Sexualisation of Children – Has our culture changed, of have we?

September 7, 2012 5:10 pm

Unlike most people who approach such a tender subject, I am not going to apologise in advance for my views in this article – because these are not necessarily my views. I do not regularly write about things in a bias manner, I think it is important to view both sides of an issue and therefore, I find it necessary to play devil’s advocate.

The novel ‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov is where I will begin this debate. It was published in 1955 in Paris. French literature at the time was filled mainly with erotica and romance. The book revolves around a middle-aged professor Humbert Humbert, who suffers from a ‘nymphet obsession’…or in the  anti poetic words of the modern-day – he was a paedophile. Obsessed with twelve-year-old Dolores Haze, he does everything in his power to get close to her. The reason I bring up such a novel, is because it is the first novel in which a young girl – a child, is written about in such an erotic, disarming manner. Of course the sexualisation of children in literature was not an unknown concept; for centuries men had been marrying fifteen year old girls for their fertility and beauty, however, Lolita concentrated on something far more particular. It was not the fertility and appearance of Lolita that attracted protagonist Humbert Humbert, it was the innocence of the child that had him holding onto his sanity by a mere thread.

The sexualisation of children through the arts is nothing new; novels such as Lolita are now considered as some of the world’s most beautiful literature. What seems controversial currently, is nothing new, and at some point the anger of parents all over the world will die out and they will find something new to argue about. If a parent does not wish their child to be exposed to sexualisation, through revealing outfits in children’s stores or marketing advances upon the minds of young people through television, then they need to depend on themselves to do something about it. Parents look after the children, so should therefore not expect the government to do their job by limiting access to pornography or raising advertising standards. A human’s nature is to seek out what intrigues them, the government can hide whatever they wish, but there will always be someone who can find it.

It is fair to say that television programmes such as ‘Toddlers and Tiara’s’ do nothing but provoke the paedophilic nature within some people, however, paedophiles have existed for a long time before images of young girls walking around stages wearing a big dresses, fake teeth and covered in fake tan were broadcast worldwide. If a person is looking for the material to feed their desires, they will find it. In a culture filled with electronic gadgets with access to the internet 24/7, anyone, dangerous, sick, twisted or indeed just normal, can find anything they desire as long as they know how to use Google – from the nearest gym to child pornography, the possibilities are endless.

So is it an increase of sexualisation of children in the media that is effecting present day society or have people become more sensitive to such content?

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  • Iulia Popa

    It’s not only pedophilia which concerns me in regards to shows like Toddlers and Tiaras but the effect it has on little children, both girls and boys, who at that age are probably unable to make their own decisions and are sometimes there against their will, like dancing monkeys, crying to be allowed to leave the stage. Forcing your child to grow up in a competitive, shallow environment just because you as a mother have self-esteem issues is unjustifiable. It is a subject very offering that could be expanded. Good article and good points though!

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