France has introduced legislation to make pageants for children under the age of 16 illegal. Britain is considering similar measures. This has sent a new wave of requests my way for interviews and comments. Most are certain that, in light of my book and outspoken condemnation of child beauty pageants (which hasn’t changed a bit), I would applaud this news. Some are quite surprised when I do not.
While I am glad to see this issue being discussed publicly and at such length by people from a variety of disciplines, the issue of child sexualization cannot be adequately addressed by simply making a law. In fact, the results are likely to be counter-intuitive. What is required, is for parents and the public to understand why it’s necessary to be the adults in their childrens’ lives rather than attempting to recapture their own childhoods through the lives of their children. Parents need to find their own self-sufficiency and learn that healthy child development requires that children be allowed their childhood. Otherwise, the problem grows exponentially, which is exactly where we are today.
To simply make the government the new parent in the lives of these parents with governmental edicts telling them what is and is not appropriate, is to remove exactly the adult responsibility that is so sorely needed. Such an approach simply shifts the burden of responsibility from the parent to government. Another boundary crossed, and more “unintended consequences” for the future.
We have a unique opportunity to turn back the tide of this hyper-sexualized, child-centric pop culture through education and understanding. Kids do not want their parents to be their friends. They need parents who know the right thing to do and who do it by choice –not because doing otherwise could get them arrested.