Today’s sexism in the media rant focuses on a disturbing trend of sexualizing children. Now I admit I have some somewhat old fogie-esque views on this topic, because I think the longer people wait to have sex, in most cases, the better. As much as I embrace sexual freedom in some ways, and am uncomfortable saying that you shouldn’t be allowed to have sex if you’re under eighteen (and definitely don’t think we should demonize those that do), it bothers me that children and young teenagers are having sex. Maybe this is part of my middle-class privilege, in that I was “protected” from that in ways (and also just exempted by the fortunate fact that I was not a gorgeous fifteen-year-old), but it creeps me out when I see children marketed as sex objects.
Feministing recently posted two examples, here and here. The poster’s focus in showing the first ad, a creepy television spot demonstrating how a new cell phone can be used for stalking your sleeping neighbor, was that stalking/objectification is wrong. The poster’s focus in the second ad, a BMW magazine spread, is again the objectification of the woman pictured. Both perfectly good points, but I was surprised that neither poster noted that the “women” shown are teenaged girls. The actresses themselves may be eighteen, but I would pin them both in the 12-15 age range. What creeps me out is not only that we’re objectifying women, but that we’re objectifying kids, more or less. Especially in the second ad, the whole “yeah, you know she’s not a virgin” message nearly made my mouth drop open. Sure, in today’s culture perhaps it’s not inaccurate to assume that a teenager or preteen has probably been abused in the past, but should we be celebrating it?