This morning I was at the doctor’s office sitting in the waiting room while my 23 month old little girl played with blocks a few feet away from me. Several seats away another mom said to her toddler son, “Look, Jonah, there’s a little girl! Are you gonna flirt with her? She’s even a cute blond! That’s your favorite.” Lucky for her, just then the nurse called us. I was about to give that mom an earful…
Seriously?! Flirting at 2 years old?! Don’t you think that’s just a little young? Your son is on a fast track to being a womanizer and you’re making it “cute.” At 2 you’re encouraging him to flirt (not that he has a clue what that means). At 12 he’ll be impregnating someone. And by 22 he’ll be a chauvinistic jerk that uses women for his own pleasure and gain or maybe even a rapist. Splendid parenting.
And for the love of everything good and holy, DO NOT reduce my daughter to another “cute blond!” She is a baby! Even so, she has a personality, intelligence, a sweet spirit and feelings. She is not a miniature sexual being in any way, shape or form! So don’t treat her like one.
I am not a prude. I’m not a fanatic. I just have a serious problem when someone is encouraging their child to make advances on my child.
I understand that the mom didn’t mean it offensively. She probably didn’t even realize the sexual implication she was making. But isn’t that how our world has become? We are bombarded constantly with sexual ideas from media, TV, radio and pop culture. From Victoria’s Secret ads to Pop music, we are indoctrinated to believe that sex is the most powerful tool on the planet. Not money or love or fame or even power. Just sex.
On the way to drop my kids off in the mornings, I have difficulty finding a radio station that isn’t singing, advertising or talking about sex! Even the “christian” stations have to run news reports or spew demeaning statistics. I only noticed it when my son started asking inappropriate questions. Nothing makes you sit up and pay attention like having your nine year old boy ask, “Mom, what’s a birthday suit?” or “Mom, what does ‘bluffin’ with my muffin’ mean?” or my favorite “Mom, what’s a one night stand?”
Moreover, I’m disgusted by the scanty toddler clothes. I’m all for trendy, modern clothes. I love certain aspects of fashion. But this business of dressing little girls in half shirts and booty shorts is sending the wrong message to our daughters. Not all of it is bad. I do find plenty of adorable, modest clothes for her. But I was appalled to see a string bikini in her size! Granted, I don’t have to buy it, but it’s saddening that there’s a market for that.
As if growing up isn’t awkward and uncomfortable enough, we send all these messages about sexuality and perfection to our youth. My little girl is healthy and average size and still has the remnants of her baby fat. She’s precious and adorable. I love her little belly. She is not obese. She is normal. But the world we live in would tell her something is wrong with her. It would say she needs to thin out as she gets older. It would say she should wear bikinis and high heels to be “cute.” It would say her best achievement will be to be desirable. Since when did it become culturally acceptable to train our daughters to aspire to be strippers?
In real estate we refer to a piece of property’s “highest and best use”. Meaning, what would be the most valuable use of a particular piece of land? In reference to our little girls, shouldn’t their “highest and best use” be curing diseases, raising families or solving the world’s humanitarian crises? We need doctors, teachers, counselors and politicians. Not more hookers. How different would our world be if Oprah had decided to turn tricks on the corner? Or if Mother Teresa had been a pregnant teen? That is how we are impacting our future by allowing our young girls and women to be treated like sexual objects.
So, to the woman at the doctor’s office: I’m sorry I didn’t speak up and lovingly educate you on what you are teaching your son.
My daughter will be raised to love her body, value herself and view herself as much, much more than a sexual being. I truly hope she won’t be the only one.