When last did you watch a music video? When last did you see the movies your young adolescents are watching? Did you see the advert on side of a bus for the movie “Sex Tape” or a sexy image of a woman for “Sexpo” and gawk or did you not even register?
Have we become so immune to sex that we do not see it or are we simply turning a blind eye?
The movie The Wolf of Wall Street’s opening scene is confronting (with a naked woman in the most demeaning position imaginable) but this is aimed at adults – my question is does the target audience make it more acceptable or less so?
As adults, we seem to be immune to these images and it is affecting our children, because when these images flick before us we seem to accept them. Alternatively, not even notice them. Or, even worse, notice them, but do nothing. We need to take action.
- As parents, we need to talk to our children about this display of flesh not being okay.
- We need to complain when something is offensive especially when there is a chance that our children will be exposed to this. Report it to your local media centre. (http://childrenandmedia.org.au/taking-action/how-to-complain)
- Introduce and draw your children’s’ attention to the right role models, the ones that use their minds, skills and strength to have a positive influence
- Talk to our children about how these images devalues women and men and focuses on their bodies, not who they are.
- Stand firm when your child dresses like they see in the movies the videos, tell them it is not acceptable.
- Allow your child to be a child, to have childhood values and dreams that do not involve becoming an adult long before they are due.
- Model what is appropriate in terms of your family values, teach them what you think is respectful and what is not.
Steve Biddulph and Justin Coulson recently commented on the inappropriateness of a live performance that aired on television a few nights ago (at a time that was hardly an adult’s only time.) The dancing and the words were suggestive, sexual and inappropriate for tv at a time when kids might be watching. ( This is in my opinion – and while I do not think of myself as a prude I certainly do think of myself as a mum of 3 young girls and I would feel the same way if I had boys.)
I am so pleased my kids were not watching. But what can parents do to explain to the ones that were watching exactly what they were seeing? We need to share that this is not the best way to display your body, this is not the best way to get attention.
As parents, we can use these moments as teaching opportunities for our children, both boys and girls we are so much more than our bodies, so much more than the flesh we expose, and so much more than the way that we look.
Our value is so much more than that, it is in our contribution to the world, the kindness we show to ourselves and others, the growth, development and enhancement of our skills and talents, the lives we positively influence through our love and caring.
Anyone who does not see that this objectifying of men and women is demeaning for all , destroy self-confidence, and diminishes respect for others is walking around with blinkers.
Show your children this sound clip, where men and women respect themselves and each other “by the way that they speak and respect themselves.”
Share the positive message encouraging your children to value themselves, not for how much flesh they show or the sexy image they portray, but for who they are! Teach them what true beauty is.
Do you discuss sexy images with your kids or notice it but say nothing? Will you do something differently next time? Or not even register?