“Over the past decade, the sexualisation of children has become a fiercely debated topic around the globe, with national inquiries recently conducted in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. We’ve also seen some spectacular retail fails. In 2006, UK chain store Tesco advertised a pole dancing kit in its toys and games section, labelled as suitable for children aged eleven years and up. In 2009, British bookstore WH Smith stocked a selection of Playboy-branded stationery products, marketed to school-age girls. And in 2011, US clothing label Abercrombie & Fitch released a range of push-up bikinis in their children’s line, said to be appropriate for girls as young as eight years old. Each of these products was eventually recalled following public outrage. This sexualisation not only impacts on how young girls see themselves, the new research shows it also affects how they are treated and viewed by adults.”
What does this research tell us? It tells us that young children are developmentally affected with multiple negative outcomes when they are exposed to adult sexualization. That is why ‘family’ entertainment, like the Superbowl half-time show, produced public outrage from a bipartisan audience. Adults need to protect children from inappropriate, sexually explicit material, not expose them to it. The Superbowl show wasn’t a display of female empowerment; it was a display showing the negative effects of cultural objectification fueled by the pornography industry. Seeing any kind of objectification provides children and adults with destructive role models to copy with equally destructive repercussions. “Over time, what will happen is a kid will become desensitized. It will become flatline, and that behavior, that sexuality, becomes normalized,” said psychologist Jayme Albin in an interview with NTD. “So now in order to get that same sensation, they have to act sexually, it’s very similar to a person using drugs.”
God created our world by designing each child and each adult with dignity. Everyone is a part of the human family and everyone deserves respected status. It’s not surprising when the research shows that hypersexualized adults and children are not seen as having value when they are objectified. When the adult culture allows commodification, we are dehumanizing who we are and failing to protect our youngest citizens.
Join the leaders who are speaking out against the cultural trend to normalize what is not normal. John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview commented: “In the midst of our culture’s ubiquitous calls to protect kids and women from abuse and harassment, especially in this #MeToo era, we pretend that as long as we call it ‘art’ or ‘female empowerment,’ that this sort of overt sexualization will magically have none of the consequences we now complain about.”
Ryan Bomberger, co-founder of The Radiance Foundation, argued that “Latino culture was not celebrated during the Pepsi Halftime Show; it was exploited. Funny how in this #MeToo era, entertainers seem to vie to be as naked and as sexual as possible–not on a director’s couch–but in front of over a hundred million sets of eyes. J-Lo, Shakira, Pepsi and the NFL let down a generation of girls and boys who deserve so much better than the fake feminism on full display Sunday night,” he said.
Kristen Ruby, a commentator and president of Ruby Media Group, tweeted, “You call it dancing and entertainment. I call it what it is: softcore porn. Our society is really crumbling.”
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira are both talented women. I’d welcome a respectful conversation with them to discuss the researched outcomes of hypersexualization in dance that negatively affect both adults and children.
Join the conversation.
Football Photo by Sarah Shaffer on Unsplash