Tag Archives: toddlers and tiaras

SEXUALIZING CHILDREN

YOUR OPINION NEEDED

One of my  Laugh and Play Emotional Fitness Training (EFT) Exercises suggests dancing as a way to play.  I love to dance.  Have my own style, but it is a great way to have fun and also to Move Your Body which is another EFT exercise.  Mostly I dance like no one is watching and when no one is watching.  This post is not about the joy of dancing.

Most of us make fun of Toddlers and Tiaras, if we know about it and bother to watch it.  I find it painful for it is one of the many number of ways adults sexualize children.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I think sexual pleasures are one of life’s greatest blessings.  I rant against St. Paul for saying “Better to wed than bed.”  Not even sure he said it, but whoever promoted that idea diluted sexual pleasures for all. And let me acknowledge that at the time sexual restraint was being promoted children, slaves, and wives were property and subject to rape and other sexual tortures.  But as with many things the pendulum swung too far.

Nor do I deny that children have sexual feelings.  Anyone with any experience with children knows children find pleasure in their bodies.  My objection is adults pushing more adult related ideas about what is sexy onto children.  I also object to adults being turned on by children.

Part of the Mental Health Team I directed in the Mott Haven Section of the South Bronx included a Family Support Program.  I had money to spend on art, music, and dance lessons.  At the end of the year, we devoted one of our Family Fun Nights to a Dance Recital.  They distressed me because of the Salsa dances, and not because of the kids, but because of the men in the audience.  Because it was a recital, more fathers, uncles, and brothers were in the audience than usual.  The teen and preteen girls salsa-ing made far too many of the men salivate.

I was, however, torn.  Much of my training pushed me to be culturally sensitive.  Moreover, I knew that the men might salivate but few of them would act directly on the feelings being aroused.  Moreover, the female partners might garner some loving that night that would please them.  Still I was bothered.  I don’t think I even mentioned my concerns to any of my staff.  The Salsa lessons continued, along with the yearly recitals and my concerns.

As with many things, this is complicated and the world settles it in many ways.  Think of the women dressing modestly or wearing a Burka so men won’t be turned on.  At the other extreme visit a nude beach or almost any swimming pool in the western world.  I have walked at nude beaches and I dress modestly when going to religious services.  I also shake my head at the teeny-weeny, too small for polka dots, bikinis seen at my local swimming pool.

Which is why I would be interested in hearing lots of different opinions on this subject.  What is yours?