These days you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a feminist who talks up the sexualization of children, or more specifically of girls. The logic goes that because the bad old media outlets are always selling sex on TV, it’s grooming girls to want to dress slutty. Dressing slutty in turn leads to slutty behavior, or to men taking notice of girls too early.
And, all of this is bullshit. You blame TV in the same way you blame the Internet, without recognizing that the actual issues existed before we had TV or Internet. Before TV, men were noticing little girls and taking advantage of them. Alice In Wonderland is one pedophile’s method of grooming a girl to be photographed nude. And he had no TV to help him out, so he just made up a story that pleased his little victim.
You can’t claim TV is to blame for little girls dressing older. Even if you carefully monitor their TV viewing, you don’t control their eyes or their brains. So they look at how people dress, and they want to emulate the styles that capture their interest. Mommas all over the world have known the joy of walking into their room to find a “dolled up” 3-year-old covered in makeup and dressed in their bra and high-heel shoes. Even boys get caught doing this. It’s not a sign that they’re going trans. It’s their desire to imitate their role models. So if momma likes to dress in curve hugging clothes, that’s a gender cue that the kids are going to pick up.
No, I’m not blaming moms for wanting to dress however they like. I’m saying, you can’t blame TV when every walk through the outside world is teaching children by way of observation. They see the clothing styles that are popular, and that’s how they want to dress. They do not think on it in adult sexual terms, like “If I wear those jeans, I’m picking up a guy for sure.” They think, “Hey, that looks neat. I want to look like that.”
And that’s where the blame game gets ugly, because it is not the children being sexual simply by dressing in form fitting clothes. The act of sexualization occurs in the minds of adults, who react in one of two ways, and neither is healthy. The first is that abusers look and say, “Hey, dressed like that, that girl is putting out cues that she wants to be sexed up.” This is the abuser blaming the victim for liking modern fashions. Then when the poor child’s been abused, along comes the concern trolls, who say “This wouldn’t have happened if TV hadn’t sexualized the child.” But the child did nothing wrong.
Let me repeat that in caps: THE CHILD DID NOTHING WRONG.
There is no crime committed by a girl wearing shorts and a tube top in the summer because it’s freaking hot outside. No crime occurs until an adult looks at that child and says “I could tap that.” You shouldn’t blame the victim for what they wore. You should blame the man who looked at a child and decided his sexual urges were more important that the child’s rights of self-determination.
This kind of attitude wouldn’t be nearly as aggravating if it was only other men victim blaming obliquely by pointing at TV and the Internet. But I see feminists who’ve let men move the goal posts on their discussion of rape culture. I’ve seen feminists ignore history and say that the real reason girls are getting raped or molested is that damn TV teaching them sex too early.
But the blame never reaches the people actually responsible for abusing the kids. Now, I realize that given my previous posts, this is going to come across as a weird double standard, so I need to make this clear. Abusers need some kind of therapy to get them out of their predatory mindsets without drugs or some kind of cruel punishments like rape or castration. Many abusers are actually past victims, and we cannot cure a disease by shaming it away. We cannot stop other abusers by trying to put the fear of prison rape into them. We need better methods of dealing with this problem than violence and fear, because this method NEVER worked. It won’t work if you put more effort into your punishments either, because you’re still missing the point.
We can take responsibility for how we deal with abuse, and one of the ways we could do that is to stop parroting “sexualization of children” as an excuse for why abusers couldn’t keep their hands off of kids. Little girls could dress in the most pure and child-like ways and still be abused. They can dress in baggy sweatshirts and loose jeans to hide their bodies, and they would still be abused. They can dress head to foot in fabric, and do in some countries, and they will still be abused. Mainly because a child dressed in this way is a target, not a form of protection. You don’t dress boys to hide them. So if an abuser is looking for a girl, he knows where to look.
What the girl is wearing is irrelevant to the abuser’s intentions, and talking up a girl’s clothing, even when you’re thinking you’re being helpful, is a form of victim blaming. It says “She wouldn’t have been raped if she didn’t look so damn sexy.” And that’s bullshit. It ignores the reality that all kids face in favor of a lie that adults embrace.
Sorry, people, but I cannot let this lie go on. TV does not lead to raped little girls. Fashion magazines don’t either, nor does the Internet. What leads to raped little girls are abusers (men and women) who can’t control themselves. To point the blame anywhere else is to say “the kids were asking for it.” And if you really believe that, you’re more deluded than you may realize.