The forest through the trees: One more comment on the Fifty Shades of Grey movie and how it impacts your kids, and then I need to get my head out of that space.
Whether or not you read the books or will see the movie really isn’t the point to us discussing this. My job, our job, is to understand how media impacts our kids – little and big.
Fifty *will* impact your kids for one very simple reason: It is making WAY too much money not to. The publishing industry and Hollywood aren’t big on original ideas right now (Fifty itself isn’t an original idea) and they like to go with and replicate ad nauseam what makes them money, honey.
Yes, there are young women out there who see right through all of this and they’ve done a great job communicating why to me. But these girls are also the ones who grew up completely immersed in the age of Princess Culture, when problematic stories like Beauty & the Beast and Little Mermaid were massive hits for Disney and those two princesses appeared on every product a child would touch during her girlhood. They came of age with Gossip Girl on tv and Twilight everywhere, with very little empowered stories about women’s sexuality in the media. Double down on that with zero comprehensive sex education in school and only 17% of parents talking to their kids about sex. So yeah, I can see where young women today think Christian Grey is Prince Charming.
Add to that, young men today face a very oppressing role of masculinity to live up to and would also have had zero comprehensive sex education in school and only 17% of parents talking to their kids about sex. Sexual relationships are confusing and comprehension takes a connection with our emotional selves, something our culture manages to kill in boys by the average age of 8. Boys are educated about sex/relationships by peers, media, and online porn. That doesn’t bode well for your daughters. Oh the stories I could relate that girls have told me of things they have done sexually out of ignorance and/or desperation to keep a boyfriend.
Media literacy isn’t about *your* kids, it is about ALL kids and their natural born right to be healthy and whole.
Can you really sit there and safely say “Well not my girl”? Consider this please – you have no control over what the current boyfriend learned from and had normalized by the girl he dated just prior to yours. So are you in the 17% having ongoing talks with your kids about sex? Or are you in the 83% who thinks they aren’t ready yet or they’ll just figure it out because it makes you feel weird discussing it?
I guarantee you your kids are paying attention. The question is, to whom?
Melissa Atkins Wardy is a speaker, media consultant, and the author of “Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween”. She is the creator and owner of Pigtail Pals & Ballcap Buddies, a company that has been offering empowering apparel and gifts to Full of Awesome kids since 2009 www.pigtailpals.com.