Archive for February, 2008

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Whaaaaaat?

Gender, Pop Culture, Sex & Sexuality 1 Comment »

I consider myself to be a very open and understanding person when it comes to sex and sexuality–if it makes you feel good, makes you happy, and doesn’t degrade or hurt anyone, go for it!  However, I’ve been noticing a trend lately that has me saying “whaaaaaat?”–the portrayal of children and sex in popular culture.   

I know that this is nothing new.  Short shorts and tight t-shrits with sexy sayings have become a mainstay in girls clothing departments everywhere.  Comapnies like Club Libby Lu promote make-up, manicures, and modeling to girls as young as 5.  Many people feel free to comment on the sexual appeal of underage celebrities (Britney Spears, the Olsen twins, even 15-year-old Miley Cyrus).  But this “subtle” connection between children and sex seems to increasing, becoming stronger. 

I recently watched the movie Good Luck Chuck (please don’t waste your time–the film deserves every Razzie it is nominated for!), which opens with kids playing a game of Spin the Bottle that leads to Seven Minutes in Heaven in the closet.  Chuck, the main character, spins himself into makeout time with a goth girl who tears off his shirt, scratches her black-painted nails down his chest, and rips off her own shirt to reveal a black leather training bra.  The actress who played the part, Sasha Pieterse, was only 10-11 years old at the time of the film’s production.  Despite the film’s other faults (extremely disgusting humor, for one), I was most bothered by this young girl and her “kinky” character. 

The film Smoking Aces, a shoot-em up mafia/casino action flick, includes a young boy with ADHD who gets an erection next to a criminal who is bathing in a tub.  Especially since this entire storyline and character bears no significance to the movie, why include it?

I know that many teenage relationships and pregnancies are the result of sex with men over the age of 18 (some well over the age of 18).  This failed ad campaign (below) is disturbing for two reasons–that there is such an issue with statutory rape that we need public service announcements to address the problem and that the ad designers thought that objectifying young girls as busty women was a good idea.

underagegirl2.jpg

I can’t help but ponder–did pop culture start potraying underage children as sexual beings first, or is pop culture just a reflection of a growing issue within our culture?