Hot, Sexy…12 year olds?

I’m sure that many of you saw Rebecca Black’s “Friday”, a music video that was featured on Comedy Central and has been trending on Twitter for 3 days straight. I decided to explore around the YouTube channel that had produced the video, “trizzy66”, and found a strange series of wannabe Mileys, Selenas, and Taylor Swifts. In sifting through the videos, I found quite a few that portrayed these young women (we’re talking 12, *maybe* 13 years old) in an alarmingly hypersexualized way.


Hypersexualizing Youth=Negative Sexuality

The sexualization of young people is a concern for anybody who advocates positive sexuality, because the expression of these complex behaviors, at the naive age of 10-13, suggest that these are ideas being imposed upon them. Contrarily, there is another school of thought that speaks out against the sexualization of youth because it reflects a decline in social morale. My approach is not directly related to morality, but rather, the reality that this behavior is a manifestation of indoctrination into pop culture; a hypersexualized world tells young people that their only worth stems from their body, their romantic relationships, and consequently, from sex. It is my belief that young people should instead be nurtured to find value in their abilities, in their ideas, in community contribution, in positive relationships, and in strong communication. Sexuality should instead be a tool toward self-actualization and identity when young people become capable of processing it physically and emotionally, typically toward the upper teen years. The trend right now is to push ideas of “sexiness” upon children before they are capable of understanding what “sexy” even is, therefore indoctrinating them into a particular idea of “sexy” that is often sexist, disempowering, objectifying, and materially based. Not only this, but exposure to these ideas without the capacity to properly process them predisposes young people to unhealthy sexual and cognitive development (APA Task Force on Sexualization).

What forces are contributing to the hypersexualization of youth?

1. Clothing
Shorter, tighter, more skin, sexualized text (i.e. “eye candy”, “baby doll”, “wink wink”), higher heels, makeup acceptable at a younger age.

2. Music
Music, even if aimed at an older audience, reaches young ears as it pumps through mainstream music sources. (Consider Rihanna’s “S&M”, Lil’ Wayne’s “Lollipop”, Britney Spears’ “If You Seek Amy”)

3. Toys
“Bratz” dolls, particularly Yasmin model
Lingerie Barbie (released in 2002)
Monster High dolls

Consider also: halloween costumes, TV shows, books, beauty products, etc.
MORE EXAMPLES:
Little girls dancing to “Single Ladies”
Pole Dancing Doll
Little Lewd Riding Hood

What can we do?

Implications of the APA task force on Sexualization

1. Give primary acknowledgment to their achievements.
2. Talk to young people about being critical consumers. What kind of messages do their belongings send to them?
3. At the appropriate age, initiate conversations about healthy sexuality vs. sexualization.
4. Set a positive example yourself.

Toward healthy sexuality,

117 thoughts on “Hot, Sexy…12 year olds?

  1. It pains me to see this, my little sister is only 6 and loves wearing light makeup, occasionally to school. I have the debate with my mother that at this early stage it will give her a poor self image and lock her into a lifetime of tying overpriced warpaint to her self image.

    She counters with the peer pressue children suffer at school especially if they are differant. If the other mothers are willing to let their daughters dress and act well beyond their age, she must if she wants to fit in. Kids are vicous to non-conformists.

    Its a horrible situation, the whole “make-up = sex appeal” false equivilence has permeated the market to the point where mothers en masse dont question if letting their children wear it is a bad idea.

    • I dunno about the makeup thing honestly:P
      when i was little i used to love when my mom would corl my hair and let me wear her lipstick to school
      MOMMY DAUGHTER BONDING!!!<3
      and it made me feel pretty but i didn't feel ugly without it. i was 4, 5, 6 years old it didnt matter to me what i looked like
      but when my mom did do my makeup and my hair it made me feel very fancy;)

    • Its sad that parents would rather teach their children to conform in be safe then challenge and be yourself. This road isn’t an easy road, but I feel its a very satisfying one.

      And you know, the funny thing is even when your children ‘conform’ to the standards of the other children, they still find a way to bully/tease/harass. So its technically a lose/lose situation. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      I guess its choosing the lesser of two evils.

      Sorry to hear your mother is putting your 6 year old sister through this. : / Not to say your mother is a bad person or anything.

    • I was born in 1992 and I can remember going to school in the 90′s with a few girls wearing makeup in 1st grade onwards. It wasn’t really light makeup either, it was full on blush, eyeliner, and eyeshadow with perfectly plucked eyebrows. There’s no way a 6 or 7 year old could do that on their own, so I’m 100% positive their mothers were doing their makeup every day for them.

      Honestly, because all the prettiest girls wore it, I wanted in on it too. Luckily my parents didn’t let that happen and I was put off on wearing anything till my teens. But still, it’s kind of sad how early people want to make their kids sexual objects and what kind of consequences could result from doing it :/

    • yeah i have a little sister that is only 8 and is full on make up and she has a face book and everything! i try to convince my mom that she is too young to have all these things. Im worried about her, because i dont know if my mom is talking about getting her a phone! And im only 13 and i dont have lloys of make-up! i just barely got a facebook! im just worried that shes going to grow up without any friends because she will always be om electronics, talking back, and being a spoiled brat! and a reason im so worried is because shes my little precious sister.

    • I don’t care what YOU say about peer pressure, this is NOT appropriate for a young girl! By letting your little girl get into such activities, you are setting her up to be used in a sexual way in the future and should have your little girl taken away from you! You are NOT responsible enough to have any kids!

  2. I am 13 years old. Just to be clear, I’m not on this website because I am sexually active. This is the closest thing to sex ed I am going to get, and while I’m not acting on it, I don’t want to be thrown from my tiny private school, into a massive public school, and not know anything.
    I see the hyper-sexualized kids my age, and younger, all over the place. They talk a big game, but they are uneducated. Older students (i.e.) Seniors will have sex with them, and break their hearts. They think they are in love, they think they are adults, but at the end of the day, they get taken advantage of. I see the messages in the media, and I try to remind myself,
    I am 13 years old.
    I haven’t seen everything,
    and people suck.

    • I think this is very wise of you. Even thought I knew of sex and my mom had made it clear I could talk to her any time (boy, has that been awkward), there are SO many things I’ve learned just today having just discovered Laci and watched all of her youtube videos. I wish I had known all of this back when I started experimenting (in 8th grade, I’m a Junior now). I’m just lucky I didn’t get an STD or pregnant. Knowledge IS power. Glad I’m getting it now. But hey, better late than never, right?

  3. I’m really curious to see when this form of exploitation will reach it’s peak so we can move back to a more sane portrayal of young teenagers.

      • You know something I’ve noticed? Parents have BIG influence on how their children feel about themselves.
        My mother grew up the 8th of 9 children. All of her siblings made a point to make her life miserable. While 6 of her sisters were born fairly close to each other, there was a 5 year gap between her and the child before. As a result she was cut off, made fun of, a ridiculed in her own home, resulting in low self esteem and no shield or strength for the inevitable ridicule at school that we ALL face.
        My mother knows the reason behind her self loathing when she was a child, and because of that, she has NEVER let me feel worthless. And if she ever does or even feels she might have, she apologizes and tells me she loves me.
        I’m am a 16 year old girl with more confidence in my beauty and feeling or self worth than almost all other girls around me ages 10-18. I know I’m beautiful, I know I’m special, and I know I deserve the BEST out of my life and nothing less.

        Thank you to my mother, for never letting me think different.

        It REALLY pains me when my 13 year old friend’s feeling of worth depends on her relationship status, or when my 10 year old friend is wearing makeup and dying and cutting her hair so many different ways, trying to be pretty when she already is. But what causes me the greatest pain is when the guy I love, the one I think the world of, brushes my words of admiration and love away, because he doesn’t think he’s worth it.

        Love yourselves all. Because you. ARE. worth. it.

        • I loved your words. Just a quick question though. Did your mother’s parents not treat her well either? Torment from siblings is one thing, but from parents it is often much more life altering.

          • It took a while, but, my grandmother and my mom formed a bond. The reason it took so long is because even though my grandmother loved my mom, her feelings towards talking about sex and relationships were that they were “no no” subjects. Also, PDA was few and far between in that family. Only once did my mom ever see her parents kiss, and before that, she wasn’t even sure they loved each other. To add to that, my grandfather was a JERK. A simple minded sexist pig, who’s wife and 8 daughters were there to serve him. I sometimes swear ONLY my strong minded and willed grandma could put up with him.
            Keeping both of those in mind, my mother went out seeking for “love”. Without any sexual talks with her mother (which have always helped me), or any advice with how to deal with boys and relationships, she went looking in all the WRONG places.
            My mom lead a pretty rough life style for a while and was actually selling her body. And even though she knew it was out there, it was her firm belief that birth control, isn’t right. She’s very religious and feels that if God’s going to make you pregnant, he will. I don’t know if she knew about STDs at the time though.
            Anyway, it took forever for my mom to get pregnant, even with her active sex life. For a while, she thought she couldn’t, till about her mid 20s when she had her first baby boy who she put up for adoption. Between that baby and me, she had had 2 miscarriages. One caused my her now ex husband who had thrown her across the room.
            Then, when my mom was 36, I was born! But mom was high risk for pregnancies, and I tried to come WAY early, and she had to hold onto me with this nasty medication and constant bed rest for 11 weeks. But, I was born a healthy 7lbs 1oz.

            Sorry I talk so much. lol…I’m big on conversations. I just have so much to say! My life story’s fairly interesting I think.

            • Wow, that is definitely an interesting story. My mom had great, great parents that were always great to her, but she got into a really bad arranged marriage. The guy was a jerk, and for years she was taking abuse from him. Finally, she decided to leave with me (8) and my sister (4). So I totally know what you mean about your mom always trying to look out for you, I’m glad you’re so positive.

      • my sister is 18 and legal to have sex but shes tried to have sex before age 10 I`ve stoped her from being arrested so many times my memory is full.But she is in the room next to mine and its driving me nuts!!!!!”fuck me”go on im open”if your not going to i`ll break up with you she has gone through 16 boyfriends in the last month and she wont stop I hear her now”come on just one little fuck” ut oh boyfriends yelling”ok i`m leaveing!!!” that makes 17 boy friends:| oh here she comes “I`ve got to go find a new boyfriend see ya”(slams door)ok I got to get my sister from stipping in public bye(closes door softly).

  4. I make it an absolute goal in my life that my future children will be spoken to regarding issues such as these… I don’t believe in hiding information for when their “of age”. In todays culture soo much needs to be said now and these youth need the cold hard facts. Because the public certainly has no restraint in taking what is left of the innocence young teens have left.
    If they know the facts and what a positive body image is at an early age… Tweens and teens now wouldn’t have to over-sexualize themselves to achieve the young population’s narcissistic definition of beauty and sex…. This is really just sad

    • I totally agree with you. I feel that they should be told when they start having puberty. I see a lot of parents that are afraid to tell their child these things. They expect the school and teachers to give them the “talk”. It’s really sad. Luckly I was thought really well and my parents has no problems with me. They totally trust me. I’m so glad. :)

  5. It seems silly that clothes are “sexy” at all. Why is skin associated with sex? Why wear makeup? Our bodies and the act of sex shouldn’t be seen as things that effect our social standing. Sex should be portrayed as what it really is, and clothes should be abolished.

    • I think most girls, at least in Modernized and more Western Cultures would disagree. Not so much about the nudity aspect, but bras really help certain body parts from flopping around everywhere. And even though this is might contradict your point, I suspect that most guys (and likely most women) don’t want to see other guys’ penises flopping around either.

      • This is all just our vison of beauty but there are clothes that offer support without using more cloth and covering than neccessary. Obviously nakedness isn’t realistic always, but why censor it? Why hide the human body?

        • I agree with you there for the most part. But let’s face it, there’s a strong case for the “not all bodies are created equal” opinion. But really each case is unique and everyone should be entitled to their choice of who they see and who they let see them naked.

    • I’m not going to lie, that’s a rather naive suggestion. I’m Canadian and most certainly not going without clothes during fall or winter. Clothes have been around since before the sexualization of the nude body, and have always been meant as protection against the elements. Unlike animals we need this protection as we’re unequipped with fur or feathers.
      Not to mention, fashion isn’t inherently bad. Hell, trying to dress sexy isn’t either. Yes, the nude body is beautiful, and I’ve seen in many times in a nonsexual manner, and it doesn’t stir up these feelings. It’s about how a person is raised, not the clothes surrounding them.

  6. It’s a little crazy how we vilify places like polygamist sects for forcing young girls into sexual relationships at such a young age but in the rest of society we find ourselves rewarding the girls that act this way. I am in a job that puts me into contact with people of all ages and it is constantly surprising to me how parents are allowing this to happen with their kids.

    25 years ago when I was in grade 7 the most attractive thing girls were wearing was stirrup pants, made us guys take notice of bottoms for the first time. Everywhere I look now I see tights without skirts and tops so low cut that they reveal as much as a bikini would.

    We need to take our heads out of the sand and begin to say no to our children once again. “No, you don’t need an iPhone. No, you don’t get to wear jeans worth $250. No, you can’t stay out past 7 on a school night.”

    • Everybody talks about the clothes, but going on Facebook for five seconds, all anyone ever talks about is SEX. And hardly in a Sex+ way. We are talking 12 year old girls dating 17 year olds with only one thing on their mind… I don’t want to say the human body is a bad thing, but we all know what’s going on.

    • As much as I agree with your statement, the unfortunate reality is that if you don’t give your child a cell phone at age 6, or don’t buy them $250,- jeans at age 8, they’ll probably be alienated by the children of parents that DO buy their kids that stuff.

      My ex had a little sister, she was just 4 years old at the time and she got picked upon by other kids her age because she wasn’t wearing “real” Nike’s.
      What the fuck! What kind of kind of adults will spawn from this generation that values a person’s worth based on material possession AT AGE 4?!?!?!

      • I’m 19 now and back in the middle school days I didn’t have a cell phone or jeans that cost more than 30$, and yes i did get alienated, but you have to understand, that only those people do that who dont matter anyways. Friends would never alienate friends for wearing cheaper clothes or not having a cool cell phone.

        Right now I have a cell phone from 2001 with which I can call or text but do nothing more, but I dont need to anyways.
        My parents are rather wealthy and they could have gotten me all the worthless crap other kids got, but they didnt. I think the parents need to be reeducated, not the children, they dont know any better than to follow their parents lead

        • I agree that alienation amongst children has been around for ages. However, it’s seems the motives have changed dramatically, as well as the scale at which it’s happening. It’s becoming more and more common that children will ridicule and exclude others at a VERY young age based on their material wealth. This isn’t something that either party seems to “grow out of” over time, but rather this behavior stays dominant till, and even during adulthood.

      • Look i’m 13 years old i’m a boy i don’t even know how people use cell phones i haven’t been alienated just because i like wearing my father’s clothes of the 60′s or having a screwed up shoe i have lots of friends i haven’t been alienated i actually depends on the region of the world,just like in my school everywhere you walk you see students with those new cellphones swearing at each other talking about sex and how to “fuck the bitch right in the ass” and girls that are like 12 talking about their 18 years old boyfrieds!!! all i prey everyday is that i go back to the 50′s because i can’t stand my generation

  7. i am concerned with their health and their wellbeing as children, mentally and physically. it is like an illusion that fooled even me once. back when i was in high school, i saw a girl and thought she was probably 17 like i was but when i pointed her out to one of my friends, my friend scolded me and said that the girl i noticed was really an incoming freshman! i felt disgusted with myself and scared for her. this seemed to me like a dark glimpse of the future for the girls being used for their bodies and the boys who commit the various crimes even now. i know it sounds bad but a large group of middle school boys tried to jump me in order to take my attractive friend away from me and most likely rape her (and i am not being over-dramatic).

  8. This is an interesting and unsettling thing. One that seems like it can only end by a huge cultural shift. These days(because I’m so old right) EVERYTHING is blatantly-often ridiculously-sexual. And I feel like it’s only getting worse.

    Now if you’ll excuse me.
    I need to go clear out my browsing history.

  9. My sister is 11 and im 21. When we were growing up, I dont ever remember everything being so in your face sexual. There was always a choice for kids, now its just rihannas ass in everyones face whichever channel you go on. My sisters friends are singing S&M and looking at celebrity styles. Venessa Hudges’ etc etc leaked sex photos? They’ve seen them. This is what their so called role models are showcasing to them. It’s just disgusting. I didn’t know about that stuff til i was about 15/16, and that was a good age. Children are so impressionable. We used to think we knew it all, were so ignorant. But we didnt have blowjob competitions at 12.

  10. Thank you, Laci! I’ve felt the same way about this alarming trend, for years… I noticed it when I was in middle school; but, back then, I was just starting to go through puberty, and it really didn’t phase me. Now, though, the old saying that “sex sells” has become literally true… and, sadly, too many youth in our culture are buying into it. I know this is a sex-positive thing and all, but sometimes there’s such a thing as being sex-obssessed… and, that’s what’s happening with kids these days (I feel so old, using that phrase; but, it needed to be said)!

  11. While reading this I can’t help but remember what I recall being “fashionable” at the young age of 8-12 years old. Limited too (now ironically named “justice” ) was popular at that time, and while I was fooled into thinking it was “cool” back then, I look back in disgust.
    After browsing briefly through the online stores for young girls, it seemed to me like they were just miniature versions of what I see young women my age (18-19) wearing today. Usually trying to mimic the image of a fashionable and sexy teen, and it worked because at that age, older girls are just so cool! (see, disney channel shows like hannah montana)
    I remember that by 6th grade (11-12) many girls started to think they were a lot older than they were. Make-up was almost necessary at this age if you wanted to be the slightest bit “cool”… And it was absolutely absurd if you haven’t started to shave your legs by then.
    Even more absurdities were made apparent once we were required to change in the locker-room for gym. Girls who were 11-14 years old wearing padded bras and thongs!

    Uhg, and don’t even get me started on the fake made-up images of thin “fashionable” tweens that helped feed my already low self esteem. I didn’t know any better then, and now I’m stuck with the task of trying to reverse it. A bit off topic, I admit, but I definitely think the hypersexualization of children, as you call it, contributes greatly to future self esteem and body image issues (along with sex negativity and ignorance, of course ).

    *Sorry this is sort of a female centered post… This is just what I experienced, and I just so happen to be female. I’m aware the problem isn’t exclusive to young girls. :)

    • Wow, I can completely relate to what you’re saying. I was obsessed with Limited Too from around 2nd to 4th grade, until it was only cool to wear Abercrombie (a store I think we can all agree is super sexualized). I started shaving in 5th grade also out of self-consciousness, although I did it without parental consent.
      I’m trying to reverse it now too! I’m not sure if you’ve experienced this, but I often wonder if my sexuality now is a product of being sexualized when I was young. My parents definitely tried to shelter me from it, but it was difficult to do, and I’m sure it’s had some effect on me (not that I blame them whatsoever). But hey, at least we realize it and try to fix it, right?

    • Gosh I remember Limited Too. My best friend at the time was a couple years ahead of me and she was always wearing it. As such, I was a first grader who had made it my personal mission to become as advanced and fashionable as a grown-up third grader. And it was mental. Bought all this Limited Too crap. I’d run extra laps around the track each day because I thought I could burn away my baby fat. What a dumb kid I was.

      And my middle school best friend was sure a doozy, too–all dyed hair and thick eyeliner and impeccable style. And of course I had to live up to whatever she was, so now I’m the girl with dyed hair and thick eyeliner and impeccable style. And the funny thing is that now I’m confident like a bull. It took me til high school but through the goals set by my own insecurities I became the chick people feel insecure around. Which is terrible, but also quite nice.

      Aaaand this quickly became a rambling and I’ve lost the point I planned to make. Whoopsies.

  12. I have two little sisters. My parents are not the kind of people to talk about sex with their children, or even let us have knowledge of the act. When my first little sister was in first grade, I remember her telling me what her “friend” told her about sex. The things her little friend told her were all things she learned from watching R rated movies, which her parents let her watch. What kind of parents can let their first grade daughter watch R rated movies, and furthermore, not explain anything? It’s rediculous. The really pathetic part: my second younger sister had a very similar conversation with me the following year about what her classmate told her. It makes me anygry that those children’s parents can’t take the respoinsibility for their children, but it makes me even more angry that my little sisters had to learn about the greatest act of love between two humans from their classmates when they had barely even started school.

    • Did you ever ask if those kids’ parents do take the time to explain things to their own kids? Just maybe not other children? Letting a kid watch something for adults and not taking the time to explain it is pretty irresponsible. Even so, and not to sound judgmental, but it doesn’t say much about your parents if they don’t keep track of what their young children are exposed to outside of the home. But honestly, kids often get into things they shouldn’t, so it would be unfair to say that your parents or their friends’ parents are capable of knowing everything their child is exposed to. But kids have a way of repeating things they learn, so if they say something completely wrong to you or a parent about what they think sex is, is it more irresponsible to get upset and scold them for speaking out and possibly making future conversations more difficult or to actually correct them and explain the truth(and this goes way beyond sex)?

      But you raise an excellent point about what kind of damage NOT talking to your kids about sex can cause. Kids as young as preschoolers are very impressionable but are also a lot more understanding and open than adults give them credit for. While a 1st grader may not understand the inner workings of sexual intercourse at a physiological level (and really how many adults can honestly say they know that?) there are ways to explain things to a child in his/her own language, and that alone can go a long way.

  13. First of all I gotta say Ive never been this impressed with the maturity of a 13 year old before.

    Sadly this has been going on for some time now. I remember shortly after graduating high school or even in my last year of high school that there were 13 year old girls having sex. As a society something has definitely gone amiss when you start seeing that because kids at that age do not have the mental capabilities or maturity to deal with the complex emotions and meanings behind sex

    • And when you consider the age disparity between these young girls and their male partners it’s even more disturbing. Although even when I was in high school I had a couple of friends who were 14 and they had sex with girls the same age. One of my friends even said he used two condoms when he lost his virginity, which as you may know can actually increase the risk of the condom tearing. A dumb 14 year old likely doesn’t know that. Ironically, he did it because he was so scared at the time. I lost my virginity a bit later, didn’t wear a condom, but my girlfriend at the time was using birth control and we were both tested for and free of STDs. Honestly, that’s one reason to wait. Plus I bet it felt better than two condoms ;-)

  14. The sad thing is that there are people who don’t have a problem with this. I can’t believe there are still people who think the media doesn’t play a huge role on shaping how we think.

  15. Is this something that is truely new? 12-13 is around the age when some (not all) girls start to develop sexually and I think its ridiclous that the media and society is entirely to blame

    What do you think these 12-13 year olds did BEFORE society developed?

    They still flaunted their sexuality and..

    They still had sex.

    I’m suprized laci… usually you are one to look at the big picture but this one must of hit a sensitive spot

    • I’m sorry but what?

      Girls that young don’t normally sexually show themselves off or have sex. Thats the result of society and the hormonal crap they pump in our food.

      Girls of that young an age are still developing, if what I read about the development of children into adults is wrong, young women’s sexual development actually stops around that time and starts up around late pre-teens.

      What kind of girls are YOU talking about? Lol

    • No. Just …no. Thinking about sex (which yes, I did when I was 12) and having sexual desires/fantasies is NOT the same thing as having sex, or wishing to have sex.

  16. I think its kind of funny/sad that we’ve done almost a 360 in what age is to be sexualized or thought of as sexualized. You look at our ancient civilizations and even the early years of European countries where women were married off and expected to be sexual at this age of 12-13. Then as time moves on sex is not to be considered even by 20 something year olds, and then we have a sexual Renascence (not the first in all this time true but certainly the easiest to point to) in the 1960′s and as the barriers keep getting pushed somehow we are back where we started and no wiser for the journey.
    I’m no moral relativist but this is sort of a weird cycle to be trapped in, and yet we can only see it standing at this end.
    In the end I think whatever age we end up deciding is okay for having sex at is the age that should presented as sexualized.
    Is that age 12-13? Probably not and I’d like to think that isn’t just the last few 100 years of social conditioning talking.

    • I guess it really depends on the circumstances. Back in ancient times I doubt there was much emphasis on the psychological aspects of young people having sex. And while our bodies tell us that males and females can reproduce in their early teens (women as young as 10 or 11), it certainly doesn’t mean we have the mental capacity to raise children yet, especially in a 21st Century world. Tribes in Africa may see things differently, but their way of life is completely different. It’s also hard to name a time before the 20th century where women were more than simply child bearers and keepers of the household, that’s of course discounting examples where men still held women in higher regard than that.

      You definitely bring up a good point, but seeing as this isn’t my blog, I’ll stop blabbering :)

    • One on the main reasons people in the Renaissance, Middle Ages and other past times had arranged marriages and were “sexualized” so early is because those people had MUCH shorter lives! Today our life expectancies are much longer, we should take advantage of this, but many don’t! It doesn’t even make sense to have youth “throw away their childhood” because of society’s impressions on them. If we are living longer then why can’t it wait? Why can’t children just be happy and fun instead of worrying about things that don’t really matter towards the rest of their life? Advertising and media often cultivate products and images that effectively persuade impressionable minds. And the ones that have filled their heads with this nonsense spread this idea through peer pressure etc. You can’t just assume this is a a “cycle” of the age of sexualization because the reasons this is happening are different. (arranged marriages vs society in general today)

  17. I think this trend toward sexualizing the youth, especially young women, really took off during the late 90s with the rise of Britney Spears, and to some degree Christina Aguilera. Of course I’m not saying that it didn’t happen before that time period, I mean just watch Natalie Portman in the movie “The Professional” from 1994. But with Britney Spears, she was EVERYWHERE and I was also a horny as hell 14 year old male in 1999. And boy did that school girl outfit do it for me, I can’t even imagine how girls my age felt about having to compete or rather live up to that. Britney may have tried to play the innocent virginal teenager but her music videos and expression certainly didn’t scream role model. She had everything and still hit rock bottom, and I can’t see how it is NOT related in someway to how she was portrayed when she was 15-16. Then there was the Lizzy McGuire show on Disney. While not nearly as blatantly sexual as what we see today, there was certainly some borderline sexuality of a young girl even for Disney. But most recently, the rise of Miley Cyrus.

    Just looking at who young girls have to look up to it’s no wonder we’ve headed into the direction we are in where people are trying to make money on the sexualization of our young girls. I’m glad I’m not the only one who took time to look through trizzy66′s other videos and noticed the same theme Laci did. I think you can certainly see an upward trend on the using the sexuality of young girls to sell products over the last decade alone. It not only sets an unreachable goal for young females, it attracts a wider demographic, some that probably shouldn’t be attracted. I do agree with that there are also plenty of things that kids see that may not be targeted to them as you pointed out with Rhianna, Britney Spears, Lil Wayne and so on.

    I’m all for people expressing themselves openly but I’m right with you that 10-13 year olds still have plenty to learn about themselves and sexuality in general before they can mentally distinguish sexualization from sexuality. The adults have definitely failed this generation of young people (10 year olds and even young adults) in doing that. Women are left with feeling like prudes if they don’t conform or sluts if they go too far. What we’ve lost is the fact that being sexy is far less about how much skin you show or how tight fitting your clothes are as has become the narrow definition of the word sexy. Sexiness can entail so much more, confidence, smarts, education, beauty beyond makeup, almost an endless list. It’s kind of sad that we can’t hold ourselves to a higher standard if it means going against the norms of society. Of course I can’t really speak for women since I am in fact not a woman, but I think I might be on to something…

    On a different note, I feel kind of bad for the girl in the Friday video because of all the negative publicity and quite frankly hate she has gotten over the video/song. She’s 13 herself and while that particular video isn’t by any means hypersexual, it does scream that someone isn’t looking out for her best interests. Another issue for another time I suppose.

  18. I notice Laci that you forget the mention the sexualisation of Justin Beiber. He is older than 13, but he is shown to be FAR younger than he is.

    It happens to men too.
    Now I wana be hot :(

    Tom
    xx

  19. For those in the UK, there is http://www.thefrontpagecampaign.org.uk/ This website aims to raise awareness of the sexual media that children are often subjected to. UK residents can also sign a petition through this website which urges the Government to introduce an enforce laws that will protect children from sexual media.

    • The UK campaign is not about awareness-raising, it’s about prohibition and censorship – a poisonous and sex-negative reaction to ‘sexualisation’. Check the mission statement. This is not about putting power in the hands of the people or young girls to develop their own critique, or their own media to give them more control and ‘agency’.

      It does deserve credit for ‘taking on the big boys’ for a change (Page 3 of The Sun, etc) instead of persecuting the same old scapegoats, e.g. teens with their own model sites – which, contrary to mythology, actually help build the self-esteem of many who are a dress size or 3 too large for the runway/catwalk.

      Concentrated media power is compressing the definition of ‘sexy’, whereas the pariahs (teen-model sites) develop greater diversity of what counts as feminine beauty.

      On a broader point – the sex-negative / censorious / prohibiitionist approach, fuelled by mass-media hysteria around youth sexualisation, results in the insanity of public sex-offender registers populated by children, stigmatised for sexting and playing doctors and nurses. Nazi-style persecution of kids in the name of child protection is no solution.

  20. America is really strange right now, it 75% Christian and censors sex and nudity far more than violence. Its not uncommon for a prime time TV show to feature buckets of blood and gore, but nudity is never shown.

    Then we have the hypersexualization of women in pop culture, specifically the music industry. From a young Britney Spears in a school uniform to Miley Cyrus half naked in bed sheets. And boys aren’t immune to it either, while boys tend not to be depicted as teenage whores, culturally having sex, and losing ones virginity is a requirement to be considered a man. I was a very late bloomer and didn’t have my “sexual debut” until a few months ago, when I told this to the girl I was seeing late last year, she joked that “now I’m a man”, and it hurt, we may not hang out, and she broke my heart, but I still love and respect her. Before the debut I lied frequently about my sex status, even when I was a Christian. Being a man in my late twenties and being a virgin is like being a modern leper.

  21. i find it funny as can be, this is our society and government these days. if anything they wont stop this goes far beyond just the trends and pornography. i mean really i’m only 17. but i’m glad im not a dumnbfuck like the rest of the idiots at my school – all the girls wear short shorts – mini skirts – high heels and when a fight comes breaking out? some girl gets her shirt ripped off.. its so pathetic that we live in a nation such as this, and yet our government has the audacity to react the way they do. sure i’m getting a bit offtopic. but i might aswell seeing how all of this relates. i wonder when our society will ever grow the fuck up…oh well i hate america for that reason and i’m an american LOL

  22. This IS scary. I have a 10 year old friend who swears to have had several boyfriends and be bi. I’m sorry, but, in my opinion, you can’t truly KNOW your sexuality, until you’re old enough to start having a relationship. But for this girl, it’s all about the # of people, and not the quality of their relationship.
    I, for one, had bisexual tendencies starting my 6th grade year…we won’t go into details lol. But me first really thinking I could be bi, was when I was a Freshman and began to become more aware of my actions around girls, and my thoughts when I saw their breasts. Nothing nasty! ok? lol…just, admiration.
    Ever since 8th grade I’ve had “wives”. Pretty much people who were my BEST friends.
    And then, this last October (Junior year), I made out with the first girl I had since I was 11. And later, she became my girlfriend. But she lived two hours away, didn’t work.
    Nowadays, my “wives” consist of other bi girls I know and love, who are just my friends. Although there is one I’d love to date, but my only other GF I almost never saw, so, I’m still new to this. lol
    But, this is just my opinion. It might change as I learn and see more. Tell me what you think. Is my 10 year old girl really bi, or just curious, as many girls are at her age?
    I think it’s for the attention. She LOVES the looks. lol

    • I actually started questioning my sexuality at 10. Lots of people know what they are through-out childhood.
      Can a 10 year old be straight? There’s another question.

  23. You know, seeing everyones comments I don’t blame a lot of people for home schooling their children. They say its crucial part of their development to interact with other children, but the only thing I learned was that A) most people are idiots/followers and B) I rather be by myself then with people who value materialistic things.

    Of course every person is different, but its still very sad.

    Its also sad that we hypersexualize these young girls AND boys! No one mentions the boys! Is it because its acceptable for grown women to find young boys sexually pleasing because we’re ‘women’? Oh cmon!

    And we point fingers at people who find them pleasing who are way out of their age rang? Thats like giving little tommy a gun and expecting him not to shoot things with it!

    Its no excuse for the behavior, but it seems counter productive to me.

    • oh em gee! O.O my mom’d love you. She thinks the need for social interaction is bullshit. Although I must admit, many of my confrontations with people that led to strengthening my character happened in school, they also have occurred MANY other places including work, church, and even the internet.
      This was my school life:
      Kindergarten – half of 2nd grade: public school (pulled out over quarrel with the principle concerning how my mother was raising me).
      second half of 2nd grade : Home school
      3rd Grade – half of 5th grade : Seventh Day Adventist Christian School (pulled out because of harassment from a girl calling my mother and I lesbians, and all students telling me I was “the purple telly tubby”)
      second half of 5th grade : still in SDA, but, do all school work at home
      6th grade: moved 3 different times. First two I was in public school, last move, home school.
      7th grade : home school with band at public school
      8th grade – 1/2 of Sophomore year : Public school
      1/2 of Sophomore – Present day : Online school (due to the fact that I was having problems at school with respecting teachers, school equipment, and keeping my hands to myself. But I only slapped 2 people, and only because they used racial slurs against me. I take that shit SERIOUSly, k?)
      And as of right now, I’m starting my GED testing on Monday. Is it any wonder why? lol

  24. I had Barbies. I was really fond of my Barbies too. Barbies, video games, and imaginary friends, check. I don’t think the toy industry has changed quite as much as the music industry in this hyper-sexualized atmosphere. Toys have always been so gender-specific, the music industry stands out to me the most though. (I’m not approving of either) (The best example I can think of as a veteran teenie singer is Brittany Spears) But the today’s 13 year olds remind me of the three year old in beauty pagents…just really forced and unatural. Sex shouldn’t have to sell things for girls just starting their periods etc.

  25. Is the dude that raps halfway through the vid you posted the same one from Rebecca Black’s video? What’s a grown man doing rapping in a bunch of young girl’s videos? That’s just weird man.

  26. Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ is a modern classic. It perfectly captures the nature of our times, the voice of all mankind. There is a layer of harsh truth in her lyrics; the crushing inevitability that Saturday DOES come after Friday, and thus Sunday must follow. Will we all be ready for Monday? The puzzling dilemma of whether we should ‘kick in the front seat’, or maybe ‘sit in the back’ is reminiscent of Aristotelean philosophy. Truly Rebecca Black is the John Lennon of our generation.

  27. There are some really smart people here but I am surprised no one is mentioning the OTHER side of the coin.

    Sure, we want girls to learn sexuality at normal “natural” pace. Without much/any undo influence by a media concerned mostly with profit (not that profit is bad). But what about the other situation… the one where girls are taught that their bodies are dirty, bad, only for sex. Not by watching Brittany or Rhianna prance around half naked on a music video… but because ANY portrayal of an under 18yo girl in anything BUT a burka is now consider Child P0rnography.

    If a female or male child shows ANY skin at all even in the most natural settings the morality police swoop in and start accusing people of immorality.

    There is nothing immoral about a person’s body.

    Look at the sexting situation. A girl sending a boy a picture of her boobs is now in danger of being accused of being a sexual deviant.

    What message does that send to this teen/tween about her body? That it is a beautiful gift from God… or that it is Satan’s playground and grounds for felony charges?

    Less skin isn’t the issue. More frank discussion about LIFE and SEX is the issue. Let’s stop making the body bad/taboo and start recognizing that sexuality starts at a younger age than one tick after 17 years 364 days 23 hours and 59 seconds.

    • You make a great point but again it’s the sexualization that is the issue not the inherent sexuality of young people. When adults use young children to make a profit by making them express their sexuality a certain way, it sends the wrong message. But really what you said is almost the exact opposite where the lack of letting a young person express themselves at all can do more damage than good.

      • I’m sorry but the psych major in me has an issue with all of this “save the children” stuff.

        If you show, in any way, the sexuality of a 12-17 year old on TV or a movie you have parents in an uproar. Screaming that the kid was wrongfully sexualized. Really?

        I think what should be discussed here is where is the line. Because a kid under 18 can be VERY sexual. So is any depiction of that by the media an unfair “sexualization” of the minor child???

        As for the entitled “12 yo”. As a male I can certainly attest to the fact that I was certainly sexually self-aware at that age. Very curious. So would a photo pictorial or TV show about me at that age be sexualizing me? What if it dealt with coming of age themes?

        If you can be honest with yourself I think you can begin to see that it isn’t as easy as we might want it to be.

        Contrary to what is often said: “our kids are growing up too fast”… to this I completely disagree. US kids are growing up VERY slow. They are much more immature than their global counterparts. I am more worried about over protection by parents than over sexualization by the media.

  28. It makes me think of Jon-Benet Ramsey… 6 y/o looked like 20-something with all that stuff on…

    makes me want to cry!

    Why can’t we just let women (and men for that matter) feel attractive just the way they are, without having to put on this alternate face/personality to be socially acceptable?

    I find myself constantly having to deal with this issue, as my wife is incredibly self-conscious… despite the fact that she doesn’t like to wear much makeup. She still thinks that she’s not beautiful. I tell her as often as I can, and any way I can, but nothing seems to get through to her that she is beautiful and I love her with or without makeup, whether or not she’s shaved in the last year, even whether or not she’s showered in the last 12 hours!

    I want so badly to learn how to raise my (now 5 month old) daughter to know her beauty without having to sacrifice herself to the “beauty industry” gods… I’m afraid that I won’t be able to do that because she’ll think, “you’re my dad… you’re supposed to say I’m pretty.”

  29. hey laci, have you seen america the beautiful? its on netflix. you should watch it. i love your videos, i always learn so much from them.

    keep up the good work love,

    Belen

  30. There’s something distinctly pedophilish about including the forty-year-old rapper in a seventh grader’s music video…

  31. I recognize the above points and do realize that parts of this world are dominated by self-conscience barbie dolls ,but I think we overestimate the susceptibility of children. I may be incredibly bias to this argument as I am 12 myself, but today children are brought up with messages of self-acceptance through ads on the tv like Childrens Concerned Advertisers, our teachers drilling that into our head and many other forms of media that would be too long to mention. These all result in resilience to peer pressure; I would even go as far as to say that we strive to be unique; a goal we would not acheive by wearing short skirts and make-up. The reason we can overcome hyper-sexualized media on our own is because they are specifically targeted by ads of self-worth and from our parents. When’s the last time you heard a mom or dad say “You should strive to be like everyone else and don’t show your true colors.”?

    SIDE NOTE: I am Canadian so I apologize if this is not how it is done in the U.S.

  32. Just sayin that I love this site.

    So many comments to read through :D

    I agree on the clothing/fashion part helping in sexualising young children. And the media, of course.

    A few people have mentioned about their parents not being open to talking about sexuality and romantic/sexual relationships. (see Nikki and Emmalicious115 comments)
    I’m in the same boat, my parents refused to talk to me (especially my mother) about sex and when they both mentioned ‘the talk’ Mum just assumed I already new everything I should. And I stupidly declined because I thought I knew everything.
    Bullshit. I wish I could have had that connection and understanding with my parents.

  33. I am a 14 year old girl and I think that females start to get pressured to be ‘sexy’ as a young age. I had hit puberty when I was 12 and ever since then it felt like I got thrown into a whirlwind of sexuality (yes, I am still a virgin). But so many girls at my school have sex and they think they’re mature for doing it but in reality they’re being immature for having sex so early. I don’t think they realize the risk of pregnancy, STDs, and embarrassment they are imposing on themselves by doing this. Influences from music, TV, and the internet pressure us to feel like we have to be sexy to fit in with the ‘popular people’. and that’s why most are doing it. Also the loose understanding of love makes us think that if we ‘love’ someone then its okay to have sex with them. I believe if you love someone enough, you can wait to have sex with them. Ugh. Immature girls make me mad.

  34. The answer to fixing this is simple and two-fold.

    1) Parents need to be parents.

    2) KILL ALL THE MARKETING AND ADVERTISING PEOPLE! To paraphrase Bill Hicks, there is no good that they do by putting a goddamn dollar sign all over everything.

  35. Hi Laci,

    I rarely disagree with stuff you say but this time i find myself disagreeing with most of what you say, lemme explain:

    On the one hand I do agree that sexualizing kids in pop culture in order to sell more stuff (and this is the main reason behind it… to reach a new target group with merch that usually had an older audience)is just disgusting… it’s manipulative, degrading, objectifying… you name it…

    On the other hand, there’s another pitfall in your point of view: humans, don’t suddenly become sexual beings at the age of 18! Humans are BORN sexual creatures. And our double standards about “sex is bad” while you’re a kid… and then overnight “sex is good” is a big factor in fucking up adult’s perception on sexuality in the first place.

    How about this point of view: sexuality is not “bad or good” at any age… it just is… as the infant, child, adolescent, teen, mature… whatever… perceives it to be, and feels like expressing it. If a child desires to express his/her sexuality this is NOT something that we (as a society or more granular, parents) should go about labeling, constraining, censoring or punishing.

    And here you might give me a ton of good examples, of why not doing that isn’t a good idea (ex: kids growing up watching porn get a very warped idea of sexuality) -> ok, i can agree with all these arguments… the dilemma is this: if you don’t control your kid’s environments, they will be flooded with “bad influences” from the media. On the other hand if you DO control your kid’s sexuality, and don’t allow them to express it as they feel like, they will grow up stunted… as if you forbade them from running… or from laughing… and you get to the exact perception of the viewers you are trying to educate ;) The adults you are trying to teach the principles of sex+ don’t know them already BECAUSE as kids their sexuality has been chastised and condemned.

    So what would you rather have ? No audience to educate because they haven’t forgotten what you’re trying to show them ? Or an audience… and a world full of people educated in a sex- culture?

    PS: on a general note… I very much applaud your efforts and this website! you are doing, successfully something that should be done much more. GZ!

  36. “the expression of these complex behaviors, at the naive age of 10-13, suggest that these are ideas being imposed upon them.” that is a very intelligent point.

  37. Even thought I agree with the position of the sexualization of the under-age being wrong, I see a problem or a conflict of rights from a double standard; Do clothing and behavior of a person justify a level of sexual response from another!?

    With Jenna Rose and Rebecca Black, for the most part, we are saying it does; that her attire and performance is encouraging others to be sexually stimulating. That is if doing exploitative videos and products like this are wrong.
    With an adult that is under the same setup that get sexual advances, we say the opposite; we advocate freedom of expression, the right to wear what you want and do what you want(as long as it doesn’t impact others rights) to be free of unwanted harassment.
    We have been trying to have it both ways and it hasn’t been working with the age&sex restrictions. Doing nothing will just allow the problems created to grow and hurt others

    We have to change something and these are what I see for option:
    -removing more rights for those under the age of 16; clothing, working in entertainment, being in photographs,..etc
    -Mandatory anti-sex-drive treatment for all citizens, so that any sexual simulation will be fixed or non-existent.
    -replace the economic system that benefits from stuff like this with a system that can not find anyway to even function through this exploitation.
    -(I would not pick this one!)remove the restriction and taboo surrounding age and sex.(This would undermined the whole point for the protection of youth and childern!!!!!!)

    I don’t have any answer or solutions I like but know that in the long run we’ll simple say “Oh, it is just wrong..” and turn away hoping it just goes away.

  38. I’m not going to get into a sociological discussion about trends in the sexualization of young girls in America. I have no doubt that all of the factors you listed contribute to this sexualization. But have you actually watched most of the Ark videos? They’re not that sexual. Yes, maybe the girl in the video you posted is wearing a somewhat short skirt, but it’s hardly what I would call skanky. And for all we know she’s closer to 16 or 17 than 12 or 13. The founder of Ark (who is, I will admit, somewhat batty) has said in interviews that his goal is to produce wholesome, family-friendly music. They are aiming to produce the next Selena Gomez or Miley Cyrus, but that doesn’t mean that they’re skipping straight to the late, “Can’t Be Tamed” era Miley. While most of the Ark girls sing about relationships (with the notable exception of Friday, of course), these relationships tend to be limited to the “pass me a note in the hallway,” “I saw that picture of you on facebook” variety, not the “Do me now” variety. I really do agree with what you’re saying, I just wish it had been founded on something more legitimate.

  39. -Everything is Subjective.
    -My life goal is to be happy, whats yours?

    Simple solution to all these problems. Don’t focus on educating the children. Educate the Parents the rest will follow. Getting all in depth trying to pinpoint the problem doesn’t work in a forum setting.
    Keep it short, keep it simple and you actually just might come up with a solution.

  40. This is the blog that i’ve been looking for. The content has a great idea and I gathered some information. I’ve done bookmarking your sites and i get used to it. We had the same topic!Keep up the good work!

  41. It’s sad but true that this is happening more and more in our culture. Teenagers are having sex and younger and younger ages, such as 12/13! I’m 14 and I was talking to a girl in the year below me, (7th Grade for Americans, I think?) and she was telling me about all the people she’d had sex with and what she had done with them all. I was disgusted! When I told her I was an all round virgin, she was shocked. Her exact words were ‘Oh my god, are you joking? I can’t believe you’re FOURTEEN and you HAVEN’T had sex, what are you, a nun?!’ Personally I think the UK is worse for hypersexualizing young people because the legal age for sex is 16, two years lower then the USA. I don’t understand what the big deal is about sex at this age, if you do it, you’re a slut, if you don’t, you’re a frigid freak, its a lose/lose situation. Its the same for boys and girls, although no one seems to mention the males. It seems to me that teenage boys are often pressured by friends to be sexually active as quickly as possible with whichever girl they are after at that moment. I feel like the only girl my age who would rather just cuddle on a sofa with a snuggie watching some kiddie disney film.

  42. I’m 13 i think girls do this so the look hot and the guys stare at them at our school I’m dating and a few people are to the girls that are dating don’t wear anything to make them look attractive the other girls wear makeup so a guy will ask them out. The only reason we are dating because we like a few girls at our dance we always dance with them.

  43. so what im going to be 11 on monday december 17 and ive had sex with 3 boys one in 3rd grade another in 4th and now just 2 months ago with my boyfriend im dating now

  44. I haven’t seen this video with the 12 year old, but this is reminding me of the Benetton ads in the 1980s and 90s. They always involved kids this age or younger totally naked in ‘porn” style shots. It was a very popular fasionable clothing company and I think that the son of the founder bankrupted it for the hell of it. Huge conteversy. They were pulled from New Yorker etc. The more hatred of the company, the worse they got. That may have started this slide (in current times). Mainstream company, mainstream ads. I think someone has a website of the ads. It was one of the most popular classy women’s clothing companies in the world.

  45. well, yes I did see it now. I am not all that surprised by this, although I think It is just crap. If she was 16 (i think) like Tiffany in the 1980′s or Milli Vanilli, weren’t they both exploited? would this be just thought of as just another current pop song? What about 23? Or 30?

    Aside from her age, we have probably have listening to lyrics like this for a while now. Listen to the lyrics of your music and see if you did or didn’t greast the rails for culture having gone this direction. Go back to your oldest albums.. I never realized I had so much similar stuff until I listened to the lyrics, and got rid of those albums.

    She is a star. She is popular, well known, and ignites discussions, and I just made her more popular by one view because she is being talked about. There are no words for the repulsive pedophile guy at the end. that was unexucable,

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