‘Take care of our girls: A dystopian future is on the horizon’

Feb 15, 2021
Are our children, and especially our girls, being exposed to too much too soon? Source: Getty Images

Always with an eye peeled for part-time work that won’t impact my pensioner status, I viewed an item of interest that popped up in my email. It was a job advertising a part-time remote deputy editor role for a motherhood magazine.

Excitedly I clicked on the weblink to check out the magazine itself. Hmm. Stylish upfront. Then big emotive photos for different subjects; lots of pregnant bellies, boobs hanging down with art director’s stars covering nipples. Ho hum, so many pictures! Once I managed to navigate from the mother/baby pictures to the attached articles, I was confronted with sentences like “love yourself when you f*** up” and “hello you bad a** b****, you’re killing it”.

Did I go any further and read on? Perhaps I should have but I didn’t. I was shocked about the language. It’s so demeaning and so disrespectful, I thought, shaking my head. It’s got to be American street trash, I thought. But no, unfortunately it was an Australian publication.

Do we worry about the information we’re disseminating to our next generation of new mums? I don’t think we are but we damned-well should be. Big time!

This occurred around the same time I read a lengthy article in an Australian newspaper’s weekend magazine about ‘Ten-agers’ — no longer the so-called ‘tweens’ from ages 9-13. These children (predominantly girls) are being swallowed up by anxiety and depression because of body image, trying to keep up with the Jones’s latest technology, and lack of sleep due to FOMO (fear of missing out).

To put the acronym into context, let’s say a friend sends a text message at midnight on what item to wear to school tomorrow. If a child’s parent has controlled technology use after a certain time, apparently the sheer terror of missing the message and being the odd one out on the following day is almost crippling. Truancy figures are on the rise.

The whole body image thing in girls of that age is appalling. The ideal being dished out to them is more often than not photoshopped, air-brushed, or manipulated to fit the current mode of fashionista acceptability. By whom and how it is promulgated is neither here nor there; the worrying thing is what our youngest generation is being sold on, stressing about, striving for… and will never, ever achieve.
This age-group is also being sexualised long before they hit puberty. Ten-age padded bras and matching lacy knickers, crop tops and boob tubes are on sale these days in the girl’s section at your local store should you want your nine-year-old to look like a Jennifer Lopez or a Miley Cyrus. I’m not sure what the boy equivalent is. I dread to think.

An advertisement for tween and teen lingerie for sale online. Source: Creative Commons

I often wonder what would happen should Jules Verne’s time machine materialise, and *poof*, suddenly Jane Austen was dropped into Main Street, Anywhere, circa 2020? She’d probably have something more serious than an attack of the vapours when confronted with a young miss in minimal black active wear, showing off every centimetre of the female anatomy including the offensive ‘camel toe’ while wandering down the street, ear buds in, eyes on phone.

What women wore, then (circa 1900s) and now. Source: Creative Commons / Unsplash

As female fashion over the centuries has incorporated everything from crinolines and bustles to mini-skirts and maxi coats, active wear, G-strings, ripped jeans and barely there tops, there appears nowhere to go now except shock value to get people’s attention.

Music video clips for Ten-agers have descended into a mega grab for screen time as young weary brains are oversaturated from seeing too much, too often and for too long. Seemingly the only way to achieve ratings is to keep peeling clothes off, crotch grabbing or twerking, taking drugs while being filmed and simulating sex.

miley cyrus robin thicke mtv awards 2013
Blurred lines: Debra points to recent examples, such as Miley Cyrus ‘twerking’ at the MTV Awards in 2013. Source: Getty Images

It is a documented fact that Male Ten-agers learn about sex these days not from their parents or peers, but from watching online porn. I tell no lie, there was a television show recently where the youngsters were interviewed. Much to the boys’ chagrin, apparently girls don’t like them climaxing onto their faces as seen on porn sites! The teenie girls say it doesn’t give them any pleasure, but ‘more importantly’, it interferes with their false eyelashes and hair products!

I was/am struck dumb, speechless. I fear for our girls, our young women and the mothers to come. I worry for a future where even our language is becoming repulsive, that’s if you can manage to read or write it in the first place.

The advent of technology is not only dumbing down the capacity to learn, grow and be enriched, it is actually depriving our children of experiencing, no, a better word would be ‘inhabiting’, the worlds of confidence, joy, harmony, respect, truth and honour. You know, the way we knew it when we were growing up.

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What do you think? Do you have concerns about what your children and grandchildren are being exposed to? How would you navigate such topics?

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