Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Book for Concerned Parents: So Sexy So Soon

posted by Nell Minow

The authors of the book “So Sexy So Soon,” Diane Levin and Jean Kilbourne, say that children are constantly bombarded by the media and advertisers with images and portrayals of hyper-sexuality.

Thong panties, padded bras, and risqué Halloween costumes for young girls. T-shirts that boast “Chick Magnet” for toddler boys. Sexy content on almost every television channel, as well as in books, movies, video games, and even cartoons. Hot young female pop stars wearing provocative clothing and dancing suggestively while singing songs with sexual and sometimes violent lyrics. These products are marketed aggressively to our children; these stars are held up for our young daughters to emulate-and for our sons to see as objects of desire.


In the book, the authors provide practical suggestions about the ways that parents can provide context and expand their children’s understanding and imagination to help them make sense of the avalanche of messages equating sexuality (and only sexuality) with happiness and power — that that buying products is the way to achieve that. This interview describes the way children respond to the media’s messages and some of the content of the book.

  • jestrfyl

    I have noticed books like this come out about every 5 to 8 years. I often wonder how much of this is a projection from the parents onto the kids. I doubt most kids actually understand or want some of the risque stuff, except that it makes them seem older – a goal of most kids. It is funny to engage one of the young girls and discover that both the Bratz fashion appeal and the boys=cooties attitude coexist. But I guess it is good for each generation of parents to see these issues and perhaps even discover how they are complicit in the situation.

  • iorek

    If parents didn’t buy these clothes and DVDs and cosmetics for their children, there wouldn’t be any pervasive “culture” like this. The movie theatres with these movies would be empty, the movies would tank, and the culture would flee in the other direction.

  • Mona

    This is a great book, but I also think that we need to address that for our older children/teens they are being preyed on in the schools. Not only do they have pressures from parent and teachers, but many of our children are being introduced to homosexuality. I know this for a fact because it happened to my daughter. We have sought out help for her, but what can we do to prevent this from happening to others?

  • ChatteringMind

    I’ll look into this book. Sounds great. Another book I’ve enjoyed and used as a way to get my pre-teen and teen away from the sick/sexy prevailing culture is this one about watching old-time classic movies (yes, even those black and white ones) with your kids. Here’s the link:
    Have a look. And of course, Nell Minow’s book on what movies to watch as a family is the ultimate bible.
    One thing that really blows my mind when I think about it: Kids today think you have sex before even kissing the person you want to have sex with! They think you just pull down your pants! Old movies with great stars give kids a better notion of real romance. Yes, kissing exists! Prolonged kisses are good things! I used to think about kissing when I was a girl and kiss my pillow, etc…it is sad that today’s kids don’t entirely understand that, you know? I’ve told my boys, “You get to kiss girls for years before ever having sex.”
    Don’t know if my strategy with help delay the inevitable, but I have my hopes. Anyone else have thoughts?

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks so much, Chattering! I remember my sister asking me, “What’s the grossest thing about sex?” when she was 11. I felt terrible that she felt under pressure to think sex was nothing but exciting and wonderful — and these days that message is even stronger. I told her “The grossest thing about sex is being 11. That’s nature’s way of telling you that you are not ready. I promise that long before you are ready to have sex, you will stop thinking it is gross.”

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