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Preteens and the sexualizing of our children

 
  

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matthew.
04:29 / 24.10.05
i started to realize this was a problem when the thong became really popular. my eye would be drawn to some chick's thong, and i would enjoy (i make no excuses, although i admit it's trashy of the girl) and then one day, my eye was drawn to this thong, and the thong was attached to a girl with little or no breasts. what's the deal?

I was talking with one of my female friends and she has babysit an 8 year old girl. According to this friend, whom I vouch for (in terms of reliability), this 8 year old girl's interests include: shopping, make-up and boys. 8 years old, and obsessing over boys.

She also has this weird obsession with being a teenager. She is looking forward to being a teen so much, that she has idealized being a teen. She has been quoted as saying, "It's gonna be so much better when I'm a teenager". I find this fascinating.

My generation, born in the eighties, looked to adulthood and idealized it. Their generation, born in the nineties, is looking to the teenaged years and are idealizing it, turning it into myth before it has happened.

Being a teenager is now not a source of nostalgia, but the ultimate goal for children now.

Statistically, girls are hitting puberty earlier and earlier. They are losing their virginity earlier and earlier. (I will come back later with the statistics, so hold on)

This article on Salon articulates exactly what my problem is. Preteen girls are measuring their worth in terms of how many boys like them.

Here's a selection from the article that uses a selection from the book in question ("FCP" stands for "Female Chauvinist Pig", the title of Ariel Levy's book):
"Levy talks to Erin and Shaina, two sisters who have a pile of magazines like Playboy and FHM on their bedroom floor (they share a room at their parents' place). Erin's been known to make out with another girl in public cause it "turns guys on." (She thought it would be like being on TV, but the real experience wasn't as sexy as in her fantasies.) Shaina thinks that getting your ass slapped at a bar by a stranger isn't harassment -- just flattery. Although Erin feels "conflicted being a woman" and tries to "join the ranks of men," she owns a copy of "The Feminine Mystique" -- but she would never try to push her ideas on someone else. The meaning of feminism for today's FCPs is a private affair. Another FCP, Anyssa, a struggling actress, likes to fantasize about what it feels like to be a stripper, with dozens of eyes on you. When Levy suggests that stripping was more a parody of female sexuality than an enactment of it, Anyssa's friend Sherry snaps. "I can't feel sorry for those women," she said. "I think they're asking for it."

Don't think I'm leaving out boys here too. Boys are guilty of helping these girls into their position, whether that be making out with other girls, or relinquishing their "honour", if you get my drift.

But it's not the children's fault. I blame the media partly. I think the media, including Hollywood and television and music videos (regardless of genre) are propogating this image they feel they must match and maintain, this image of cool with ease, this image of sexual powerhouse.

Movies like American Pie demand that the children lose their virginity before prom. Videos like "Stacie's Mom" show children masturbating. Television has shows like Desperate Housewives, where sex is a main topic, or even, more obviously, Sex and the City.

Western culture was marrying off girls at 13 to older men back in the day (being the long ago past). Then when they established the US as a country, that standard got older and older, girls were marrying by choice, and later. Then the teenager started to appear, sociologically speaking, in the forties, a direct correlation to the babyboomers. The preteen has only existed, then, since the second half of the twentieth century. Now, we are going back to the olden days, when girls were losing their virginity. But NOW, they're doing for pleasure (although I can't see how enjoyable sex is when your fourteen. I mean, sex at eighteen wasn't even that great. Imagine being even more clumsy and ignorant of foreign sexual organs!)

This book has a chapter devoted to my topic here.

(By the way, I'm no Puritan. I am a product of this problem; I lost my virginity at the tender age of 15. Let me be honest: it wasn't that great)
 
 
diz
07:05 / 24.10.05
Those kids today.
 
 
Cat Chant
12:55 / 24.10.05
They are losing their virginity earlier and earlier

Earlier and earlier than when? For example, in eighteenth-century England, a female child was not deemed to have a virginity before she was seven (so that anything that was done to her before that age didn't spoil her chances on the marriage market). I don't have my reference books here, and I'd have to check, but the trouble with your argument as you've framed it is that it seems to appeal to an ahistorical 'past' in which children weren't sexual - or sexualized, as you put it.

Also, it's missing a great big hetero. I do actually agree that there's a problem with the colonization of children's sexuality by heterosexual norms (every morning on my way to work I pass a window display in a children's clothing shop with a little khaki t-shirt for a toddler saying LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS next to a pink t-shirt saying I LIKE SHOPPING, CHOCOLATE AND CAKE). But this isn't the 'sexualization' of children tout court: children are emphatically not being encouraged/ pressured/ brainwashed into queer sexualities.

Don't we have a couple of threads on this already? I'll do a bit of mining and find some links, just for reference.
 
 
Cat Chant
13:08 / 24.10.05
Um. I've just reread your post, and:

Don't think I'm leaving out boys here. Boys are guilty of helping these girls into their position, whether that be making out with other girls, or relinquishing their "honour", if you get my drift.

I don't really know where to start with that. You seem to be insisting that boys are absolutely not vulnerable to any kind of 'sexualizing'. Like if a thirteen-year-old boy has sex with a thirteen-year-old girl, the boy is "guilty" and the girl is a victim (one who has "relinquished" something). That's really, really icky. The only thing ickier is the suggestion that lesbian desire is even more non-existent than heterosexual desire in girls.

Links: this thread on an Oliver James article has some discussion about teenage girls' sexual activity and the social forces that produce, constrain and shape it; and this one (The pursuit of youth - contemporary culture's validation/obsession with youth and its sexuality) has some obvious overlap with your questions, though framed in a different way.
 
 
Sax
14:52 / 24.10.05
There was a court case just last week in which a young female teacher was in trouble for sexual behaviour with a male teenage pupil. There is always an element of "nudge nudge wink wink" about these situations, whereas if their genders were reversed it's a job for the News of the World and someone inevitably gets a brick through their windows.
 
 
Cat Chant
15:16 / 24.10.05
Absolutely. It's kind of sick. (Melvyn Burgess's recent book, Doing It, has a really good sub-plot about an abusive female-teacher/male-student sexual relationship and the difficulties the boy has with seeing it as abusive, given that his mates would think he was the luckiest boy in the world.)
 
 
Spaniel
15:18 / 24.10.05
i started to realize this was a problem when the thong became really popular. my eye would be drawn to some chick's thong, and i would enjoy (i make no excuses, although i admit it's trashy of the girl)

Trashy of the girl, eh? So speaks the arbiter of morality.
 
 
Spaniel
15:19 / 24.10.05
Weird tacit assmption, here, that we all agree that it's "trashy of the girl".
 
 
Kit-Cat Club
16:00 / 24.10.05
But NOW, they're doing for pleasure (although I can't see how enjoyable sex is when your fourteen. I mean, sex at eighteen wasn't even that great. Imagine being even more clumsy and ignorant of foreign sexual organs!)

What other reason is there?

I imagine your first sexual experience is as likely to be rubbish if you have it when you're 21 as if you have it when you're 15. Or as likely to be 'good' (or positive, which is probably a better way of putting it). I believe that earlier onset of puberty is more to do with changes in diet than anything else.

I also don't think your experience of generational difference is likely to be universal - I was born in the late seventies and well remember various crushes at primary school... (also how popular games of kiss-chase were). I don't recall wanting particularly to be an adult or a teenager, but I do remember that we were all very curious about sex and sexuality, and spent some time exploring those areas through games and so on. Lots of tittering.

I don't really see this as a problem - working out these things as children etc. - there isn't a sudden disconnect between the child and the adolescent, after all.

I do think there is a problem with sexualisation by adults of children, but that's not the same thing as children being sexual beings.
 
 
ibis the being
16:02 / 24.10.05
I think you're conflating two issues - preteen sexuality and objectification of women. Does becoming a sexual being automatically mean becoming an amoral "slut?"

If indeed the average girl reaches physical puberty earlier, it's perfectly natural for her to have sexual feelings earlier as well. Perhaps the solution is not to stuff them back into less threatening little-girl roles, but to adjust our own (adult) ability to accept, address, and talk about human sexuality.
 
 
matthew.
16:31 / 24.10.05
ibis in furs: I don't think I'm conflating two seperate issues. True, one of my links is to an article about a book about the objectification of women, but that was meant to be an example of the "raunchiness" of our culture and how that's influencing the preteens. That's the important part of my post that I don't think I wrote (sorry): it's our culture that influencing these children.

Deva: yes, I admit, in retrospect, my post seems to accuse the boys and victimizes the girls. I'll clarify: both sexes are victims of a culture that pressures them to be sexual beings at an early stage in their development when they are arguably not mature enough to make clear decisions about the consequences of their sexual behaviour. There is a reason why thr age of consent is higher than 14.

Deva, I think you're right on the hetero aspect of this. A crazy right-wing Christian conservative could make the argument that we are, in fact, pushing them into homosexual behaviour by making it more and more socially acceptable via media and social norms (i.e. schools teaching tolerance to all races, creeds, sexuality) But that's just crazy talk, and I think you're absolutely right. It's almost as if Western culture is influencing them into heterosexuality just to avoid homosexuality. And that's just weird.

My "ahistorical past" is certainly a good observation. I'm going to do a little research on this subject and find some sort of statistic on children and sexuality and come back with something more concrete than "the good old days"

Boboss: trashy of the girl? Yeah, kinda. But I'm an equal opportunity judge; if a boy had a thong sticking out, I'd think that was trashy, too. (By the way, I do know a guy who wears a thong often, and not because he's trying to be ironic... he likes thongs) But I think you're right that it's a nice assumption on my part. I just mean that thongs are trashy in general and unsanitary. Blech.

Kit Cat Club: As opposed to marital obligation, in fact. Sex for pleasure has always existed, if I'm not mistaken (The Greeks and their femoral homosexual intercourse; the Marquis de Sade; the hippies of the sixties, etc, etc) But it's in my humble opinion that sex for pleasure has become a past-time among children more recently, say in the late nineties and early noughties. Hey, if you can prove sex among children was wide-spread before my general dates, bring it on. It would really only make me more worried about our culture.

To everybody: sorry, I wasn't clear on this in the first post, let me state it here: it's our Western culture that's influencing children to be sexual beings at a stage in their development where they cannot make mature decisions about the consequences of their actions, in terms of sexuality. They can barely make responsible decisions about whether or not to jump off the roof of the shed, or not to touch that dog, etc. There is a reason why the age of consent is where it is.

According to Wikipedia: "Social and legal attitudes towards the appropriate age of consent have drifted upwards in modern times; while ages from ten through to thirteen were typically acceptable in the mid 19th century, fifteen through eighteen had become the norm in many countries by the end of the 20th century."
I'm not relying on Wikipedia to make an argument, I'm just pointing out they are in agreement on the first proposition of my argument.

Wikipedia also wrote something that fascinated me, but I'm not going to make an argument about it: "Children (esp. girls) who are obese are more likely to physically mature earlier."
We're living in some obsese times, if Morgan Spurlock is to be believed, so maybe this earlier onset of puberty is not only related to diet (in terms of what foods) but also to the diet (what amount of foods). Interesting, no?
 
 
Spaniel
16:59 / 24.10.05
But I think you're right that it's a nice assumption on my part. I just mean that thongs are trashy in general and unsanitary. Blech.

I don't think it's a "nice" assumption, at all, I think it's a very, very wrong-headed one. In your intial post you seem to be assuming that we all agree that girls who wear thongs are trashy. Well, I for one don't agree. Now you seem to be saying that it's not the girls that are trashy (and unsanitary) merely the thongs, and again you phrase it in such a way as to suggest that there is no disagreement on this.

Matt, could you please explain to me what you mean by "trashy"? I think it's important that you examine your use of language because I think it's pretty muddled and potentially offensive.
 
 
Kit-Cat Club
16:59 / 24.10.05
I'm not sure how useful the age of consent is for this discussion really... nor am I convinced that 'children' are having sex (if by children you mean pre-pubescents, which you seem to indicate by your thong example - I thought your condemnation of the girl for 'being trashy' was a bit much really, the poor kid was probably only trying to be fashionable and keep up with her peer group, which isn't the same thing at all). Certainly not sex with each other. But when it comes to adolescents, if (as Deva said) people are maturing earlier and having more sex with their peers and enjoying it, then what is the problem? If it's that they're not responsible, when do they responsible? Magically, on their 16th birthdays? (One reason why the age of consent might not be v useful here).

I don't mean young people feeling pressured into sex, nor do I mean people being forced to have sex before they are physically ready to do so, nor do I mean young people being sexually exploited by older people - those are all things which are deplorable. But I don't see what the problem is with sexually maturing people exploring their sexuality - they should be supported and provided with education etc while they go through it, really.
 
 
Kit-Cat Club
17:04 / 24.10.05
Sorry, just adding to say that re use of 'trashy' - my post above looks as if I think it is an appropriate word to use in some circs, which I don't...
 
 
Regrettable Juvenilia
17:06 / 24.10.05
Boboss: trashy of the girl? Yeah, kinda. But I'm an equal opportunity judge; if a boy had a thong sticking out, I'd think that was trashy, too. (By the way, I do know a guy who wears a thong often, and not because he's trying to be ironic... he likes thongs) But I think you're right that it's a nice assumption on my part. I just mean that thongs are trashy in general and unsanitary. Blech.

I think you're completely missing Boboss' point. You stated that you "would enjoy" looking at women wearing thongs, and only found this disturbing when you realised you were ogling someone "with little or no breasts" (which is in itself deeply problematic since, what, did you actually establish this person's age, or not?). So, thongs are trashy, and should not be displayed - except when they are displayed, you get turned on. You construct this as a fault of the wearer of the thong, rather than the watcher. Now, I'm not going to psychoanalyse you by suggesting that your enjoyment of the sight is inherently bound up with your judgment of the thong as "trashy" (the eternal lure of the transgressive). But I am going to suggest that you work to resolve the contradiction between your own desires and arbitrary pseudo-moral judgements. Either thongs make some people attractive to you and others, in which case they are usually a good thing, or else you truly believe that they are a bad thing, in which case stop looking and enjoying. Or keep looking and enjoying and feeling bad about it, whatever gets you off, just don't judge the object of your lust.

Hey, if you can prove sex among children was wide-spread before my general dates, bring it on. It would really only make me more worried about our culture.

Um, why? And where are you placing the geographical, temporal and other boundaries to define "our culture"?

To everybody: sorry, I wasn't clear on this in the first post, let me state it here: it's our Western culture that's influencing children to be sexual beings at a stage in their development where they cannot make mature decisions about the consequences of their actions, in terms of sexuality. They can barely make responsible decisions about whether or not to jump off the roof of the shed, or not to touch that dog, etc. There is a reason why the age of consent is where it is.

There are a whole heap of assumptions here. It is not an accepted given either that pre-teen children "cannot make mature decisions about the consequences of their actions", nor that "our Western culture" is "influencing children to be sexual beings". Child sexuality is a thorny subject, but it is not a recent one. I find it especially odd that you would trust the "reason why the age of consent is where it is", define that reason as a drift in terms of what is considered acceptable, and then not trust the same drifting process when it moves in a different direction.

We're living in some obsese times, if Morgan Spurlock is to be believed

But is Morgan Spurlock to be believed? Has he actually made a case that "we" are "living in some obsese times", by which I assume you mean "living in a time (and places) in which more people are more obese than has usually been the case in the past" - and what was the basis of this case?

There's been some good discussion about concepts of obesity in the past on Barbelith - I've been hunting around and I could have sworn there was more, but for now look at this post by ibis. I think the 'issue' of obesity is a good analogy to the 'issue' at hand here, in that in both cases, there are contradictory obsessions being acted out in the media and the public consciousness. TV may be making you fat, but TV may also be distorting your idea of what 'fat' means (and good beardy liberal Morgan Spurlock may not be without blame here). The media may be making our children think impure thoughts, or it might be making people think that children ought to be 'pure'... Parts of "our culture" (which is never a monolith) may encourage young women to be sexual, but equally large parts of it - sometimes the same parts - demonise them from doing so. Somehow in all of this, the guys who are doing the looking never get much stick. And we're back to my first point...
 
 
Cat Chant
17:07 / 24.10.05
if you can prove sex among children was wide-spread before my general dates, bring it on.

Better-read posters can probably give other sources for this, but Freud's work on child sexuality really is important for this kind of discussion, I think. For Freud, children are 'polymorphously perverse': their little libidos are all fired up and working pretty much from birth. An infant or a small child gets pleasure - much the same kind of pleasure - from shitting, suckling, masturbating, cuddling its blanky, etc. As the child goes through infancy, childhood and puberty, it learns to cathect its body in a particular way - to localize erotic pleasure in certain erogenous zones. So I think asking about sex among children is foreclosing important questions - in particular, what do you mean by 'sex'? To me, the problem you identify is to do with the channeling of child 'polymorphous perversity' into (a particularly nasty form of) genitocentric heterosexuality. Certainly, according to Freud, there has always been 'sex' - or at least erotic exchange - among children, and the drama of (healthily or unhealthily developing) child sexuality is about the ongoing negotiation between that eroticism, the child's 'own' desires, and the way any given society defines and produces 'sex' as such. So the problem, as I see it, isn't so much about the amount of erotic exchange going on between children, as about the ways in which children's understanding of their own bodies and their capabilities are being constrained by particular channelings (and policings) of that eroticism.

The bigger problem seems to be the way in which a particular virulent strain of heterosexism (the rigid production and policing of gender roles in and beyond sexual behaviour, the colonizing of all experience by sexuality*) is affecting children's relationships with each other. That's where the objectification of women and the sexualization of children seem to cross over most scarily.

*By which I mean the acceptability of (hetero)sexualized metaphors for human interaction in general. I need to think about this more but it has something to do with, for example, greetings cards of five-year-olds wearing wedding clothes and kissing. And probably something to do with evolutionary psychology's desire to explain everything everyone does in terms of a particular construction of heterosexual desire.

One more thing:

A crazy right-wing Christian conservative could make the argument that we are, in fact, pushing them into homosexual behaviour by making it more and more socially acceptable via media and social norms

I've been wondering about this. Mostly I agree with you that this intensive heterosexualization of childhood is somehow linked with homophobia (perhaps literally, as in morbid and irrational fear), but then sometimes I wonder whether one side-effect of the increasing visibility of teenage and preteen heterosexuality is some increase in visibility of teenage and preteen queerness. I'd have to check the figures, but there are "gay-straight alliances" and LGBT societies in some high schools now, and there's certainly more and better gay and lesbian fiction for teens than there used to be.
 
 
Spaniel
17:13 / 24.10.05
Hey, if you can prove sex among children was wide-spread before my general dates, bring it on.

I appreciate that this is the Headshop and that anecdote is of limited worth hereabouts, but I really have to answer this with a healthy dose of life experience. To give some context, I'm 30, male, middle-class, and was brought up in rural Sussex. As far as I can remember my first sexual encounter happpened when I was around 9, and the next few years were chock full of sexual exploration. In my school year I was far from unusual in that my experiences were reflected in those of many, many others.
I can't prove that kids were having as much sex then as they are today, but my experience suggests, to me, that things probably haven't changed much.
 
 
matthew.
17:24 / 24.10.05
Wow. I did not think my judgement of the thong was going to be criticized here So let me work through it:

Number 1) wearing a thong does not make anyone "trashy"

Number 2) "trashy" is probably not the right word. But on the other hand, I can't think of anything better. I don't know: "girls of questionable morality", but that sounds puritanical, so:

Number 3) I'm going to concede that any argument using "trashy" or "thong" is going to fail. You're right, people.

Number 4) The whole obesity thing was just something to cogitate on. I make no argument there, and I think I wrote that as a disclaimer before posting.

Number 5) My whole heap of assumptions: you're right. I trust the drifting in one direction and not in the other. But my assumption about the "mature decisions" isn't so wild. I think only NAMBLA disagrees with me here. If a child is developing early, that's fine. But if only sexuality is developing and not emotional maturity, than that's a bad thing. My point is that they can't make mature decisions about their own sexuality because they are not emotionally mature. Petey Shaftoe, I think you took the easy way out of arguing against me. Simply, you quoted me and told me that there are assumptions. Could you prove me wrong then? If the Western Culture is not influencing kids to have sex, then what is? Or rather, are kids having sex, or is just something the media is saying to scare me? Am I imagining this problem, then? That's what you make me feel like I'm doing here: imagining that there's a problem. I think there is a problem, and I'm trying to articulate it. The problem is that kids are having sex and they're doing it to match and maintain an image presented by Western Culture, an image of the sexual dynamo, the "player".

Number 6) I'm just going to reiterate number 3, just to be clear: I concede that "thong" and "trashy" part of my post needs to be ignored. Let's move on. (But to defend myself just a little--> I'm not saying wearing thongs makes anyone trashy. What I meant is that knowing that your own thong is sticking and doing nothing about, simpy to attract attention, is trashy. But since I can't make any argument on "trashy", this should not be dissected. Let's just move on)

Number 7) I think, in general, that most of the posters in here are simply taking apart my argument simply for debate's sake. Only Kit Cat Club has made any definite statement on his/her opinion of this subject. Everybody else is just having fun with my assumptions.
 
 
Spaniel
17:25 / 24.10.05
my first sexual encounter

Just to clarify, I mean with another person and with the intention of exploring the murky waters of sexual pleasure.
 
 
Cat Chant
17:33 / 24.10.05
I think, in general, that most of the posters in here are simply taking apart my argument simply for debate's sake. Only Kit Cat Club has made any definite statement on his/her opinion of this subject. Everybody else is just having fun with my assumptions.

Well, everyone here seems to me to be talking about teenage and preteen experiences of sexuality, and/or about wider cultural constructions of sexuality which affect those experiences. The thing is that there isn't a clear distinction between 'this subject' and 'your assumptions', if you see what I mean: a discussion is always framed in a particular way, and the adequacy of that framing must always be part of that discussion. If you're defining sex as 'genital contact between a male and a female' and I'm defining sex as 'any activity which leads to orgasm' or even 'any polymorphously perverse action which gives bodily pleasure', if we don't talk about those definitions, we're swiftly going to cease being able to communicate at all.
 
 
Spaniel
17:33 / 24.10.05
But a number of faulty assumptions seem to form the basis for some of your arguments. That being the case, of course people are picking at 'em.

Now, back to "trashy". You have just made another load of muddled, potentially offensive statements about trashiness, but we're not supposed to respond because you can't defend any of these statements? Er... confused much?
 
 
Regrettable Juvenilia
17:37 / 24.10.05
But if only sexuality is developing and not emotional maturity, than that's a bad thing. My point is that they can't make mature decisions about their own sexuality because they are not emotionally mature.

Yeah, but dude, this is true of grown men and women too. What do you suggest as a solution?
 
 
Regrettable Juvenilia
17:51 / 24.10.05
Deva:

sometimes I wonder whether one side-effect of the increasing visibility of teenage and preteen heterosexuality is some increase in visibility of teenage and preteen queerness

Slight tangent, but are you aware of any of the "young people's (up to and including 20somethings') attitudes towards sex are being influenced by the availability of internet (and other) porn" pieces that have been written in the last year? As far as I'm aware all of them seem to have focussed on the negative side of this - how (allegedly) it makes young men want to have sex in a misogynistic way, and expect women to be available and submissive, etc. Some of it though has included in its definition of "bad things porn might make young people want to try" things like group sex, and it does strike me that pornography tends to be field in which the possibilities for, um, slippage between heterosexual and queer desire are relatively numerous. What do you reckon?
 
 
Cat Chant
17:55 / 24.10.05
Ooh. No - I'm badly-read on porn (having been ignoring the existence of commercial porn since I discovered slash). Do you have links?
 
 
Ganesh
18:37 / 24.10.05
There was a court case just last week in which a young female teacher was in trouble for sexual behaviour with a male teenage pupil. There is always an element of "nudge nudge wink wink" about these situations, whereas if their genders were reversed it's a job for the News of the World and someone inevitably gets a brick through their windows.

Doesn't much of this disconnect boil down to penetration anxiety, particularly in the conceptual vicinity of the Sacred Male Anus? Sexual behaviour between a female adult and a male teen (or even sometimes preteen) is, as Sax says, often portrayed in the popular media with 'phwoooaaarrr, g'wan my sahn' flippancy. Replace the female adult with a mature male and the situation suddenly becomes much more serious, the younger party in need of much more protection, the older party correspondingly vilified. Anyone who read the transcripts of the discussions in the House of Lords around the time the age of consent was equalised for same-sex intercourse will be aware that the merest whiff of bumsex is enough to induce mass panic...
 
 
Tryphena Absent
18:50 / 24.10.05
And since when was comparing a woman to a tiny yellow bird acceptable?

Also 8 years old, and obsessing over boys read some Freud.
 
 
matthew.
18:51 / 24.10.05
Petey Shaftoe - haha, you're right about the adults, too. I ain't giving up, though. Also, did you see my link to the Pornified book. It states every explicitly the same things you have stated. I don't know whether or not it is true (the submission thing you posted) because I have only read the chapter on preteen sex caused by porn. I disagreed with that only partially. I don't think preteen sex is caused solely by internet porn, but I think that's a factor.

Boboss - as if this post, I'm not going to talk about my "trashy" comments.
 
 
matthew.
18:54 / 24.10.05
Hold on. Sorry to double-post, but a thought just came to me.

If everybody is arguing that I'm full of assumptions, does that mean they disagree with my fundamental problem with preteen sexuality-caused by western culture/media?

This is a call then to shuffle off the rhetoric: is preteen sexuality a bad thing? and secondly if it is a bad thing, who can we blame?.
 
 
Ganesh
19:00 / 24.10.05
I'd say preteen sexuality - if we're talking about preteens existing as sexual beings - is just a thing; it's neither bad nor good, it just is. If we're talking about the wholesale commodification of (hetero but, increasingly, homo too) preteen sexuality juxtaposed with the double standards applied to expressions of male and female preteen sexuality, then that's arguably a Bad Thing...
 
 
Spaniel
19:04 / 24.10.05
Matt, before we go any further with this discussion, could you please produce the promised statistics - or any evidence at all to support your case?
 
 
matthew.
19:35 / 24.10.05
Risk Factors for Teenage Fatherhood (in Adolescent Parenthood)

Terence P. Thornberry; Carolyn A. Smith; Gregory J. Howard

Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 59, No. 3. (Aug., 1997), pp. 505-522.

Quote: "the prevalence of teen fatherhood is quite high, and the project has collected extensive data in a range of developmental domains. We found teen fatherhood to be related to a variety of risk factors, such as social class, educational performance, precocious sexual activity, drug use"

Queens and Teen Zines: Early Adolescent Females Reading Their Way toward Adulthood

Margaret J. Finders

Anthropology & Education Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 1. (Mar., 1996), pp. 71-89.

Quote: "YM, Sassy, etc, constrain choices for the adolescent female to a traditional model of finding an adult place in society largely through men and commodities"
"One 12 year old girl was quoted as saying, 'They tell you about women stuff'."

Adolescent Females: Their Sexual Partners and the Fathers of Their Children (in Adolescent Sexuality and Parenting)

Irma T. Elo; Rosalind Berkowitz King; Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr.

Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 61, No. 1. (Feb., 1999), pp. 74-84.

Quote: "It uses data from Vital Statistics, the National Maternal and Infant Health Survey, and the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth"

Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenthood: A Review of the Problem, Solutions, and Resources (in Literature and Resource Review Essay)

Gina Adams; Sharon Adams-Taylor; Karen Pittman

Family Relations, Vol. 38, No. 2. (Apr., 1989), pp. 223-229.

Quote: "Adolescent pregnancy and parenthood have emerged as major social issues in recent years"


I know, I know, this all relates to teen pregnancy. This is just a sample. I'll do more research tomorrow. I have a paper due tomorrow, so this will have to wait.

To access all these articles, I used JStor, and my university library card.
 
 
Spatula Clarke
19:43 / 24.10.05
Which is great for you, but I can't access any of the content of that site. Can you quote the relevant passages?
 
 
Spaniel
19:48 / 24.10.05
Could you please quote some statistics, also?
I'm not trying to be difficult, I just want to be clear as to whether there is any evidence to support your core contention: that teenage sex is on the increase.
 
 
matthew.
19:58 / 24.10.05
As I said, tomorrow. I have a paper due, so I have to finish that first. I've been spending too much time here, as it is.
 
 
ibis the being
21:02 / 24.10.05
I don't really want to drop the thong/trashy point, because I think it stands nicely for your overall problem with child/preteen sexuality.

So, a young girl's wearing a thong and you find it (the underwear) sexy - until you realize you're looking at a child, and you're a bit horrified at your own misdirected sexual impulse. So you blame the girl/underwear/society for triggering an inappropriate sexual response IN YOU to a child.

Isn't this emblematic of your larger issue?

If a child is developing early, that's fine. But if only sexuality is developing and not emotional maturity, than that's a bad thing. My point is that they can't make mature decisions about their own sexuality because they are not emotionally mature.

So, if a ten-year-old girl reaches physical, sexual maturity, but happens to not be mature enough to be in a sexual relationship, you're saying "that's a bad thing?" Should she have tried not to menstruate so early? Or is she now duty-bound to ignore/deny her sexual impulses until what [someone] considers a reasonable age?

Isn't what you're really saying that you feel intensely uncomfortable with being confronted by preteen sexuality, and you feel the need to (as you said) "blame" someone for putting you in this icky moral conundrum? Isn't all that's really changed the fact that now YOU are an adult, whereas before you were a child yourself and largely unaware of the adult POV on this?

I think you'd be quite surprised to learn that children are, and probably always have been, more sexual than you believe. I still don't think you've answered the question of why it's "bad" or a problem if young teens are experimenting amongst themselves. I think it's the outward manifestation (clothing) of their sexuality that bothers you, because of the way that it intersects with adult sexuality.
 
  

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