Thoughts on Tween Sexualization

Upon arrival at work today, I found out we have a free one month trial on some kind of video database that pertained to all subjects, and was asked to try it out. I searched “fashion” as my first and only keyword, and after watching a slightly cheesy, but fundamentally good video about how to dress appropriately for work, I found a 26 minute video from CBC that dated about a decade old according to my personal mental clock, pertaining to the sexualization of tweens.

Now, the ironic thing is that in the video the main girl they focused on said that sex sells – and I was drawn to the video partly because I was like “ooo, sex!” and partly because I’m always interested in watching these kinds of documentaries…probably because they pertain to sex and damnit, sex does sell. But that’s not what I want to discuss.

While watching the video I was firstly amused because the main girl, Amanda, had a “Mrs. Pitt” purse and every now and then I remember that ridiculous fad alongside the baby pink fad from the 2002-2003 era when it was the thing to have merchandise that proclaimed you to be the next Mrs. Timberlake-Bloom-Pitt-Kutcher.

JC Penney had a shit ton of this stuff.

Secondly, I was also reminded of “sex bracelets” by one of the other girls, and that I totally used to wear them back in the day. If you don’t remember or still don’t know what they are, let me refresh your memory: They were basically like 3mm colored plastic bracelets that you could get at places like Claire’s. Each color was supposed to mean a different sexual act (ex. blue = oral sex, black = penis in vagina sex, etc) and if a guy broke one off your wrist, you were supposed to do that sexual act with him.

Now, that never happened to me, and I’m surprisingly foggy on whether or not anyone in my graduating class ever actually participated in that either. I just remember everyone was wearing them because it was cool. Just like 2 years ago when Silly Bandz were popular – everyone was wearing them because they were the current status symbol of coolness. So I think the sex bracelets were the same. I don’t think many people ever actually did the connotations associated with the various colors, but rather wore them because they made you seem cool even if you actually weren’t.

Lastly, while watching the whole thing, I wondered to myself whether parents these days still have the same worries they did 10 years ago about the sexualization of tweens. Part of the documentary talked about Bratz dolls, which were new on the market at that time, and how they were contributing to tween sexualization. I always found them to be slutty dolls.

However, I feel like nowadays, Bratz dolls and that whole repulsive “brat” phase don’t really exist in the same way they did back then. I’m also not as attentive to tween fashion and trends as I was back when I was a tween myself, which might be why I think that parents aren’t as crazy about this whole issue. I’m not saying they’re still not concerned – because I think they still are. But I think the level…or kind of concern has changed with time.

And that’s my two cents for the day.

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