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Way too sexy, way too soon: Levin and Kilbourne hit nail on head with book

I picked up this book because it covers a topic I’m very much interested in knowing more about. I’m planning on studying psychology next year in grad school, and the topic covered in Diane E. Levin and Jean Kilbourne’s book, So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids is what interests me more than any other topic in psychology, mostly because I have a strong motivation to help children and teenagers with developing into productive and healthy adults. It also fascinates me how much of a factor the human mind plays into every aspect of human life, sex and sexualization being two of the biggest motivators and of the most powerful influence.

As is this book’s main focus, our society is only becoming more and more sexualized as the days go on. Levin and Kilbourne use examples to demonstrate this assertion such as teenage girls wearing thong panties and padded bras to school, and barely-there Halloween costumes each year. They also mention t-shirts that read “Chick Magnet” sold for toddler boys. All of these examples are true, as I’ve seen them with my own eyes.


Sexual abuse in the college sphere

When we were younger, our parents would always tell us “Don’t speak to strangers.” Today, children learn about “Stranger Danger” in schools across the country. As children, we don’t realize the terrors of what can result if you get caught with a creep. Adults give special attention to ensuring that children are safe from the horrors of life. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but we do try.

Once one crosses over into being a teenager, there isn’t as much of a focus on reminding people to be careful. Assuming once we get to a certain age we “should know better than to put ourselves in harm’s way.” It seems that by the time you’re in high school, you should be able to discern right from wrong, let alone when you get to college.


Sexism and social standards in the now

Rearing its ugly head only occasionally in the headlines throughout recent years only makes this social issue more serious and difficult to confront.

Sexism is one of the most covert social problems of today, yet it can be found in just about every aspect of life; from television to books and films, and from clothes to toys and even cereal boxes, this matter invades the lives of American people day in and day out, whether we’re aware of it or not. This is precisely why it is such a big deal. This issue attacks us from all angles, something like buck shot, almost impossible to avoid.

From the moment we come into this world we’re given a set gender role, or behaviors considered appropriate for whatever particular sex we are. For example, it is common for a girl to be given a very feminine name and to be dressed in a commonly accepted color for newborn girls – pink. The same thing goes for boys, who are commonly given masculine names and dressed in blue outfits, a stark contrast from the girl’s pink. Even celebratory items such as balloons and decorations make it definitively clear what the infant child’s sex is, like banners that read, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” It’s plain to see that society is very interested in making sure that these gender roles are set into motion from the very start.