Let's all have a seat over there and discuss this phenomenon of kids as sex symbols. Not doubt we're all familiar with the subject matter, having witnessed many examples of young lust in our favorite movies and TV shows. Teenagers in heat have been big business for decades and understandably so. Those with even a slight recollection of their youth will have fond memories of what it was like to be young and horny. If you weren't boning your brains out in high school, you desperately wanted to be. If you are one of those horny teens in the midst of a raging hormonal explosion, you probably enjoy seeing kindred spirits mirroring your present reality. Still, even as we project our own experiences onto those "kids" up there on the screen, exploring their burgeoning sexuality, there is always an understanding that the people you see cavorting around in the high school sex fantasy movie are just young-looking adults. That's the thin, protective layer of reality allowing us to indulge in the fantasy exploits of teenagers in heat.
Seems like the simulation is no longer sufficient now. Adolescent-looking 20-somethings impersonating jail bait just isn't authentic enough, apparently. Now they want to bring in the real thing for their media objects of desire. This is the disturbing trend of kids, barely in their teens, taking on sex symbol status via scantily clad runway modelling and racy movie roles - all with the consent and sometimes even enthusiasm from their parents. Is it wrong when parents have little concern over the integrity of their children's formative years? Are we so overexposed and desensitized to legitimate sexuality, that we have to start mining it from our young? And where does this all end?
Before I sink too far into what you might consider prudishness, let me concede to the fact that age of consent laws aren't a perfect way to estimate the maturity level of a young person. Clearly, some kids mature faster than others. It would also be a fabrication to say that this imaginary line acts as an instant cut off valve for all sexual desire. Stroll about the average high school in the western world and you'll find plenty of alluring examples of youth. It's a fact of our species - we're attracted to youth (see the dozens of high school teachers currently behind bars for trysts with their students for proof of that fact). That being said, such rules do have a valuable role in keeping kids, or short-sighted adults, from taking shit too far. Are we prepared now to simply chuck all that out the window and say that it's okay to let kids advertise themselves the same way adults do? Isn't it the job of a parent to protect their kid from such potentially destructive sexual exploitation? Who are these people turning a blind eye to their kids becoming sex symbols?
Like most things in today's pop culture world that can be deemed annoying or just wrong, members of the Kardashian clan are high profile participants in this kind of premature attempt at titillation. Take a stroll along the contents of any tabloid image site and you'll discover plenty of images showing the two youngest members of the Kardashian clan, Kendall and Kylie, basically given carte blanche as to how much of their person they chose to put on display. It's weird enough that someone's mom thought it okay that a 15 or 16 year old girl attempted to legitimize being braless in low cut tops and barely there bikinis as normal street wear. The fact that there's enough of that going on to fuel daily updates on the matter is pushing it way past most people's comfort zones. It's not my job to tell anyone how to raise their kids, but take a look at what has become of some of the older daughters in the Kardashian clan, and you can get a pretty good idea of where this kind of no-limits parenting can lead.
We can't single out the Kardashians, though. There's plenty of kids putting their still sprouting goods out there for all to see. Am I alone in finding some of the on screen and public dealings of young Chloe Grace Moretz to be beyond the limit lately? Movies like DIARY OF A WIMPY KID and HUGO were fun and entertaining movies, typical of what one might expect from a 12, 13 or 14-year old girl. Even KICK ASS, with it's decidedly adult-oriented content, still managed to use it's underage actors with some consideration to their tender ages. They might have approached the borderline at times with characters like Hit Girl, but they pretty much always acknowledged and respected those borders. Movies like the upcoming HICK and the CARRIE remake, both staring Chloe, don't seem to have such limitation.
How the hell are they going to handle the infamous shower scene from the original CARRIE in this remake? Hopefully they'll bypass that altogether, or else the creep factor is going to go off the charts. Chloe is clearly a rather sophisticated young girl, or is at least capable of appearing that way on screen. She's still only 15 though. Sissy Spacek was 27 when she played Carrie in the original Brian De Palma film. Even if the movie is about a teenage girl, there is still quite a lot happening in that movie I'd rather not see real, underage teens attempt to tackle. I wont even get into the weirdness factor inherent in a girl like Chloe showing up at premiere's for these movies in see thru or low cut gowns like those above. Throw their virtue out the window. That's not even the issue. On a purely selfish level, underage girls looking to sexually entice folks is weird, as are the people who would respond to such enticements.
And where does all this shit end? What happens when they've exhausted all the roles dealing with teenage sexuality? Are they going to move on to middle school? Grade school? Is there a raunchy look at the inner workings of your average preschool nap time in our near future? That might seem nuts to a younger person, but the older you get, the more miniscule the years dividing high-schoolers and toddlers in diapers become. Ask any exploited former child star on drugs or damaged stripper with daddy issues, about the costs of being put out to pasture before your time. You're gonna hear some seriously messed up shit. Does that mean that every sexually awakened young kid in a provocative role will wind up mentally or emotionally devastated? Are kids with no limits always going to become superficial media whores? Perhaps not on both counts. Still, history shows that kids participating in such things are much more likely to have negative outcomes as a result.
The fact of the matter is, kids are dumb and often in such a hurry to grow up that they make the wrong choices. Today's youth are in more of a hurry than any before them. The way I see it, now more than ever, it is the job of parents to guide their kids through the thorny path that leads to maturity. Thongs and sex scenes have no place in that process. To put it succinctly, look out for your damn kids, people. We've got enough mental cases running around as it is.