Monday, September 27, 2010

A Workplace Topic of Conversation Today

There was a news story recently about a mother in Michigan who complained to her daughter's school about the appropriateness of a cheerleading routine that the 6-year old was practicing. It included the words,

"Our backs ache, our skirts are too tight, we shake our booties from left to right."

That's right, SIX year olds. I didn't know they started 'em that young. I guess it's no surprise that in the cut-throat world of cheerleading the end result was that the cheer stayed and the kid left the team.

One of my co-workers was commenting that his very young, school-age daughter and her friends liked to gleefully sing the "California Gurls" song that was popular this summer, including the lyrics "sex on the beach." These are second-graders.

I don't have a daughter, and I'm kind of glad. I'm not sure I could handle it. I'm not trying to sound like the Church Lady here, cause I'm not --- but the messages that girls get about the 'booty', starting at a very young age, has got to be something that is really difficult to navigate. Our kids are totally surrounded by sexual images. We can control what they see and hear to a certain extent, but we can't shield them forever unless we lock them in a closet. I remember an article once pointing out that the U.S.A. has a very schizophrenic attitude towards all this. There's a huge uproar when Janet Jackson has a wardrobe malfunction and flashes a breast on TV, and yet I can't pay for my groceries without an issue of Cosmo screaming "orgasm" in my face or watch any sporting event on TV without the Viagra/Cialis/Levitra hit parade.

I sometimes think that being a pre-teen girl nowadays might be the depth of misery. I see them come through the pharmacy sometimes, and walking to school around my house. Most of them don't look anything like Katy Perry. I know I didn't. I guess those of us behind the pharmacy counter (and in the doc's office) often get to see the consequences of the --uh,-- 'booty', a little too often. Believe me, I bristle at the thought of any Morals Police looking over my shoulder, but sometimes I wish we could just dial it back a little. For the girls, and for the boys.


Pharmgirl said...

So well said, Frantic. Girls are taught that their whole worth is tied to their attractiveness to men, then when they get older and act on it, they are branded as sluts and ho's. It disgusts me. I was shopping for a gift for my then-9-year-old cousin, at a store marketed toward her age range, and they had little bitty PADDED BRAS for pre-teens. Absolutely sickening.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Very good post.

Anonymous said...

It's not just a problem for girls -- I have a 12 year old son and some of the lyrics you hear on the radio are appalling messages about how to treat a woman: "Honey got a booty like pow, pow, pow; Honey got some boobies like wow, oh wow" YIKES!!!!!!!!!! OttawaRPh

Anonymous said...

Boys are encouraged to act on their "biological imperative" (yeah, right) and girls are still supposed to be pretty, sexy, and hide their intelligence.

Proper sex education can't be taught in schools - I'm guessing it's still girls watch some silly DVD sponsored by Playtex or Tampax and boys watch ESPN. IMHO, everybody ought to have to watch the same video, with graphic outcomes incomes including pregnancy and STDS and be equally informed/embarrassed.

Disclaimer: I got my first bra in 4th grade, and it was neither a training bra nor was it padded.

The Redheaded Pharmacist said...

I'm not a father but if I ever get the chance in the future I sure hope I have boys. Not because I really want boys more but because I don't think I can handle the responsibilities of raising girls. But I guess being a parent is tough either way and being a kid these days is really tough!

Anonymous said...

My 5-year old niece, while walking with me through a well-known department store, kept stopping and striking poses as we passed the bra and panty section. I asked her what she was doing and she said she was "being sexy". I was a little taken aback, and then, she looked up at me and asked, "Auntie, what does sexy mean?" SIGH.

pharmacy chick said...

I agree that we have set expectations way to far for our kids when it comes to what amounts to living vicariously thru them. We endure way too many sexual images way too young. I am made ill when I see some of the clothes that really young girls wear. My neice wanted to buy some sweat pants (low cut) with the word "booty" emblazoned on the rear end. Mother said "absolutely NO". she was about 8. Good God, let kids be kids. play with barbie dolls, have tea parties, throw a ball around, play hide and seek like we did. Whats the hurry to throw sex into everything?? I do would like to see the clock rolled back just a bit.