September 24, 2008

Sexy Girls, Sexual Boys…

…and it starts so early.  I’ve posted several items in the last few weeks exploring the early sexualization of younger and younger girls from heels for infants to stripper poles and “virgin” waxing.

Gender socialization is not a recent phenomenon. From color codes to silly head bands on bald baby girl heads, parents and society expect that clues about the infant’s anatomy will be provided through the use of various sign systems. Right or wrong, this has been around for quite some time and certainly lends itself to lengthy conversations and analysis.

What is more recent and more disturbing, in my opinion, is the blatant sexual socialization of younger and younger members of our society in line with the sexual expectations society dictates of heterosexual men and women.

Girls/women are sexy. Boys/men are sexual.

I’m almost 6 months pregnant and I am having a son.  As a budding feminist in my early twenties, I imagined myself raising an empowered daughter.  My best friend and I used to joke about the inevitable likelihood of giving birth to a son.  As expected, 15 years later, I have been given the task of raising a conscious feminist boy.

I spend a lot of time browsing the internet for baby gear. In doing so, I am sick and tired of running across crass sexual messages for infant boys proclaiming their sexual prowess long before they can hold up their own head. I mean, seriously?  Boob man?  Lock up your daughters?  You’d be hard to press to ever find a onesie for a girl reading: Penis gal!  Lock up your sons!

In either case, do we need to thrust these sexual/sexy messages on newborns?  I can’t help but recall a scene in The 40 Year-Old Virgin where one of the main characters puts his unborn son’s sonogram on a big screen TV and points out the large penis his boy is packing in utero.


3 Comments »

  1. Amen! I can’t tell you how annoyed I am every time I see parents working out their gender identity issues on their unsuspecting infant/toddler…whatever. What kind a of a person is a “boob man” infant going to grow up to be? I mean the implications of these early socializations, from the very subtle gender roles down to the hyper-sexualization of young girls and boys, are so stark. Ill be on the lookout for some gender neutral onesies :)

    Comment by culturevixen — September 24, 2008 @ 11:16 pm

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