I woke up this morning thinking about the odd sexual taboos that this country has. I was thinking about the fact that my 4 and 6-year-old know about death and killing, they’ve seen violence in movies pretty much since the first one they watched. (It was one of the Disney princess stories, but I don’t remember which one.)
Pretty much everything they see has an element of violence to it. Tom and Jerry are positively wicked to each other. The Pink Panther is sly and subtle, but there is still always at least one explosion. The Disney films always kill the bad witch in the end. Violence is just part of life. There is no real model for reconciliation in any of these that I can think of.
On the other hand my children know very little about sex. You know, that great, fun, amazing act which brought them into the world. That loving, kind, fulfilling, moving act which all mammals perform, and which hawks perform while dive-bombing the ground at ridiculous speeds – now THAT must be quite a rush!! That absolutely natural requirement of life itself. They know next to nothing about that.
My husband and I are very open people, we talk with our children honestly about their bodies, our bodies, and where they came from. They have never for one minute thought a stork magically delivered them to our door. We’ve skipped some of the details of sex so far, mostly because the girls haven’t asked exactly what happens down there in the moment. But they have very few life models of this. In the movies they’re allowed to watch according to whoever it is who puts ratings on them the prince saves the day, takes the princess, they kiss and it’s over. Ta-Da!
Now, my children have seen a couple of PG-13 movies already, they were romantic comedies. There was little to no violence, but there was kissing, a fade to black before the real sex started, maybe a boob and a swear word or two. This made the films unsuitable for my “delicate little rosebuds”. On the other hand there are PG rated films, and even G rated films which are filled with violence, murder, death, pain, even torture.
Isn’t it strange that we shelter our children from love, but we’ve decided that it’s OK for them to watch gore. What message does that ultimately send to them? That love is taboo, but hitting is OK? I never thought I’d be one of those parents who blamed television, but when I hang out with kids who get to watch a lot of it – they’re different. They really do emulate their favorite characters and stars. Drive by a middle school some time and check out all the Miley Cyrus/Hanna Montana wanna bes.
THAT is what happens when healthy sex is a taboo – you get these twisted little girls showing off their bodies and not really understanding what it means or even why they are doing it. And you get their male counterparts not knowing what to do with this stimulation, knowing that it’s for them, but again not knowing what to do with it, how to treat it respectfully. Thinking they can pick a fight, save the day and then kiss the girl and… fade to black…
We need to start rethinking our national policy on sex – not just sex ed in schools which is a whole other blog. But sex all around. We live in a very sex-negative culture (to borrow a phrase from my favorite sex advice person – Dan Savage) That needs to change. We need to start fighting to change it.
Both boys and girls have these horrible body image problems. They are all confused about what it means that they are having “these thoughts” whatever those thoughts may be. And they have no one to talk to, their teachers don’t know what to say. Their parents are embarrassed, scared, or don’t know themselves. Meanwhile we’ve got kids who want to preserve their virginity having unprotected anal sex and spreading disease because no one has told them that the only thing they are preventing is pregnancy. We have homosexual kids who do have parental support coming out of the closet in high school which is awesome, but then the schools do things like not allow them to bring their dates to the prom because it might make the other students uncomfortable. And how comfortable do you think those kids are being surrounded by heterosexuals making out in the halls? We have teen pregnancy rates on the rise, teen STI rates on the rise, teen rape and abuse on the rise, we have “sexting” – that’s texting nude images of yourself, your boyfriend/girlfriend to each other, or, after the break-up, to all of your friends. This act is being treated like the creation and distribution of child pron and stupid kids who should know better, but don’t because no one will talk to them about it, are getting put on the sex-offender list and ending up in jail.
So, let’s talk about sex. To our kids, to other peoples kids, in movies, on tv, let’s just fucking talk about it. I’m not saying my kids, or your kids, need to watch people having sex. But honestly, I’d prefer that to them watching another murder, even if the person being murdered IS the wicked witch who picked on the princess.