpretation and misinformation.
Now look at the image again:
What this message is actually conveying: I am going through puberty. My breasts are not fully developed, HOWEVER, my reproductive organs are prepared for intercourse during my body’s transitional stage.
NOW ASK YOUR CHILD:
What do these words mean and convey to others?
What’s wrong with this message?
What’s inappropriate about wearing clothing with a message as this on it?
Why would you want to wear something that conveys this message?
Every opportunity, such as this one (asking your child what they think about the above image) is an opportunity to help your child think critically about the messages they receive and help prevent early sexualization.
Engage in a discussion with your child to discuss their perspectives and share your own perspective and beliefs. No parent wants their child to be seen as a sex object. Use discussions to guide your child to understand why NOT and to prevent asking yourself WHY.
The following videos showcase young children engaging in provocative dances, both spontaneous and choreographed. The young children are engaging in body rituals and movements typically performed by adults. Children learn these behaviors and routines from secondhand observation as well as through direct education from choreographers and other children’s dance professionals. Behavior is an important factor in how children are perceived. When children demonstrate or mimic adult sexual behaviors, they are seen as sex objects.
These videos provide an opportunity to discuss both parent and child’s perspective.