Skip to main content

Good Looks at Good Books

I've learned about some really good books lately, in part, from following the blog Reading for Sanity. Oh, what a cool blog! I subscribe to it by email, and it's like getting a piece of my favorite raspberry flavored hard candy when the new posts land in my in-box.  One book that especially got my attention is So Sexy So Soon:  The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can do to Protect Their Kids by Diane E. Levin, Ph.D. and Jeanne Kilbourne, Ed.D

Here is the jacket copy for So Sexy So Soon:
Summary:  Thong panties, padded bras, and risque Halloween costumes for young girls. T-shirts that boast "Chick Magnet" for toddler boys.  Sexy content on almost every television channel, as well as in books, movies, video games, and even cartoons.  Hot young female pop stars wearing provocative clothing and dancing suggestively while singing songs with sexual and sometimes violent lyrics.  These products are marketed aggressively to our children; these stars are held up for our young daughter to emulate--and for our sons to see as objects of desire.


Popular culture and technology inundate our children with an onslaught of mixed messages at earlier ages than ever before.  Corporations capitalize on this disturbing trend, and without the emotional sophistication to understand what they are doing and seeing, kids are getting into increasing trouble emotionally and socially; some may even engage in precocious sexual behavior.  Parents are left shaking their heads wondering: How did this happen?  What can we do?


So Sexy So Soon is an invaluable and practical guide for parents who are fed up, confused, and even scared by what their kids--or their kids' friends--do and say.  Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., internationally recognized experts on early childhood development and the impact of the media on children and teens, understand that saying no to commercial culture -- TV, movies, toys, Internet access, and video games -- isn't a realistic or viable option for most families.  Instead, they offer parents essential, age-appropriate strategies to counter the assault.


Filled with savvy suggestions, helpful sample dialogues, and poignant true stories from families dealing with these issues, So Sexy So Soon provides parents with the information, skills, and confidence they need to discuss sensitive topics openly and effectively so their kids can just be kids.  
*******************************************************************

The book review brought back memories for me. My siblings and I were raised with clear boundaries. No high heels until high school, no dating until age 15.  It sounds strict now, perhaps, but it was liberating. It kept my true childhood safe. We now live in an environment so overly sexualized, though, that it's hard to know when or where or how to set limits. What good do those limits do when your child walks out your front door?  Or watches television?  Or listens to the wrong kind of over-sexualized, violent music?


If you're a parent, an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, or an older cousin ..... reading this book might be the best thing you could do to keep someone else's childhood safe, sacred, and memorable.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Life without Television, Part 2

I began life without television with relief, which was consistent Monday through Friday. The first few weekends, though, felt awkward, anxious, lonely. When PBS has good programming on Saturday nights, it is extraordinarily good. Father Brown, Phryne Fisher, New Tricks... Extraordinary acting, high production values, and I fantasize about the pudgy, brilliant priest just perhaps having an innocent crush on one of his special parishioners, which would be moi. 

I called a friend one Sunday. "Maybe television helped with my anxiety more than I realized," I said. She told me about her aunt who, after her husband's death, kept the television on in his "man cave" 24/7. He has been gone years now. The television goes on, everlasting, in his absence. I don't blame her. Much of my frequent and prolonged television viewing began with grief.

After my sister died, I would watch almost anything, especially late at night when sleep eluded me. I even watched Convoy with …

Our Texas, My Texas: "Memories we carry like scars and diamonds"

This post title includes a quote from Hermine Pinson's poem, "Four Sisters and the Dance." As you read, it will become clear why.

I was 7 when my father earned his Ph.D. from Duke. He then accepted a teaching position at a small private college in a rural Texas town in the 1960s. Population was 5,000, give or take a few. Our Texas roots ran deep, and we saw this return to the Lone Star State as a homecoming. So, I left the lyrical landscape of the Carolinas and the small private school where I had become nearly fluent in French. Then, I entered the hot, dry world of that small town. 

We did not yet have a place to live. Our family of five, including our infant brother, camped out in the girls' dorm for several weeks. Our furniture was stored on the university theater stage while my parents searched for a home. I was riding in the car with my dad and a member of the university administration and overheard their conversation. My father wondered where he could find help …

Whose day?

Years ago, I made some collages using pages from a desk calendar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The image that leads this post is one. Inside the hearts and flowers is a picture from the MMA collection of  a Japanese screen made in the 16th century. It is titled Tagasode, which means Whose sleeves?  The title comes from a 10th-century poem:


The fragrance seems even more alluring than the hue, Whose sleeves have brushed past? Or would it be this plum tree blossoming here at home?
Iro yori mo ka koso awaredo omohoyure tagasode fureshi ado no ume zo mo
The word haunts: tagasode. Whose sleeves? The question floats in my mind like a cloud on a still day. The sleeves materialize in my mind's eye. I hear them move through hushed air. I can imagine, though not name, the scent of the person to whom those sleeves belong. It's not unlike smelling the scent of your infant's clothes, or holding the perfume bottle that belonged to your mother...you don't need to open it... you know tha…