Childhood Lost: How American Culture Is Failing Our Kids

By Sharna Olfman | Go to book overview

7
So Sexy, So Soon: The
Sexualization of Childhood

DIANE E. LEVIN


CHANGING TIMES

The feature story in the May 2004 issue of the New York Times Magazinewas called [Friends, Friends with Benefits and the Benefits of the Local Mall.]1 One hundred suburban teenagers were interviewed for the article. They described a world of casual sexual encounters devoid of emotions or relationships. [Hooking up] and [friends with benefits] are part of the new slang to describe casual sex with friends. The author of the story, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, reported that [the teenagers talked about hookups as matter-offactly as they might discuss what's on the cafeteria lunch menu.]2 Sixteen-year-old Brian put it this way: [Being in a real relationship just complicates everything. When you're friends with benefits, you go over, hook up, then play video games or something. It rocks.]3 Formal dating relationships were frowned upon. In the words of Irene, a high school senior, [It would be so weird if a guy came up to me and said, 'Irene, I'd like to take you out on a date.' I'd probably laugh at him. It would be sweet, but it would be so weird.]4

Three days after the New York Times story appeared, the Boston Globe published an op-ed piece by Scot Lehigh, who bemoaned the realities of the casual and unencumbered sexual behavior revealed by the teenagers. [It's truly sad to read of a high-school generation too detached to date, too indifferent for romance, too distant for

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Childhood Lost: How American Culture Is Failing Our Kids
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part I - Children's Irreducible Needs 1
  • 1: The Natural History of Children 3
  • 2: Why Parenting Matters 19
  • Part II - How American Culture is Failing Our Kids 55
  • 3: The War Against Parents 57
  • 4: The Impact of Media Violence on Developing Minds and Hearts 89
  • 5: The Commercialization of Childhood 107
  • 6: Big Food, Big Money, Big Children 123
  • 7: So Sexy, So Soon 137
  • 8: Techno-Environmental Assaults on Childhood in America 155
  • 9: [No Child Left] 185
  • 10: Where Do the Children Play? 203
  • Index 217
  • About the Editor and the Contributors 223
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