baby daddies; baby porn stars?

 

i especially like the gender-obvious colours.

i especially like the gender-obvious colours.

So I like, totally, watch Maury Povich.  Like all the time. (The only thing more ridiculous than his show is the show’s website)  It’s my most embarrassing viewing habit behind America’s Next Top Model.   I end up growing emotionally attached  to the women who are 160% sure that dude # 15 is their baby daddy.  Is it exploitation?  Absolutely.  However, DNA tests do cost money and not knowing who the father of your child is is problematic for several obvious reasons.  So…public service? Maybe.  

I’ve also learned things watching Maury.  For instance, the fact that frightening 13- year-old girls can “do what they want”, and that some young women are allowing half-naked-to-naked photos to be taken of themselves on cell phones and then sent through…whatever it is that cell phones send things through to other cell phones.  It’s called sexting. And it’s causing a stir in the  American  legal world.

I don’t really get plain texting.  Mostly because I’m in an awkward gutter of  a generation.  I’m certainly not Generation X; Kurt Cobain died when  I was 9.  But I’m not really of the digital generation either; I don’t own a cell phone even though my father works for Rogers.  But sexting was truly novel when Maury introduced it to me.

If you’ve tab-browsed the hyperlink above, you will soon read the perspective of one lawyer about a particular case wherein a prosecutor was going to charge  some young women with aiding in the creation of child porn because they allowed partially nude photos to be taken of them and distributed. Drastic and misguided? Yes.  Totally off base? Maybe not.

The type of prosecution the judge attempted makes a whole lot of sense. Charges of child pornography have been brought against perpetrators for filming sexual assaults.  Brilliant, really.  But charging the young women who allow photos to be taken of them with child pornography could put them on a sex offender list for the rest of their lives for what is essentially exploring their sexuality. Bad, really.

But in Thomas Millar’s account (the one linked to “stir”) , he seems to call any negative reaction to the unsettling phenomenon “moral panic”, and opponents “prudes.”  Well call me a panicked prude because I’m kind of horrified. 

I remember being 14 – 15.  I remember how easy it was for boys/young men, who were too old and too rebellious- in- the -wrong -way for me, to get me to do things just by paying a little attention and how important that attention was to me.  I can’t help but think that a lot of this sexting is young women wanting to fit in/ be admired/impress young men. 

Millar argues that we should allow young women to explore their own sexuality without punishment – fine.  But what exactly is their own sexuality anymore?  Could one possibly be expressing it at 13 -17?  And what about the social punishment that comes when those photos/videos make it into the wrong hands?  Which they will.  (In this era of leaked sex tapes shouldn’t we all have learned not to put it on digital celluloid?)

I’m not made nervous by the nudity; there is nothing wrong with nudity.  Except for that little point of our entire society immediately devaluing a woman who will take off her clothes in front of other people/cameras.  Slut-shaming – as Millar called it – ?  Yeah.  The girls wanting to show off their new push-up bra’s fault? No. Reality?  Absolutely.  Solution: better sex education for our children.  

Pre-teens need to know more than mechanics.  They need a healthy understanding of the emotional consequences and changing intricacies of sexuality (like sexting and why not to film yourself having sex).  They require healthy spaces to explore and ask real questions and get real answers.  They need more than abstinence.  They deserve better than purity balls, 18- year- olds in porn legally, and the fetishism of innocence.  They deserve better than sexting.

peace,

 -a.b.

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