Tuesday, November 03, 2009

So Sexy, So Soon by Diane Levin and Jean Kilbourne

This one just sort of jumped off the shelf at me when I passed it in the library. I thought my reading it was a little premature considering the fact that my children aren't even in school yet, but it turns out that it was perfect timing.

There was nothing particularly surprising in it--advertisers know exactly how to make your children want their products; television ruins kids for open-ended, imaginative play; advertisers rely on gender stereotypes to market their stuff; you know, the usual--although I was taken aback by some of the anecdotes shared by the authors. They mostly reflected a frightening amount of knowledge by very, very young children regarding sex.

The thing that I found most helpful was the authors' insistence that there is a big difference between sexuality and sexualization, which is something I knew but needed to be reminded of. Young children are always exploring what it means to be boys and girls, and thus what it means to be men and women, and that's developmentally appropriate (except when media encourage kids to explore those things in ways that aren't age appropriate, which seems to be rampant).

It was good that I had been reminded of that today as I listened to Joshua and Olivia's snacktime conversation. Olivia asked Josh if they would get married when they grew up. He seemed to thing that was a pretty good idea. She told him that she loved him. He told her that he loved her too. Then she declared that they would be getting married because they're friends and they like each other.

Had I overheard that conversation a few weeks ago I might have been a little unnerved, wondering what had prompted such a conversation, but today I laughed (and recorded it in real time on Facebook). They're noticing what's going on around them and trying to make it make sense in their own lives. Good life skills for them; good chuckle for me.

So the book wasn't really earth-shattering, but it offered some good reminders.


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