What Choice Do I Have In Explaining ‘Sexy’ To My Little Girl?

In a hyper-sexual culture that markets sex directly to young children, parents are forced to explain adult concepts at ages we never dreamed of. When I first became a parent I never dreamed I’d be having conversations about sexiness with my 8yo almost-third grader. But I am, because I’d rather she get our family’s definition than that of the marketers.

The most popular fashion dolls in 2014, marketed directly to young girls.

The most popular fashion dolls in 2014, marketed directly to young girls.

Blog Comment (Judgement) left by Helga P: “8-year-old going on 25. Third grade teacher is going to have loads of fun redirecting conversations with this girl withal all her talk of sexiness.”

PPBB Response: “Helga – No, actually my daughter is 8 going on 9. I’ve been forced to explain topics to her I didn’t think we’d approach until middle school, but our hyper-sexualized culture made it impossible to ignore or hide from. She is a very intelligent child who asks insightful questions so I felt it was best to answer them with the information she was looking for. Most kindergartners these days know the word “sexy”, I am a parent who decided to inform my child what it actually means so that I can teach her that “sexy” isn’t for kids, despite it being constantly marketed to them.

I cannot raise my daughter in a bubble, but I can make sure she is brought up to think critically about media, to have a strong body image, and to receive an education about sex and sexuality that is both sex positive and age appropriate.”


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  1. Kimberly Herbert says:

    As a teacher I would have no problem with your daughter’s comments or questions. From what you have posted she is a deep thinker that would add to any classroom discussion.

    • Melissa Atkins Wardy says:

      Until she starts talking about the zombies she keeps in her secret lair where she hides all her bank robbing tools……sigh. 😉

  2. I taught at a daycare for a number of years. I can assure you that children younger than 8 are already talking and asking questions about these kind of things. It is absolutely a part of the vocabulary of the average 3rd grader. Most preschoolers already know know the word “sexy” and have formed an idea of what it might mean.
    Is it sad that it is? yep. But it is a current reality. Discussing it at their level is better than ignoring it and letting them form their own definitions by what they hear and see around them.

  3. Of course, it’s better. If a child asks about something, it’s parents duty to response (sometimes just by saying: “I don’t know, let’s check it together”). Ignoring is really bad but sometimes answering in “too childish” manner – I mean, when parents answer in too simple even for kids, black-and-white manner. I once heard a daughter asking her mother this exact thing – “What does >sexy< mean. Could you believe that she answered that this means "pretty"? Pretty? Seriously? That's not a good way to explain the world to a child. I swear, when I've heard this I looked like a dog with rabies. I can imagine this girl (about 6) telling her friend at school that she looks sexy… This is just sad.

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