It is not going to knock any of you off your chairs when I tell you that I am passionate about teaching parents media literacy skills and ending the sexualization of childhood. The catalyst for this you may not know, that my professional background is actually in the legal and criminal investigations field. Before I had my children my world was one at the far end of this spectrum — of tracking down trafficked women and child prostitutes, busting drug dealers, along with helping to solve homicides and other heinous crimes. That feels like a lifetime ago, and yet is doesn’t. Because I still work on that very same spectrum.
When we talk about human trafficking and child sex slavery being a crime that is everywhere with no community immune, that truly means it is everywhere and no town is immune. An arrest of people holding a teen girl into forced prostitution just took place a mile from my home, and this is why I am so very vocal against the sexualization of childhood and blurring the line of taboo between children and sex. Because in that game, sixteen is old. A twelve year old will get you primo dollar, have an ten year old and guys will be lined up outside the door. Nauseated yet?
You may think one is not related to the other, but when we are willing to let marketers sell adult concepts of sexuality to our children in the form of toys, that act desensitizes all of us and especially blurs the taboo I talk about. As my colleague Margot Magowan says, “Here, in the home of the free and the brave, sexualizing kids is accepted and normal. We allow it and condone it.”
We are all part of the problem if we are not part of the solution.
If your child is safe from this, thank goodness. That gives you the time and space to use your voice for the children who have no one speaking up for them.