Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Protecting Childhood

Preface: I really really didn't want to write this.  I didn't want to put it out there because I was afraid of how it would be perceived.  Then I read this this morning and I could no longer sit on my hands and say/write nothing.  It needs to be said.


"Mom, what movie are you and Daddy going to?" my big almost-seven year old asked and I knew what was coming.

"We are going to see the new Iron Man movie."  A birthday gift for my husband.  A night at the movies, what could be better?

"When do you think I'll be old enough to see it?  Maybe when I'm 8?" his eyes wide and hopeful, thinking of how "awesome" a superhero movie must be.

"Well we'll just have to see, won't we?"  Mom-speak for "dream on, buddy."

Kids in bed left safely with sister-sitter, we headed to the movies, found our seats, sat waiting.  I noticed a lady with a baby in the back, several pre teen boys and a few the same age as my little guy at home.  The lights dimmed and the movie began.

I started to feel uncomfortable 5 minutes in when we found ourselves zooming in on a line of chorus girls dancing half naked, alternately zooming in from the front and from behind on their shaking bodies.  Then again when the main character and his friend openly oogled a pretty blond, then when they first met a redhead and the camera made it clear what we were meant to be focusing on as we zoomed in on breasts and rear end.  One liner jokes about sex lawsuits zinged back and forth and the whole theatre laughed.  In and out, zoom in, zoom out, oogle, laugh, "I want one of those!" hahahahahaha.

I know I know, its a "harmless" superhero movie.  Its supposed to be funny.  And I won't lie, there were enjoyable parts.  But when I watched a line of 8-10 year old boys filing out with their dads, I began to feel nauseous.

I know this isn't exclusive to Iron Man 2.  It is in lots of movies.  I guess this is just the first time it really hit me in the gut.  I know that I am not the target audience for this movie - it is a "guy's movie."  That's just great, being a man = explosions and objectifying women.

It is just the lack of respect.  We cannot forget that we are raising future adults here.  What not-so subliminal message did that convey to the younger males in the audience?  That girls are for staring at, for wearing nothing, solely for male enjoyment - that you are expected to behave with no self control.  What does it teach girls?  That your worth is dictated by how "good" your body looks...and that the best way to get attention is to wear next to nothing, keep your mouth agape and perch on the armchairs of male employers.  Is it any wonder that teen girls have abysmal self esteem (4% college aged women suffer from bulimia ) and 1 in 3 boys are heavy porn users?

I am not judging other parents here.  Every family has the right and obligation to make their own rules and raise their own children.  I don't judge what other families deem appropriate for their kids at various ages.  That is none of my business.  I just felt, on a whole, extremely saddened and sickened.

True childhood is shrinking at an alarming rate.  Its going to take constant vigilance to protect our children.  I don't care if that means I'm not a fun, cool mom.  Adults can make decisions about what they expose themselves to, but kids need parents.  That's what we are here for, right?


I hope this didn't come off as judgmental in any way to any one.  That was truly not my intent.


  1. Amen! Amen! Amen!!!!!!!

  2. Right on Lydia. Society is so oversexualized its sick. An it's been a slow progression over the years, jading us and numbing us to these changes. Making us think, oh its not THAT bad. No, it IS that bad and I'm not afraid to say it! It will take vigilance on our part to keep kids, kids for as long as we can. I could care less about being a cool mom. I'm not here to be a friend, although if that comes too I welcome it, I'm here to protect my children until they are no longer children. No offense taken!

  3. Very well written Lyd! Couldn't agree more!

  4. It's true, Lydia. All that you say is sad, but true. I'm glad you speak what's on your heart.

  5. Yes you are so right... it is sickening/scary what parents allow their very young kids to watch & listen to....

    I was first horrified what my 4-5 year old preschoolers were acting out, talking about watching (horror movies even), and singing pop songs (with very explicit sexual lyrics). But I thought it was 'ok' because it was a public school. It wouldn't be as common in our church families, right? I was so wrong. I've seen it time and time again with Christian families... reminds me of the song that goes "be careful little eyes what you see". We cannot shelter our children from everything, but why FILL their minds and ears with so many subtle bad things and then wonder what went wrong?

  6. Speaking of this - did you see that AWFUL rendition of "All the Single Ladies" that those little 7-year-old dance competition girls did a week or two ago? http://idolator.com/5504741/7-year-old-single-ladies-make-us-feel-dirty In case you missed it. Pretty upsetting, all told. I was really sad when I saw that, especially considering all of my work dealing with sex offenders and people that take advantage of little girls. Making them "sexy" just kills me. I cannot stand the clothes at limited too that make little girls look totally trashy. :( I always try to expose my nieces to things that are age appropriate and buy clothes that are modest and even perhaps more youthful than is normal. Hard to do when girls get to size 7 or higher - have you noticed how challenging it is to find adorable little girl dresses and clothes once they hit that size?

  7. Completely agree.

    That video that Adelle posted almost made me throw up. So sad.

  8. That is why we pulled D from the Ypsi twnship rec ballet program she was in. The ballet was fine but the recital was to include the "hip hop" routine of several of her classmates and I happened to catch their act at the end of class...yeah no thanks. I knew D would be entranced as many young girls are, and I made the executive decision that none of us needed that.

  9. Amen! Wouldn't it be nice if we coulld raise them in such a way that they don't have "stuff" they have to try and get rid of? Once the images make their way in, they are in... I absolutely abhor the checkout stand at our grocery store! As mother's, it is our responsibility to guard the gates of our homes and the minds/hearts of our children. I think you did the right thing by pulling your daughter out of dance for the reason that you did. I would have done the same. The way I explain things to my little ones when they want to see something I don't want them to (certain programs or movies others get to watch) is this: "Would mommy let you eat poison?" Then I tell them, ..."watching certain shows are like that. They can poison your mind and heart and God wants mommy to protect you from that." It is my job to keep you safe and fill you with good things that God wants you to be filled with so that your heart can stay good and clean and so you don't have icky or scary things floating around in your head." They accept this right now like your D did, praise God. As they get older though, I think this is where it may get kind of tough but if we set this standard now, perhaps they will just know; mom and dad would say no to that for my good.

  10. Also Adelle - try Land's End for little girl clothes. More age appropriate than can be found elsewhere.

  11. I'm with you 100%. Now lets all take out our breasts and use them for what they were meant for! TO feed our babies!

  12. I agree with you completely. It's pretty obvious that this kind of thing damages women- but it's often glossed over that it's damaging to men. I hate that our culture assumes that men, when left to their own devices and temptations, are incapable of respectful and healthy relationships with women. I just don't believe that's true, and we should hold them all to a higher standard. I've recently been reading about whole indigenous cultures that don't even have words for things like "rape" or other forms of violence against women simply because they don't exist.
    That's the other thing that's so bothersome. These images flash before us, saturated in violence and subjugation, and yet it's presented as though it's as raw and natural as anything else. It's just not that way, I don't think.

  13. I completely agree with you. It is frightening what is so readily accepted as the norm.

  14. I'm glad that you commented on the issue of boys. As a mother of 2 little guys, it is very frightening to me how "boys will be boys" is the mantra these days when it comes to a lack of respect for women. I think it is cutting these sweet kids short by assuming that they are incapable of respect and appreciation for anything beyond exploding cars and jiggling body parts. I know that the temptation out there for boys is HUGE and our cultural climate toxic for true gentlemen to grow up in, but I do think that we CAN make a difference in raising our expectations of behavior from these kids. It just breaks my heart to look my little ones in the eyes and think that they could ever treat another human being that way.

  15. I applaud you for saying what is "right". Thank you for being courageous. You are giving me the courage to stand up for what is right :) !

  16. it's a good idea to always (always) check out movies before you see them in the theater. it's near impossible to walk out on a movie that you paid and invested time in when you find it suddenly inappropriate. most people will role their eyes an continue to feel squeamish but not leave b/c they paid for the movie. (understandably.... who wants to make a big production and show of leaving?)

    the two best ones:




    they tell you exactly what is in the movie so there are no surprises and you can make and educated decision and avoid any awkward or harmful situations.

    now, we ALWAYS review movies before we watch them (even on TV!). remember, protecting your purity and your husbands purity is just as important as your child's. we're ALL God's children and he wants us ALL to have pure minds.

  17. I missed this when you posted it due to a computer hiatus. But AMEN AMEN AMEN I could not agree anymore if I had written it myself!

    It goes so much further than the movies too, magazines, commercials, fashion, etc.
    It's even in the cartoons! I don't mean to sound crazy here but there are some shows and even toys that my kids can't play with. People (aka my mother) like to say I'm over reacting and its' going over their heads, and that's what we're wanted to believe. Not that Satan's little demons will use any tiny opening to worm their way into our children's minds, hearts, and souls!

    i know this isn't a popular comment, it never is, but kerrison will NEVER own a Barbie. If she recieves one as a gift it goes in the trash...I won't even donate them. It has yet to happen, but I am prepared to toss it when it does.

  18. I remember sitting in the theater watching Transformers.... I spotted even as young as 5 year olds there. There was about a 7 minute clip and discussion of masturbation. I was ashamed for all those kids brought by their parents and then I had to laugh at the conversation they were gonna be having on the way home. Serves them right.


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