The Sexualization of Some Children is Endangering Them All
By Alicia Colon
September 26, 2000
One of my favorite authors is Graham Greene who was sued for libel by Shirley Temple and Twentieth Century Fox for a review he wrote of her film, ``Wee Willie Winkie.'' In his review, Greene had suggested that Miss Temple had a ``certain adroit coquetry which appealed to middle-aged men.'' Greene lost the case.
After I read about this incident in his autobiography, ``Ways of Escape'' I watched a Temple film, ``Captain January'' and couldn't help noting that perhaps he was justified in his observation.
Still this was in 1937 when the idea of sexualizing children was a remote and far-fetched concept in our imagination. Fast forward to 2000 and Graham Greene seems downright prescient.
Poor Jon Benet Ramsey, six years old when she was murdered three years ago, was a beautiful child who dressed like a vamp in beauty pageants. I'd like to know what parents are thinking of when they let their children perform provocatively like adults in the entertainment industry.
I am always disturbed when I watch child actors in serious dramas about incest and molestation, mouth lines that would embarrass me if I had to say them. Yet, here are five and six-year actors portraying sexual victims describing in detail what was done to them. Surely, there are ways a director could get the story told without having children memorize explicit dialogue.
It has also amazed me that any parent would allow their children to spend unaccompanied nights in the company of megastar Michael Jackson. With all due respect to Mr. Jackson's assumed innocence of alleged pedophilia charges, surely a concerned parent should do all to protect their children from any possibility of a similar incident occurring. Yet whenever I see a picture of Jackson, he is accompanied by young children not his own. How much money does it take to turn a loving parent into their child's pimp?
The world today is not a safe place for a child's innocence. Children are not sex objects and yet many parents seem to be rushing their prepubescent offspring into a lifestyle they're not at all prepared for.
One Foxnews anchorman told of taking his eight-year daughter to a birthday party where everyone was supposed to dress like Britney Spears. He was rather shocked but I doubt he expressed his objection to the parents of the birthday girl. Gap for Kids is selling tight vinyl pants and leopard skin halter tops and idiotic parents are buying them for their children.
Have we all lost our minds? What is wrong with the adults today? We seem to have abdicated our parental responsibility to gurus and opted instead for a ``village'' to raise our children. We complain about what the children are wearing yet we're the ones paying for their clothing, music and entertainment.
Christopher Lasch, author of ``The Culture of Narcissism'' once wrote ``this is a profoundly anti-child culture.'' He hit the nail right on the head. We can babble on and on about how much we care about the wee folk but they seem to be way down on the list after our jobs, homes and cars. Most of us can't seem to put them into daycare soon enough so we can get on with our all-important careers.
Noted Child psychologist Lee Salk was once quoted as saying, ``I think that parents who are unwilling to give their children the attention they need should consider not having any.''
We buy our children computers and leave them alone in their rooms where they can chat with pedophiles and serial killers. We seem to have taken the adage, ``out of sight, out of mind'' to heart when it comes to minors.
The first question that came to my mind when little 7 year old Megan Kanka was murdered was why was she outside by herself? She was only seven but obviously her parents thought it was safe for her to play unsupervised.
Her death led to the enactment of Megan's Law, a prime example of poor legislation. This law encourages vigilantism and is a mere sop to parental fears but will do nothing to stop a pedophile intent on acting out his perversion. I read a quote from Mrs. Kanka that if she had known about the pedophile living in her neighborhood, Megan would still be alive. Well, the truth is, Megan would still be alive if her parents had assumed this possibility and watched over her like a hawk.
I look at children as young as Megan walk down the streets of Stapleton on errands for their parents and I shake my head in wonder. Perhaps I am overprotective because I learned at a very early age living in the barrio that children are not safe from the desires of lechers unless they are closely guarded at all times.
In a time when sex is being paraded full blast on all fronts in the media and Viagra now a must-have, one would think that parents would have sense enough to be extra vigilant but the reverse is true. Libidos are being supercharged by the entertainment industry and yet we somehow believe our children won't be impacted.
Right now there is a case involving the ACLU that demonstrates how little regard for children this nation has. This civil rights organization is defending a despicable association that in a more child-friendly era would not be allowed to exist.
The parents of a slain ten-year boy are suing the North American Man-Boy Love Association of whom their son's killer was a member. They charge that this organization's web site encourages the rape of children. The ACLU contends that this is an issue of free speech and that even NAMBLA deserves to be defended. The so-called free speech that is being defended on the web site includes helpful hints for approaching a child, what to do if approached by the police, etc. These are criminal activities banned by law and yet this organization is flourishing. Sick, sick, sick. Perhaps the Save the Children Foundation ought to start including American children in its campaigns.
Whenever I hear a politician express concern with the phrase, ``for the children,'' I know this is merely code for `` I need the women's vote.'' As if we really care. There was a time in this country when the idea of a fetus having its brains sucked out in the process of birth would be considered horrific to all women. But in our enlightened culture this is a merely an unavoidable medical procedure that must be permitted to protect a woman's right to choose.
I rest my case.
Alicia's column archives can be found at www.aliciacolon.com
Copyright 2000 by Alicia Colon. Not to be reproduced in any fashion, in whole or in part, without written consent from the author. All rights reserved.