Our society has become a cesspool of sexualization and the minimization of sexualization. The aim of sexualization is typically the commercialization of product or trade. Sexualization goes beyond the borders of Hollywood and Bollywood. Sexualization ensues the very fabric of our human collective consciousness. It has become acceptable to see a young girl or boy dressed in unacceptable clothing. A societal challenge occurs when we try to define acceptable verses unacceptable. What is appropriate clothing verses inappropriate? Who do we choose to define what sexualization is and is not? Who do we appoint to mandate such a form of appropriateness? Who do we appoint the guardian of our children? Finally, is sexualization an issue or are we trying to fuel a fire that has no kindling?
Defining a healthy form of sexualization verses an unhealthy form of sexualization is a difficult challenge. “There are several components to sexualization, and these set it apart from healthy sexuality. (Negative) Sexualization occurs when
- a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics;
- a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy;
- a person is sexually objectified — that is, made into a thing for others’ sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making; and/or
- sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person.” (APA, 2012, Online)
What is a healthy form of sexualization? Is there such a form? Is all sexualization inappropriate and unbecoming of our humanity? When we speak of a healthy sexualization, we are speaking of the awareness and clarification of one’s sex and sexuality. “It can be hard to acknowledge that all of us, even children, are sexual beings, have sexual feelings and are curious about sex and sexuality. Children’s curiosity can lead to exploring their own and each other’s body parts by looking and touching.” (StopItNow, 2012, Online)
A child’s personal development is a part of their sexualization. Learning who they are, why they think, do, and behave in particular ways is core to their development. A child’s sexual development should be encouraged from a healthy perspective. A child should never be made a symbol of an unhealthy perspective. Children should never be forced to engage in inappropriate sexual conduct. They should never be made to wear clothing that is risque or revealing of their youthful innocent.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA