If you dress like a slut then you are asking to be raped. Is this really what men think about woman? I know that it is not something I want to even let my boys contenttemplate thinking and have to say I was shocked that in today’s society that any man, let alone a police officer would band things like this about.
If you go into a shop is it acceptable to steal as you are being tempted by all the things on offer? I didn’t think so, so why does the way a woman dress mean that she is asking to be raped? But fundamentally what worried me was that this is what the man obviously thought and felt strongly enough to say even though he was aware that it was something that he shouldn’t be saying in his capacity as a police officer.
Where did this opinion come from? The more I though about it, the more I know that I do not want my children growing up thinking this, but then again there is no way I would go out publicly in some of the things that people do, nor would I let my boys watch a lot of the music video’s that are on MTV. I think that we are sending out the wrong messages about what is acceptable in today’s society. Why do people feel the need to sexualize children at such an early age. Why do people question when I let the boys play int heir paddling pool naked or even go in the sea naked, if I don’t have swimming trunks with me. When we were at Newby Hall recently I heard a mum tell her daughter to put her bikini top on, she was 3 at the oldest, at that age I was just in bottoms or a one piece. As a parent surely it is down to us to educate our children and make the changes. There has to be a market for bikini’s, sordid t shirts, padded bra’s and high heels for children or manufacturers wouldn’t make then and shops wouldn’t sell them.
So has the time to come to start educating people that rape is not acceptable in any circumstances, but also take this as a wake up call that we need to let children be children, let then watch music video without having to see people “bump and grind” (I hate watching them copying the style of dancing). Let then be able to go and buy a comic without worrying what is on the cover of lads mags. Sally at who’s the mummy posted about going to see a U film which had reference to playboy bunny’s in. Carly from Mummy Shoes has also done a fantastic post about media and the sexulisation of society. Mumsnet also have a campaign to allow girls to be girls, which has a host of information about the early sexulatisation of girls on.
So what are your thoughts and what can we do to stop this happening?
It’s sad that society is the way it is isn’t it.
I purposely let our three year old run around naked out of principal, when we get out of the pool or if I need to change him in public! He’s just a kid and they spend far too much time couped up in a nappy!
There’s a guy near us who we see walking his dog Who always approaches our son. He’s creepy and sadly we’ve labelled him. We shouldn’t have done but we make excuses not to stop and chat.
I think girls need to be educated about safety in numbers etc and unlicensed taxis but they shouldn’t feel like men can do what they like because of the way they’re dressed.
Baby genie » I think that you are right about educating woman about safe ways to be out at night is correct. But I always felt that there are just as many pedophiles around now, it is just we are much more aware of them. I let my boys be nude at appropriate times and that is pretty much all the time as children
Good questions. To go off-track, slightly, a post that Elizabethd did on French Village Life got a lot of comments to the effect that police had blamed the victims of pickpockets for ‘having an unsuitable bag’ etc – therefore it seems that a lazy police response is to put blame (or pass some of the blame at least) onto the victim, rather than having to deal with the actual crime. Therefore it’s not about rape per se, but about lazy policing in general.
Now back to the sexualisation of children. It’s much less obvious here in France. Very little of the inappropriate dressing of small girls etc. So culturally, the French have found that easier to resist than the British. Why? Possibly because they control their children a lot more than we do. Getting something just because you ask for it doesn’t happen to French children. Possibly also because the French rate sex very highly and therefore have it all thought-out – maybe we Brits haven’t thought about it clearly – I don’t know! Also there is more resistance to marketing and probably more government control of advertising and even of shop sales. The market is more free in the UK and market forces have unfortunately lead to the sale of nasty clothes for children.
The French do watch those horrid ‘bump and grind’ videos on MTV etc but I’ve noticed that their own videos, even for hip hop music, are much less sex-based. Once again, they seem to value sex too highly to turn it into a sordid marketing tool. We hardly see those videos at home as we don’t have the ‘right’ channels, but even as the mum of young teen boys (or perhaps expecially at this age) I am horrified when we see them at the hairdressers or in waiting rooms. It’s just bizarre to me that this kind of thing is seen as entertaining and acceptable. The boys find them uncomfortable but also alluring – who wouldn’t at that age? I’m not trying to shield them from growing up but I am happy that we don’t see that kind of thing at home.
Floss » Thanks for the interesting comment floss. I agree that it is much less prevalent in other European countries, but then they are not as heavily influenced by the USA as we are. France has to have 33% of French music played on the radio and they seem to want to keep their own culture and value children for what they are children.
I grew up in a family that equated sex with love and I still do, which is why the sezulisation of children at such a young age really does get to me. I hope that I can teach my boys that sex is a wonderful thing and with love it is even better. I do wonder sometimes what the media is doing to our children.
I’ve had comments from parents at nursery that I should stop Moo lifting her shirt up when she greats people.
She’s 2. She’s showing you her tummy, cos she’s just learnt where it is, and she likes people to tickle it. Ok, so if she’s still doing it when she’s 16, there could be a problem. But come on people!
Great post Jen.
Bumbling » Due to the terrible winter Mini’s class did not have as much access to outside space, so started to do PE in the school hall (reception class) and there was an uproar that they would do it in vests and pants. I was beside myself. They were all 4 years old, many could not dress themselves, how were the teachers supposed to get them changed? But more than that what is wrong with doing PE in vests and pants at 4, Mini didnt mind, I didnt mind. Thankfully in the end the school put there foot down and vent and pants it was. It is other peoples issues not mine.
I don’t like leaving links in comments but I feel incredibly strongly about this.
I’ve blogged about the media and our children and image. GuidingUK has a very strong stance on it an are trying to educate Girls to feel good about themselves without this need to sexualise. http://www.girlguiding.org.uk/our_research/give_yourself_a_chance.aspx
It is right that we teach our children to be children and not sexualise them early, we should teach teens to have respect for their bodies and appreciate who they are beyond a mirror.
But we are fighting a losing battle with padded teen bras and gyrating dances. I cringe to her 5 years olds belting out S&M or suicidal. It is so wrong.
We can’t also expect all people to have the same moral bar and I believe that whilst girls should not be picked on for what they wear, that wearing inappropriate clothing (mini skirt, dark street, alone etc) can make them a target for men that do not have respect, control or possibly a brain.
Sorry have started to rant now.
kelloggsville » I found your links really interesting and think that the guides are doing the right thing. I am a firm believer in the importance and value of sex. I grew up in a home that equated sex with love and still do and I hope to pass this on to my children. I want the boys to not judge woman on what they choose to wear and will never label a woman for what she is wearing and hope that they follow suit. I do understand that I can not expect the same of everyone, but I have got to make a stand somewhere, otherwise I am not the woman I was raised to be.
Your first point of discussion, concerning how men treat and think of women encapsulates why I laugh when someone puts to me that we we live in a post-feminist society or that it isn’t necessary to have these discussions any more. It is absolutely necessary. Parents need to pass on the right message, because society still falls short sometimes.
The mumsnet link is interesting!
Megan » Indeed, the older I get the more I reliase that as woman we have a lot of work to do
You and Sally both raise great points.
I wasa driving the kids to school this morning with the radio on and me and the kids were singing along and then I stopped and listening to the lyrics. I dont know what we were singing but the words “I wanna have sex with you” came out quite regulary. My kids are five – quickly I turned Chris Evans off and nursery rhymes on.
I love that Twin girl still runs around naked and twin boy doesnt care who sees his whatsit
lets keep our kids kids and maybe think about how much we sexualise our culture….
northernmum » Yes don’t get me started on song lyrics. I rember blusing when I listened to hicory hollers tramp with my mum and dad in the car! I am pretty old fashioned and believe that sex is nsomething to be valued and to share with the person you love, so hope my children feel the same way as me too. I was really interested in Floss’ comment as she lives in France and it is much less obvious there.
As a mum to two little boys and a “rape survivor” myself I know that the message I will be giving my boys, and any girls I have will be two fold. On the one hand 1) we are living in a shitty culture so protect yourself, dress as you feel comfortable but be aware of your surroundings and your behaviour in the environment, like getting plastered with a group of randy guys who are getting liberal with hands, wouldn’t be your fault but lets be aware of the situation and do what we can and 2) DO NOT RAPE. Do not think that no means yes, no means no, do not think that he/she’ll change her mind when you get going, do not get so drunk/high/whatever that you can no longer control yourself.
With regards to sexualisation of children, I think that as parents we are entirely to blame. I for one will buy my girls padded bras or heeled shoes or t-shirts with playboy bunnies on them when hell freezes over. I don’t care what anyone else does, what ever trend is that’s going, it just ain’t gonna happen.
Katrina » Thank you for commenting, I really appreicate it. I will endevor to teach my boys that no means no and I also beleive that rape is not always a sezual thing, as much as it is a power thing. I am sorry that you had to go through that.
I am with you on children being children. I make sure my boys have a healthy respect for woman and I am in a posuition that my husband is a fantastic role model for them, as a woman and a mother, this is one of my main parenting aims
Oh, this does make me so cross!
From a mother of boys point of view, I worry a lot about how to ensure that my boys learn to treat women with respect. With the easy accesibility of porn and the messages that society is sending them, this is going to be one of my main parenting missions.
Pants With Names » It is one of mine too, I believe that my boys should respect girls and woman and it is my job to teach them
Every time I take Little S to school, I see how some of the young girls are dressed and it looks so inappropriate. I’m all for Baby B wearing trendy clothes but it can be done without trying to make her look like an adult. I really want her to have a positive body image so whatever hangups I have about my weight and looks, I don’t talk about them around her or S.
It annoys me that magazines portray ‘perfect women’ as the right kind of woman to be and I do worry how they will affect B in the future, as they definitely affected me when I was in my teens.
As for nakedness, I don’t care if mine are naked, although it was tough when I went to groups and Little S left a pile of clothes on the floor, and someone would tell me my son was naked again! It’s hard, because I have to teach him social boundaries as he doesn’t know them instinctively, but I still want him to be a child!
clareybabble » There is a diffence in dressing tredy and dressing as an older child. I think this is something that we have to work on as parents
I think it would be very difficult to stop your child coming across images and picking up those kinds of ideas about sex, gender and rape without banning TV, the internet and playdates in other houses. Very hard to do and they still can pick up some of these attititudes at school. Maybe sometimes the best way is to discuss with them what they have seen and try to use logic to calmly counter the messages they have begun to absorb.
Blue Sky » It is very hard, but it is my job as their mum to try and put thins into perspective. I am a great believer in not ingoring them and discussing them as you suggest