Thursday, April 9, 2009
Can I Say How Disgusted I Was By the Teen Sex Show On Oprah Today?
Look, I'm not a parent so perhaps this is all over my head, but I have a real problem with the way kids have been exposed to explicit sexualization at such a young age. Not that I may ever have any children. After the episode from a few days ago where some pampered and spoiled white women complained about poop and their lost freedom you'd think motherhood was the curse of humanity. This show was supposed to be about helping parent's cope with "the way things are now". Being that it's just the way it is that 12 year-olds know about and engage in oral sex like it's nothing. That a parent is supposed to talk to their kids, even as young as eight or ten about this because these kids today with their cell phones and taking provocative photos and sex texting (sexting) them to each other is just the way it is. You know I call BS on this.
Well the cat may be out of the bag true and ignoring the outside influences that your children are exposed to is foolish but nobody talks about the fact that children are kids and vulnerable. Why haven't the parents done a better job at monitoring what their kids do, who they hang out with and what is going on in their lives? They posit this is normal and I say that it's not normal and should not be treated as such.
This is where the intersection of class, gender, race and money come into play as well. Yet again Oprah was catering to her 55+ white woman demographic and failed to have a diverse panel. So since the bulk of the people featured where white and middle class I'll start there. From my perspective white parents in this class group have always been more permissive of outrageous and disrespectful behavior from their children than the average Black family in their same class. White privilege affords them a certain lax attitude about guarding reputations, running afoul of the law and being permanently demonized for behavior that exhibited by non-whites would result in harsher treatment and repercussions.
I remember being in middle school and high school in predominantly white schools and let me tell you the conversations I overheard in the girl's bathroom used to embarrass me greatly. The girls in my immediate social group knew better than to engage in such activity because it was not considered acceptable behavior for a Black girl. I look at famous young white girls like Miley Cyrus who's 16 and dating a 20 year old. Aside from the fact that it's borderline illegal because she started dating him when she was 15 - with her parent's permission! That is not considered appropriate amongst a certain class of Blacks famous or not.
I would love Oprah to do a show like that with a group of non-white kids individually because I don't think this phenomena runs across the board racially. I've been talking about pathologies being falsely attributed to certain groups by race-based assumptions. So what of this? I'd still argue that a majority of Black girls being featured who had such advanced knowledge of sex would not be coming from exposure to her peer group but from surviving sexual abuse. No matter what peer pressure those kids featured claim compel them I still say their parents get a big FAIL for not doing their jobs.
They make it seem as if the situation is out of their control when it's anything but. They can cut off those cell phones, stop letting their kids run wild and spend more time together as a family. I'd also question whether these families have a religious practice that they follow because their values seems screwed and they have no moral compass. I have focused on the females because it's the females who suffer the fallout when these sexcapades run afoul.
Whether it's by infection, disease, pregnancy or reputation. A confident young woman who knows her worth and set standards will be better able to control who she allows in her life and under what circumstances. Men will always try to take advantage, push the envelope and see what he can get away with. Weak women and girls will almost assuredly be preyed upon. I'm sure there are exceptions but let's get real here. Erring on the side of caution is always best.