Two thinkers who continue to cry out are sociologist Judith Reisman and columnist George Will. For years Reisman, whom the mainstream media enjoys ignoring, has written books and delivered speeches challenging the ongoing sexualization of America’s children and youth.
Currently a Visiting Professor at Liberty University School of Law, Reisman has been a frequent lecturer at Princeton, Notre Dame, Georgetown and other institutions. Pornography’s worst enemy, this lady, a 78-year-old scholar, has since the late 1970s focused on exposing the fraudulent research of “sexologist” Alfred Kinsey.
Though Will has not explored the topic as much as Reisman, he apparently sees the need to address it. Recently Will wrote, “The economic impact of teen sexuality is futuristic,” meaning that bad teen sexual behavior leads to a tough economic life for teens as well as for their parents, who wind up raising their children’s children.
Compared to the research and writing that Reisman and Will have produced, what I know about the statistics of the matter might fill a thimble. What I do know, however, is the countenance of beautiful high school and college girls whose co-habitant/impregnators just skipped town. That’s what many 21 to 25-year-old co-habitant/impregnators do when they learn that their 17 to 19-year-old live-in girl friend is pregnant.
“But Mr. Hines, he said he loved me, and he’s really from a good family. Why did he bolt?” I stand there, not knowing what to say and knowing it’s not wise to say much anyhow. I didn’t ask the girl for this information. She volunteered it at the end of the school day. So I listen once again to another pregnant single girl’s story and end the conversation by wishing her well.
Not to quibble with Reisman and Will’s words, but the more precise term for what we face isn’t sexualization, but sensualization. Do American parents realize that both their children and teens are being sensualized beyond belief and that it produces certain results? Remember when children were allowed to be children? Well, no more. The world of entertainment is making sure of that.
Of course many parents are culpable also. Because of the mystique we have built around teens and children, many parents are literally afraid of their offspring: afraid to communicate, or set some rules for television and the internet, or worst still, afraid their child will be out of step with the prevailing culture.
This fear has led many parents to acquiesce to the new normal of modern culture which edifies, for instance, the slithering sensuality of Beyonce.
Yes, we now have the beautiful Beyonce, with the most beautiful of voices, strutting half nude (make that three-quarters) on every screen we turn to, and it’s all OK.
This is no attack on her. From all reports Beyonce has trained all of her young life to achieve her goals. In this manner, she is exemplary; however, she still is one of many entertainers who have moved music and dance from an art form to a vent for juvenile emotions and passions. Forget the mind, character, virtue, and such. Just get with the music and “the moves.”
Why have Americans come to believe that utter sensuality is harmless? It’s probably because sensuality, like gluttony, is a matter of degree. Eating is both a necessity and a sensual pleasure of life, but uncontrolled eating … you know the rest. The five senses are also pleasures of life, but it is definitely possible to give ourselves over to them, producing a sensate self and ultimately a sensate society. Music must be loud, wardrobe must be bold, and “the moves” must be hot. And crotch to crotch dancing? Why, what’s wrong with that?
Today children and youth are not only feared but also worshipped. We imbue them with an aura that would shock our grandparents. Failing to understand music’s power, we give them no direction in the development of musical tastes. Yielding to what Cicero called “the tyranny of the present,” we allow them to believe that all things contemporary are OK.
Aroused boys and beautiful, tearful girls with a tough future.
Years ago after the Beatles’ Paul McCartney debuted his Liverpool Oratorio in Carnegie Hall, an interviewer told him that his music sounded more like Handel’s “Messiah” than Beatles’ music. McCartney replied, “You can’t be a teenager forever.” As they say, there we have it.
Reisman and Will are voices crying in the wilderness. They need our help, especially if we have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews.
Roger Hines of Kennesaw is a retired high school teacher and former state legislator.