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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

Friday, February 4 2005

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Sexualizing culture - 1

During my elementary school days at Belsano two classmates, one from each sex, seemed to start school in first grade "presexualized." The girl came to school in full makeup and outfits that in those days writers might have called "frocks" rather than the school clothes appropriate to vigorous exercise on the playground that most first graders wore. Though I don't imagine that she was really on the prowl to seduce her male classmates at that tender age, it did seem that she was being groomed for that role already. Nor do I imagine that the boy was any more interested in girls as either sex objects or special friends than other six-year-old boys, but he was the one with the most "sexualized" vocabulary, using vulger expressions I hadn't heard until then, and also seemed primed to show off his male "plumage" more than anyone else. Being naughty, especially in a bawdy sense, seemed to be his special mission.

I'm sure I made these observations years after I was in the first grade rather than at that time. But even at that time I was aware that these two (who were not related) were different and wondered why. My earliest guess still makes sense but never has been proven: the boy's father was probably his main behavior model, and the girl's mother must have wanted to make her into a "beauty queen" far earlier than most people would think appropriate. Though I was never close pals with either of them, both seemed to continue their premature sexual maturation earlier than the rest of us. My guess is that both lost their virginity by eighth grade.

My reading of the child-rearing experts has persuaded me that the proper way for children to become "sexualized" (aware of sex and thinking of themselves as sexual and looking out for [or looking out in order to avoid] sexual experience) is to protect them from early exposure to such imputs and let their curiosity lead them to question what their sexual feelings are about. Answer their questions honestly but only to the extent that they are asking.

In those days, the playground was the most likely place to get sexual information. After that, you could look in the reference section of a library (though neither the village nor the school had one, but my family and others had at least a rudimentary one) for some basic definitions of seldom heard terms. Some families probably got National Geographic and I've heard it used to be a gateway to this kind of exploration for many youth of an earlier generation. We didn't subscribe to it, but Coronet, a more edgy (sexy) competitor of Reader's Digest, did come to our home for several years. TV didn't come to Belsano in a big way until I was in third grade, but even when it did, for at least a decade afterward it did little to lead anyone toward a more highly sexed life. That was then, of course, and this is now. Now I'm sure most six-year-olds start first grade with more exposure to sex representations and even information than we might have had at age 10 or 11, because of how television has changed.

And that's where we'll resume next time.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

A complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005

Classic Hollywood Squares, 10

If you remember The Original Hollywood Squares and its comics, this will bring a tear to your eyes. These great questions and answers are from the days when "Hollywood Squares" game show responses were spontaneous! Peter Marshall was the host asking the questions, of course.

Q. Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?

A. George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.

Q. Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?

A. Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?

Thought for today

We love because it's the only true adventure.

William Gladstone  

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