Teenage Sex and Fame

Last month on our journey back from London, a 7-years-old girl was sitting next to me restlessly, and in between her non-stop chatting to her mum who looked desperately could use some extra hours of sleeping and her tiny fingers which were busy pressing her pink Playstation Portable to kill whatever enemy she fought against, she was singing. Not the Barney purple dinosaur song or any song a normal pre-teens would sing, but Girls Aloud‘s new single Can’t Speak French.

Her mum, finally given up sleeping and joined the conversation, said that her beloved daughter wants to be an actress. Not a doctor, a lawyer, or an architect, but an actress. Being a pragmatic lady, mum said it’s not going to be easy. A dreamer and a kid, the 7-years-old said it’s easy (according to her friend who had scored some gigs in local theater) and believed she’s going to make it.

This kid is not alone, millions of other (pre)-teenagers have unrealistic expectations of instant stardom. The constant media exposure of teenage celebrities, such as Emma Watson and Miley Cyrus, as well as the reality TV talent shows like X factors and American Idol that present the glamorous life of being celebrities on our doorsteps, are said to be contributing factors. These youngsters think that their Hollywood break is just around the corner, and the glittery life every teenage celebrities live each day is an escape from exams and other boring school stuff.

Everyday we face the bombardment of media images glamorising drug-taking, binge drinking and the sexualisation of teenagers. Peaches Geldof is not a day older than 19 but constantly appears at glitzy events where champagne flows and now to be quizzed by the Police over a shocking videotape of her buying drugs. Miley Cyrus is 15 years-old and caused an uproar when she posed semi-naked for Vanity Fair (but naturally she now claims she had been ‘manipulated’ when the photos were taken). Vanessa Hudgens is 18 years-old Disney’s High School Musical star posing naked in a bedroom with a red curtain behind her. Jamie Lynn Spears is 16 and pregnant, and as well as being crazy-Britney’s sister, is used to be Nickelodeon television’s darling.

Those are the example of teenage celebrities whose face grace our kids, nephews’ or nieces’ bedroom, school box, rucksack and thermos, whose CDs we buy, whose concert and shows we watch, whose stories we follow in gossip channel and magazines, whose hairstyle will be copied, whose those youngsters think are “cool”.

Sad.

Like it’s not enough, Scotland’s children’s commissioner is calling for the age of consent to be lowered to 13 for sexual partners of similar ages. That means, 13 to 15-years-olds who have sex with each other should not be criminalised – although over-16s who have sex with a minor could still be prosecuted (from The Sunday Times, May 11, 2008).

It’s not strange to hear my friends complain that their 9-years-old or 11-years-old daughter has been begging to buy some make-ups because others put some on when they go to school, and those are considered essential, just like latest mobile phones and designer handbags (seriously, I saw a girl wearing private school uniform and couldn’t be older than 13-years-old, walking in Union Street with a Gucci on her shoulder. The bag alone costs over £1,000 or Rp 20 millions). Some of them have constant battles about what their daughters should or should not wear since skirts are getting shorter and tank tops are getting lower each day. All, of course, are for getting attention from the opposite sex. And if this proposed change is applied, as part of the laws on rape and other sexual offences, surely lots of parents will have bigger headache than ever. How can you say no to your 13-years-old teenagers when they legally can do it?

Drugs, sex and alcohol are part of the celebrity lifestyle today, but no child should grow up under the impression that getting pregnant when she’s barely 16 is cool. No child should bow to peer pressure and tabloid’s constant exposure to drugs and alcohol, or worse, think that Amy Winehouse and Peter Doherty are so talented, and drugs are the part of their genius process. And taking nude pictures, no matter how old you are, whether you’re 16 or 60, definitely have some consequences.

The kids deserve better and longer lasting future than the stars in the teen magazines.

 

Comments

  1. rimafauzi says:

    yes it is a sad phenomenon indeed. I just hope if and when I have kids, I will be able to offer a different perspective on life and get my kid/s to admire different crowds of people. not these drug consuming shopoholic teenyboppers.

    it’s a nice article mbak, should be read by parents of pre teens and teens everywhere.

  2. “I just hope if and when I have kids, I will be able to offer a different perspective on life and get my kid/s to admire different crowds of people. not these drug consuming shopoholic teenyboppers.”

    AAAMIIIEEENNN..
    hehe, Rima, though you are your own God, i’d still like to amien on that. hope us all will.

    i think it’s not easy to be teenagers. it’s a very critical time.

  3. Another reason why I’m never having kids. The world is teaching our daughters to become tiny sluts! As what Anita says, peer pressure really gets them and being a teenager is a difficult thing.

    This post reminds me of something I wrote ages ago.

  4. Finally Woken says:

    @Rima: I hope so too. But bad news sells, apparently. People are more interested in reading Amy Winehouse’s bleeding toes. I have no idea why…

    @M: no, it’s not easy being teenagers, especially today. They are forced to be mature quickly. I believe they will age quicker too.

    @Therry: I hope the world also teaches us there’s always a choice in life. But it’s hard to be different and much more comfortable to follow the crowds.

  5. It is so sad kids today are growing up way too fast. They don’t fully understand being an “adult” at 11 or 13 and yet … they are doing adult things. Moral seems to be thing of the past and sadly too many parents just don’t care.

  6. the writer says:

    It’s really a worrying situation, especially here in Scandinavia. Sex, drugs and alcohol are the three main elements in teenagers life, even as young as 13. You can see these 13 year old girls on Saturday night, drunk and swinging bottles of beer, singing loudly on the street. Where are their parents?

    Reports also show that these teens, as young as 12, has been reported smoking hash regularly.

    Sex? Don’t even ask. In a country where porn and prostitution are illegal and even advertisement for plastic surgery showing bare-breasted women are shown on the side of a bus are common LOL and the women recently appealed to be allowed to swim topless in public swimming pool LOL

    One thing for sure, I wouldn’t want raise my kid here in Scandinavian country.

  7. the writer says:

    whoops, I mean “porn and prostitutions are legal”……typo :)

  8. Scary eh… when I was younger, teenagers are the 17-19 year olds, and pre-teens are the 14-16 kids. Apparently they have changed the standards, 13 is now teen and 9 is pre-teen. Which makes me practically a granny (at 32).

    Kids today are having a tough time growing up. With everything within their reach (designer bags, latest gadgets, celebrity news etc etc)they’re more confused than ever. Being a parent these days is definitely a lot more challenging than in the past, you really need to commit and give 150% to your family. I’m not that brave yet ;p

  9. Andie Summerkiss says:

    It’s going to be tough, raising children in this point in time. Young girls are much braver in wearing provocative clothes and also know how to exploit themselves. It just makes parents’ job much harder. But some parents are not very critical. That makes everything much worse.

  10. Finally Woken says:

    @The Writer: I don’t mind all that, but legalize the age as low as 13 is worrying, they’re practically still babies. How many 13 years old can live without their mum and make their own breakfast? Let alone choose between right or wrong in drugs, alcohol and sex.

    @Mia: I guess you’re right. Now we’re in 30s, we’re trying to look as young as possible! But tell that to 13-years-old, they will just roll their eyes and say we’re too old to understand (same thing we did to our mum when we’re 13, right?).

    @Andie: yeah I see it a lot that the kids take control and the parents are helpless. What’s with that?

  11. rimafauzi says:

    @the writer: at the end of the day, how a kid acts depends on the parents. hash or marijuana exists too in indonesia, but things are done behind closed doors. i had my first puff of ganja when i was 13, in indonesia. go figure.

    I personally think it’s better to raise a child here (europe/scandinavian) rather in indonesia (read: jakarta). Here the morality is stronger, and although children are exposed to stupid drug taking teen celebs, they are also exposed to it in indonesia, and even worse things there. I see Indonesian parents who have experience raising kids here and in indo, they all think it’s better to raise kids here.

    there are negative things here, but i see more negativity in indonesia. at least the education, health care, education on good moral here is something guaranteed , whereas in indonesia the first two are definitely bad, and the latter only consists of porn and sexual acts, they do not emphasize on corruption, intolerance, materialistic (and many other things like ‘ngotorin jalanan’ or being consumptive, being insensitive to those who are unfortunate, not being a good samaritan/charitable etc) as lesser moral values.

  12. Uhm. If there’s a mistake that most parents do, it is to FEAR these things. And later on, intoxicate their children with the same fear.

    Don’t.
    Parents will end up with the same result.

    The best way possible is to ensure that the children establish self respect within themselves, and as Anita said, there’s always a choice in life. People who use drugs, etc, they lack self respect. However, they were all children once, and even Amy Winehouse was an innocent little angel once. They’re victims, they have the right to decide for themselves and they also have the right to learn from their mistakes.

    As to these children, get them something they can create with. Their creativity might surprise you. :)

  13. Rob Baiton says:

    The best place to raise kids is something that plagues every parents mind (or in my case, soon to be parent in 7 months or so!)…

    This is why the better half and I are currently weighing up our options with respect to whether it is time for a move back to the land down under or stay where we are! Right now we are leaning towards a move!

    Some of us will have better parenting skills than others but in the end some parents try as hard as they can and still their kids run wild! For my mind it is about having support networks and getting the raising of the kids job done!

    Therry…I respect your choice not to have kids because of what the world at this time is likely to expose them to and the challenges that it poses to both the children and the parents.

    Amongst the heartache and drama though there is sure to be pure happiness and bliss derived from raising a child or two!

    Yet, people have to do what they have to do and do what is right for them…

    Just my thoughts (I think I am the sole male voice on this one, right?)

  14. Asia'h Epperson says:

    Wow, I just found your site from Aroengbinang’s site and I love this article.

    You have well said a lot of great information about this topic. I have two daughters myself and it is scary what their lives will be like, and what they will be exposed to in school and beyond.

    I feel that all I can do as a parent is be open and honest with them, provide them guidance in their decisions about what is right and wrong and keep them in my prayers that they make the right decisions.

    As for the quick fame and stardom that comes to these teen stars, I feel that to each their own. However I think every parent should let their children know what is right and wrong, such as how to dress and act and that if they dress or act like a teen idol, they won’t necessarily become one.

    THanks again for the great article, insight and site! New subscriber here!

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