The recent news story of three six-year-old boys at a Brisbane school who ran a “sex club” is certainly a shocking bit of news. One media source begins the story this way: “A group of six-year-old boys ran a ‘sex club’ at a Brisbane primary school, threatening other students if they refused to comply with their demands for sexual favours, reports claim”.
But the really shocking thing about this story is not that it happened, but that it may well be just the tip of the iceberg. How many more such incidents are taking place today? Given the sexual tsunami which has inundated Western culture, the real question to ask is not, “Why did this happen?” but “Will we not in fact see much more of this sort of thing?”
Indeed, the sexualisation and pornification of culture has gotten so bad lately, that it is not just the usual suspects who are concerned about it. A raft of books have appeared recently bemoaning these trends. Some are penned by conservatives and religious types, but some are not.
Consider just a few recent titles: Porn Generation by Ben Shapiro (2005); Pornified by Pamela Paul (2005); and Prude by Carol Platt Liebau (2007). All these books warn about the flood of pornography and sexualisation which is devouring not just men and women but our children as well.
In her important new book Save the Males (2008) author Kathleen Parker has a chapter on “celebrity sluts and America’s ho-down”. She documents how the mainstreaming of porn, and the sexualisation of every aspect of society, is not just harming men and women, but devastating boys and girls as well. We all now live in a ho (whore) culture.
She writes, “Poor guys. It’s little wonder boys and young men are confused by constantly shifting and conflicting signals about how they should behave toward the lovelier sex. Torpedoed by cultural messages that are relentlessly sexual, by pole-dancing moms and prostitots decked in baby hookerware, they are nonetheless expected to treat females as ladies.”
The rise of this “slut culture” is not just confined to adults of course; children are being aggressively targeted. It seems that it’s never “too early to start little girls thinking about sex and teaching them to dress the part. Edgy four-year-olds can opt for T-shirts that say ‘Future Porn Star’ or ‘I Faked It.’ Budding tartlettes can find bustiers, stilettos, and ‘pleather’ pants in toy stores, as well as itsy-bitsy lingerie sets of lacy panties and bras. Bratz ‘bralettes’ – for those who don’t need them – come in thirty different styles, including padded ones for girls not quite ready for implants. In 2003, girls aged thirteen to seventeen spent more than $157 million on thong underwear. Wedgies R Us.”
Melinda Tankard Reist, writing in today’s Herald Sun, comments on the sexualisation of society and its negative impact. She mentions how Australian celebrity, and sister of Kylie, Dannii Minogue, is considering posing again for Playboy. She asks how young women will be affected by this, and what message it sends out to the rest of society:
“Perhaps Dannii doesn’t know or care that Hugh Hefner is responsible for the trivialisation of female sexuality worldwide. Tweens are his new market. The Playboy bunny adorns pencil cases and doona covers. A Playboy make-up line includes ‘Tie me to the bedpost blush’ and ‘Hef’s favourite lip gloss’. They should be re-labelled ‘disgusting old man in pyjamas’ lip gloss. Girls are wearing the brand of the global sex industry. They think ‘cute rabbit’. With her provocative make-me-a-porn-star posing and her false breasts, Minogue helps entrench this dehumanising industry. Doctors are reporting more young girls are seeking breast enhancement. One in four 12-year-old girls wants cosmetic surgery.”
She continues, “A recent British survey found the majority of young girls aspired to be celebrities, lap dancers and strippers. A 22-year-old American plans to auction off her virginity via the biggest US brothel. ‘We live in a capitalist society . . . why shouldn’t I be allowed to capitalise on my virginity?’ women’s studies graduate Natalie Dylan said. ‘I understand some people will condemn me . . . but I think this is empowering.’ There’s that word again. Empowerment has been reduced to pimping your virginity, wrapping your legs around a pole, flashing your breasts in public or giving sex jobs on demand.”
Tankard-Reist concludes, “Studies have shown that after men are exposed to sexualised content, they treat women like sexual objects. That’s what’s become of the movement for women’s equality. As a 15-year-old lamented in the book Sex Lives of Australian Teenagers: ‘We’ve come nowhere from the sexual revolution.’ Minogue could help girls like this by sticking to her charity work – clothes on. Helping girls see that they can change the world, now that’s liberating.”
In such a highly charged climate of 24/7 sexuality, in which all things sexual are accessible everywhere, anytime, is it any wonder we are seeing things like “sex clubs” being set up in primary schools? Indeed, why not? Kids everywhere are being sold the message that life is ultimately about one thing: sex, sex and more sex. Popular culture and the advertising world – to name just two powerful forces – have mainstreamed sleaze and porn, and have sought to convince us all that the normal life is the life of the stripper and the pornstar.
A steady diet of these kinds of messages, coupled with zillions upon zillions of sexually explicit images, ads, websites, TV shows, pop songs and movies, is of course having the desired effect. We are now awash with sexuality and sleaze, and we are somehow surprised when six-year-olds simply pick up on what is everywhere promoted and standardised by the adult world.
Expect more such horrible news stories to appear in the days ahead. Until we say enough is enough with the sexual revolution, and all those making heaps of money off it, we can only expect things to get much worse, much more quickly.