Friday, April 20, 2007

Sexy Toddlers!

I READ A DISTURBING THING while casually skimming from blog to blog on these Internets. Only, it wasn't really treated as if it was disturbing. In the context of the article, the following information was contextualized in sort of a "isn't that cool?" or "she's so fascinating!" way. Here it is:

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has confessed to being "very sexual" in kindergarten, even creating a game where she would corner the boys and strip off their clothes.

Now, here's the game I like to play with stuff of this nature -- and by stuff of this nature, I mean, instances where sexualizing children is treated capriciously -- just switch the genders (and remove the celebrity, if necessary) and see how comfortable that statement makes you feel. It's fun! It's what I did during the Michael Jackson trial. You know, if you imagine it was a middle-aged woman who invited a bunch of 11- and 12-year-old boys to her house for a sleepover where she would serve them wine, then it still seems TOTALLY innocent, right?

Or if you imagine that a middle-aged male celebrity (your choice! Howie Mandel, Brian Williams, Yao Ming, anyone!) was having little sleepovers with 12-year-old girls, it would also seem TOTALLY innocent. In both cases, the problem would still be with the media wanting to tear that famous person down. See? It totally clears up any confusion.

When I was working at a video store in the '90s, we would have movies playing in the store at all times. And since they had to be safe for all audiences, one day we once put on this seemingly harmless Disney film called Blank Check, about this 12-year-old kid who finds a blank check (thus the title), fills it out for one million dollars and starts living high on the hog. Naturally, the check belongs to the mob, so they come after the kid. And naturally, since the mob's involved, the FBI comes a-calling too: specifically, and agent played by Karen Duffy, at the time 32-years-old.

Naturally, the kid has a crush on Duffy's character, and hits on her. And even though she does not agree to go on a date with him, she does agree to kiss him in the end. Cute, right? Unless you imagine the movie re-made with, let's say, Dakota Fanning as the kid and, oh let's say, any male actor in his 30s. It's sort of a little creepy then. With a 30-year-old man flirting, as Duffy's character does in the film, with a pre-teen of the opposite sex.

Which takes me back to the Angelina Jolie quote. And how it sorta sounds like she's proud of being so sexually aware as a 5-year-old. And how the "journalist" writing about it seems to think that's pretty fucking cool. Like, wow, that's so awesome that you were a sexy toddler! It's sooooo you! Why wasn't I in your kindergarten? We could have totally gotten busy during nap time! Is it really cool to brag about being "sexual in kindergarten"? It's not that I don't believe that kids sometimes do just what she's talking about -- chasing members of the opposite sex and either kissing them or wanting to see their junk -- it's just that I think it's not exactly normal to want to retrofit "sexuality" onto it. In fact, looking at that behavior as sexual behavior seems a bit fucked up to me.

The weird thing about this story is the ad that breaks up the copy. It's a little Flash animation ad with pictures of young children accompanied by phrases such as: "Do you care if I need help? Do you care who I am? Do you care if I'm left behind?" And when you click on it, it sends you to an Irish children's charity site called Barnardos, where "no child gets left behind."

Which is either the world's darkest joke or the most awesome bit of irony ever.

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