B.L.U.F. – Let’s just stop sexualizing children altogether, hm? It’s wrong at all levels.
The big news out there right now is Target’s ill-chosen marketing of “tuck friendly” bathing suits for children. I have to admit, I lost it when I read that one. I went and checked it out, because that was beyond the pale, even for the woke side of things. The bottom line is, it’s both true and “not quite true”. The bathing suits are there, but only the adult ones are labeled “tuck friendly”. But as that article states, the kids’ bathing suits are MADE that way. Due to all the bathing suits in question being Pride oriented, the tuck friendly ones were displayed next to the children’s ones. (Please note, this is about the inappropriate for kids bathing suits, and not the Pride items themselves.)
I’ll go out on a limb here. I don’t care if someone who has male parts decides that they want to be female. You want that, go for it. But you do it as an adult. I don’t mind catering to kids who want to dress like the opposite gender, or no gender at all. I’m fine with kids wanting to change their names, or institute a nickname. But changes to a developing body are not cool at all, as the fairly significant number of people who transitioned as children are now talking about. If you want to take hormones or make surgical changes after the age of 18, that’s between you and your doctors. It is literally none of my business. Do not go changing your children, though. That’s WRONG.
To be clear, it’s not “just” morally wrong; it’s medically wrong. While temporary use of hormone blockers is considered safe (and has been used for a very long time in children who developed sexual hormones too early), we literally don’t know what they do when used for longer than the couple of years they were designed for. There is an awful lot of “we just don’t know” in the medical field in regards to medical interventions for young people under the age of 21. I’m enough of a libertarian to say that at 18, we no longer have the right to deny whatever medical procedures a new adult wants, but until 18, that decision must be left in the hands of responsible adults. When I say “responsible adults,” I mean the parents in conjunction with mental health professionals and doctors.
That isn’t the only sexual issue out there, though. The following may be stuff you haven’t thought of, but I posit that if you have problems with the above issue, then what I share below should also bother you. I am disturbed by the number of people it doesn’t bother, quite frankly.
When you go into Target or Walmart, or higher end clothing stores, you’ll find a selection of bathing suits. Again, I don’t care what they market to adults. Not my business what another adult is doing, wearing, etc. The last time I was in a big box store in the kids’ area, I found bikinis and tight speedo bathing suits. This has been an ongoing issue for decades. I would not allow my children to wear “tiny” bathing suits until they were in their late teens (by which point they had no interest, which makes me happy, but that’s another story). In no way, shape, or form was my 3 year old going to be wearing a bikini.
Why is it that it’s considered okay to put toddlers into make-up and adult clothing for pageants? Why is it okay for them to go to the beach in clothing that reveals more than it hides? I’d much rather take my children to a nude beach (and have!) than allow them to wander around in a bikini. The purpose of a bikini (male or female) is to emphasize and accentuate the parts of the human body that are considered sexual in nature. Someone under the age of 17 or 18 has no need to be wearing that!
I have two stories for you. The first is about hubby, myself, and my bestie’s daughter.
Several years ago, hubby and I were driving home from a farmer’s market in our old van. We both happen to have an eye for pretty women, and there was a delicious looking woman walking down the road toward us. I made a wholly inappropriate comment (which was just between me and him, and a part of our relationship), and he grinned. As we passed her, we realized that the “woman” was the 14 year old daughter of my best friend.
Hubby managed to do a 180 with the van (quite the feat, considering it was huge and mostly being held together by duct tape and baling wire), came to a screeching, dusty halt with the back passenger “slide” door opening (which he did by reaching back to open it WHILE DRIVING), right in front of the girl. He growled, “Get in the van, M-!”
She did, quickly and worriedly. We drove her and her friends to her house, and dropped her off to her parents. Then we sat down with M and her mom, and explained exactly what had happened. Wearing a string bikini (because it was literally three postage stamps held together with a bit of string) while walking down the street is not acceptable at most ages, but definitely not at age 14. Her mother took her to task, and she was grounded. The thing that stuck with her, though, was that “Uncle AWA and Auntie H” had found her sexually attractive, albeit from a distance. That squicked her to the Nth degree, which we emphasized several times. She never did it again (and is now a wonderful, responsible, loving adult doing her own thing and succeeding in life, thank heavens).
If she’d been 18, I still would have had issues with the outfit, but I’d have said nothing. Adults in this country have the right to dress and do whatever they want, provided they aren’t breaking any accepted laws. At 14, it was hubby’s and my responsibility (as friends and mentors and “spare parents”, something already accepted among the group of us) to make sure she got home safe and understood what she had done.
We made it clear – wearing something sexual is not an invitation to sex. If someone rapes you, it doesn’t matter what you wear or don’t wear, the rapist is the bad one. But there’s also a problem with what we called “false advertising”, at that time. At 14, this girl looked like she was old enough to drink. She had curves and her mom’s upper body, and she did NOT look 14. She had to understand that she was telling people, overtly and purposefully, that she was a sexual being who was old enough and mature enough to make those kinds of decisions. Since she was not, in fact, old or mature enough to make that decision, it was wrong of her to send that message.
This second story is about this summer.
I work at Renaissance Faires throughout the summer. I have a lot of fun, and I have made a point of taking my kids along with. After-hours ren faire time is sort of like a slightly bawdy 50’s neighborhood: everyone parents the kids communally, and we’re all both strict and lax at the same time. The one kid who’s kept coming to fairs with me over the past decade has grown up with a hundred aunties and uncles who’ve watched over her, nurtured her, offered advice, listened patiently, and brought her back to me in shame a couple of times when she’s done something wrong (minor stuff, always, but still). She’s just about 18 now, and ready to fly on her own, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
At this first fair of the season, we have a belly dancing troupe. They’re awesome ladies, and I’ve watched them grow and mature over the past 10 years. They are also fantastic dancers. Unlike some of the troupes out there, they do not wear terribly revealing outfits. They wear somewhat suggestive things, but they are almost always covered from shoulder to knee with at least two layers. They do this for two reasons: first, so they don’t burn in the hot spring sun, and second, because real belly dancing has never been sexual. It’s sensual, yes, but not sexual. And they keep it that way.
One of the dancers has a daughter who’s now four years old. She’s a sweet little thing, adorable, intelligent, inquisitive. She likes to dance with her mom. She has her own little belly dancing outfit. It is definitely not like the belly dancing outfits I found online. Take a look at this sweet little number, which comes from a typical site for child dancers, called CKC Patterns. Go look up “child belly dance outfits” and be prepared to be outraged. I’ll wait.
On the other hand, this is Miss L’s belly dancing outfit, below. I have permission from both her mom and the photographer to share this image, with her face blurred out. You can see that she’s fully covered. She has jingly bells on her hips, but they’re not tight or revealing in any way. She looks much like her mom, to be honest, and she was having the time of her life dancing for the crowds along with her mom and aunties. This is a dancing costume done right. It’s adorable, age appropriate, and has all the requisite items for belly dancing without leaving you questioning your own sexuality while watching it. This child got to experience dancing for a crowd without having the adult parts of it foisted onto her. Kudos to her mom!
So when it comes to pageants and child beauty queens, the vast majority of parents who are doing that to their children (because children do not know how to sexualize themselves, just sayin’) swing hard Right. The only good thing I can say about it is that they’re not giving their kids untried medical treatments in the process of the abuse, as the woke Left is, but it’s a small distinction. The “pageant Right” and the “woke Left” aren’t that different from one another. They’re just sexualizing and yes, abusing their kids, in opposite ways. Where the Left want medical interventions, the Right just wants to make their 4 and 5 year olds into miniature adult women. Both extremes make me ill.