My Seven Year Old Son: “Hey Sexy Mommy”
Me: “Ummm.. that’s not something you should be saying.” (Inner voice: Especially to your mom)
Sexy. I have heard my two older kids (4 and 7) using this word as an adjective more often then I care to admit. Every time I stop them, remind them they shouldn’t be using that word, and that they certainly do not know what ‘sexy’ means.
And then they listen to the radio, and watch TV and SEXY SEXY SEXY blares at their little faces and they are left with a very confused concept of what ‘sexy is’.
Like any parent hoping to find answers to their obvious misuse of a word, I decided to ask them what they thought ‘sexy’ was.
They looked at me like I was crazy and said, “you know.. like pretty, or nice”.
I explained that’s not exactly the definition. After which, my wise beyond his years 7 year old, asked me to give him a very specific definition of what it meant to be ‘sexy’.
It took me a few moments to form the words in my head (which, if you know me, is something I don’t generally abide by. You know, waiting before I speak…), and I looked at him, and expelled some of the greatest motherly advice I have ever dispensed.
“Just don’t worry about it. Stop saying ‘sexy’. End of conversation.”
So, um…. I guess an epic Mom fail moment.
It’s just, I didn’t know the proper way to explain what sexy was to a kid. I mean, I sort of felt mad at society in a twofold way. The first because I didn’t know how to explain what sexy was to a kid, and the second because, well, I didn’t know how to explain what sexy was.. period.
I took the next logical step. I googled it.
Here is the Webster’s definition of sexy:
1.concerned predominantly or exclusively with sex: erotic.
2.sexually interesting or exciting; radiating sexuality
Does this grossly offend anyone else whose children may or may not have wandered around the house singing “I’m Sexy and I Know It”? After reading that I actually found it quite.. disturbing.
I mean when you take this literal definition into account and think about just what our little darlings are saying whilst goofily dancing around, doesn’t it make you feel supremely uncomfortable? Not to blame the now defunct LMFAO fellows, I don’t think they anticipated the song to be such a hit with the under 10 crowd, but what have I been unwittingly letting my children listen to? Then came Gangham style. Another favorite amongst the kids, in which they really only know one line, “Hey.. sexy lady”.
Again with the kids singing about sexy.
Now, I am in no way prudish or incredibly conservative, hence the reason why I didn’t totally lose it when my kids started using sexy as their new favorite adjective when the liked something. (It replaced ‘poopy’ so at first I was a little thankful for the change. Oh you mom snobs stop side eyeing me right now. AS IF you have never let something slide because although it wasn’t good, it was a bit better than what was happening before. Or was it?)
However, after I stopped and thought about the questions and the over-use, borrowing from the Mighty O, I had a bit of an A-Ha moment.
We as a society have become completely desensitized to ‘sexy’.
To an extent in which our children are now genuinely confounded when I asked them to stop using that word. It was, to them, like asking them to stop using “beautiful”.
I suppose there are more words than simply ‘sexy’ that have gradually become a part of our vernacular, but it’s this one in particular that have me, as a normal, everyday mom, worried.
I don’t want my daughter to grow up thinking being a sexy woman is something to attain too. This is how over-tanned, over bleached, over facially spackled girls are created. One sexy aspiration after another.
I don’t want my sons to think that ‘sexy’ is something that girls at 12 and 13 need to be.
It’s all just so.. gross.
I want sexy to come after years of being intelligent, charismatic, beautiful, driven, eloquent, funny; So many other aspirational adjectives than just ‘sexy’.
Yes, sexy is still.. well, sexy. We all know when we come across someone who truly embodies what that word means. And I think as intelligent adults we all know that those aforementioned qualities morph together until the person, almost accidentally, becomes sexy.
But it’s the young girls twerking and sending naked Snap Chat pics that have now become our society’s ideal of ‘sexy’. Believe it or not, but our sweet little kids are growing up in a place that celebrates these things we grimace at, as ‘sexy’.
I’m not pulling an Ashton Kutcher here. (Sidebar: The biggest hypocrite ever. I so wish that speech had been delivered by a man who hadn’t just cheated on his sexy wife with a 22 year old Vegas waitress…). I’m not trying to call for a societal reform in which Condaleeza Rice or Hilary Clinton should be our new ideal of sexy.
Do I think TV, music, and movies should be sexed down? It doesn’t matter. It’s already a big part of our everyday life. Axe commercials (once again let me point out that Dove and Axe are the same company…. Mixed messages much?), Victoria Secret ads, basically anything selling a clothing article, cosmetic or fragrance, or.. anything really, has a decidedly sexual element to it. And, as reasonable adults who know exactly what we are being sold, I think it’s fine for companies to market however they want. (As long as they aren’t talking out of both sides of their mouths. I’m looking at YOU Unilever.)
I just think as the moms and dads of the next generation, let’s just be aware. And have an age appropriate dialogue about what they are seeing, because, it’s not going anywhere.
To celebrate other traits in front of both our daughters and our sons so that ‘sexy’ doesn’t define who they believe they need to become. There are so many other words in our language to describe women (and men) than just sexy.
While a woman or man who embodies ‘sexy’ will never go out of style (Marilyn Monroe, James Dean) I want my kids to grow up knowing that ‘sexy’ is something that comes after all sorts of those admirable, and important qualities. The least of which being age and maturity.
So to end this post with an answer to the question I was posed by my 7 year old.
‘Sexy’ is a word that kids shouldn’t use because it’s not a something a kid can be, or should want to be. It’s an adult word for a feeling that adults have for each other.
So hopefully I’ve moved up from an F to a solid C+ after my initial Parenting Report card. But chances are I’ll get asked another thought provoking question and tell them to ask their dad instead. ;)