Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 03/9/2010

A Generation of Prosti-tots

the good old days

the good old days

Last year, I worked at an after-school day care center for kids in preschool-6th grade. Basically, after a long day at school, I hauled my ass to work where for 3 hours I was surrounded by a bunch of kids who were primarily in their single digits and not only acted as though they hadn’t just been at school for 8 hours but had also shot up some 5 hour energy. Seriously, these kids were nuts.

A family friend recently sent me this article about “prosti-tots,” a catchy yet disturbing phrase, that got me thinking about my experience at work. Basically, if you think our generation is messed up, the next one has it coming.

For some reason the little tykes at work seemed to trust me. More likely they just like talking to me because teenagers are seriously God-like to the elementary school set. Anyway, I had girls who were 6 years old coming up to me and asking me if I thought they were fat (they wanted to be skinny “like Hannah Montana”) and asking me for relationship advice. Now, I know that little girls wanting “boyfriends” is not something unusual and that many a 3rd grader has run around trying to kiss boys – although that may not be THE most normal thing it’s not exactly unprecedented. However, there was something kind of off about the way these girls were talking about boys. These girls were talking about having relationships and making out…something that wasn’t really on my radar 6-8 years after I was born.

Now, what is different about this next generation, that is “growing up so fast?” Let’s look to pop culture. Okay, so kids have a lot more going on in the way of entertainment than my over-watched 5 or 6 Disney movies and Sesame Street. And while many a member of my generation might despair at the eradication of beloved Disney movies, it’s probably not the worst thing in the world to get rid of some of those stupid-ass gender stereotypes that prevail in almost all of them. But what are we exchanging that for?

Well, for one you can be a fashionista, like Suri Cruise. My mom wouldn’t let me put anything on my face until I was fourteen, and even then it was neutral colors all the way. But why play into that so outdated “I’m a kid look” when you can look like a prosti-tot? Suri seems to pose this thought provoking question as she wears dark red lipstick and shops for more shades at Sephora. [Also – seriously Suri Cruise Fashion Blog? Seriously? That somebody actually catalogues this tot’s fashion choices is a problem all on it’s own]

“Make up is merely a form of expression,” you counter. “And what’s the harm, anyway? It’s just makeup it’s not a big deal. They just want to be like their Moms and older sisters, that’s not new.”

Okay. Lipstick, whatever. Wearing makeup is probably not the reason our little sisters are growing up so fast. Maybe it’s the way they dress?

There’s the always fabulous example of Noah Cyrus. Maybe little girls saw Noah, who is their age, dress up for Halloween and thought: “That’s cool, I’ll dress like that.”

I, too, dream of dressing my future pre-pubescent daughter as a dominatrix!

I, too, dream of dressing my future pre-pubescent daughter as a dominatrix!

Oh, Noah Cyrus, Ye of fantastic examples for the nation’s youth.

There’s the time you sang Akon’s “Smack That”, hopefully unaware of the sexual meaning behind the lyrics (Smack that / give me some more / smack that / til you get sore) and the other time that you danced to Ke$ha’s TiK ToK…hopefully still unaware of the lyrics since you should be brushing your teeth with cinnamon flavored Colgate or Little Bear toothpaste not a bottle of jack.

But Noah Cyrus isn’t the only sexualized elementary school student around. Oh, no, Julia Lira over in Brazil took a stab at it, too, dressing up in a bra-let (nothing to hold up = not really a bra) and a sarong to gyrate it on out.

So, are our little sisters “growing up too quickly.” I’m going to say no, they’re not growing up too quickly. Because to me, growing up means becoming an adult – it means learning how to make mature decisions and taking care of yourself. This generation is certainly not doing that. What they’re doing is becoming sexualilzed at a freakishly young age, which is something completely separate.

Why is this happening? I honestly don’t know for sure. I could say that it’s all of the fabulous example being set above, but I tend to think that Suri, Noah and Julia are the effect not the cause. Our culture, as a country and increasingly as a global community, is becoming overtly sexual. It’s in our ads, our music, our movies, our T.V. and now in our lives.

I’m not saying we should return to an era of women covering up and interacting only with members of the opposite sex to whom they are related, engaged or married. But at the same time why are we so focused on ONLY external appearances, ONLY sex and NOTHING on the inside?

I’ve always thought that while my generation has struggled with these issues, it was a struggle. We, for the most part, realize that there is / should be something more to us than our outward appearance and sexuality. What I’m worried about is this next generation of girls completely accepting the idea that they are sexual objects, and nothing more.

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  • Toongrrl @ at 11:48 am, March 9th, 2010

    You know, a few years ago in high school, I was giving candy to trick or treaters and there were a couple of middle school girls (they couldn’t have been more than 13) dressed up as a sexy geisha and a playboy bunnyj. Amazing. Also around the same time, there were several girls at school dressed up like sexy versions of something. When will the madness stop?

  • Samuel W. @ at 12:04 pm, March 9th, 2010

    I think the nation is suffering from an insidious disease of the culture known as JCTTM (Junk Culture to the Max), over 50% of which I could accurately attribute to Disney and them alone. Pop culture right now is worse than in the 1980’s. If this disease isn’t cured, we may enter an Orwellian age of a horrific corporate takeover of the culture.

  • Amy CT @ at 12:47 pm, March 9th, 2010

    I’m a Young Leader with a Brownie Pack (Junior Girl Scouts, maybe? I don’t know the exact equivilant), and we recently did a talent show with them. I was expecting shed-loads of High School Musical (boringly predictable, harmless guff), but was actually shown Cheryl Cole “Fight For This Love” by seven different small children, dressed in high heels.

    They actually looked more glamorous than me, last time I went out on a Friday night. ..

    And then there was the time we had to subtly sugges they try NOT girating to whatever it was they were girating to… the message of the lyrics I can recall, and you can guess. The exact lyrics I have tried to block from my mind… :)

    Then again, as one of my co-Young Leaders pointed out, when I was their age, I was singing “Two become One” by the Spice Girls…

    Ho Hum. Dilema dilema.

  • Vee @ at 1:00 pm, March 9th, 2010

    After catching a pair of eleven year olds about to have sex behind my old school, I’m really worried about the next generation. I know everyone blames the media but someone has to take responsibility for cheapen sex to the point that it means nothing and overly sexual images are now , sadly, a part of every day life.

  • ACW @ at 3:09 pm, March 9th, 2010

    I would like to point out that, at some point in the last decade, the children’s clothing industry made a switch… so now, there is no “little girls’ clothing”. Anything available to preteens (size 16) is available to preschoolers (size 4). That’s only part of the problem, but still…

  • Nona @ at 4:22 pm, March 9th, 2010

    I dunno, whenever I read these things about prostitots, I have to wonder–is this stuff totally new? Or is it just spreading to the suburban middle class? I’m 25 and from New York City and I totally remember wildly inappropriate dances from my daycampers I was a counselor for 10 years ago, dances to songs like “Too Close” by Next, which is basically about a dude rubbing his boner on his dance partner. I remember talking about blow jobs and making out when I was 9, too (in the early nineties).

    I have also noticed that this changed (got a little less sexually precocious) when I moved from my working-class elementary school to my more middle-class junior high. Is it possible that people just start to notice these things when it moves from urban enclaves to suburban tv screens? This is an honest question–tell me if I’m totally off-base here.

    To be clear, I’m just talking about tv, commercial and movies, and playground gossip. The thongs for 5-year-olds and the sexy makeovers of people like Rainbow Brite seem certifiably new and creepy to me.

  • Samuel W. @ at 9:07 pm, March 9th, 2010

    Vee, I could not agree with you more. Sexuality is the finest asset someone can have in their personality if they’re not too potential partner says no, they mean it, and it’s one of the best things about being alive, no doubt about it. But corporate interests continue to dilute the power, the rawness, the sheer fact that it’s in our nature, the intensity one can experience with it, everything’s being cheapened and devalued. I hope that when anybody who’s a virgin right now eventually wants to lose their virginity, they can do so with honor, dignity, respect and with a genuine love for their partner.

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    […] this post from FBomb, a fun, cool site written by young […]

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  • Holly @ at 6:17 pm, March 13th, 2010

    Although Disney movies do set stereotypical examples for the younger generations to follow, their messages are more about superficial love, not sex. When you think about it, girls who have grown up watching these movies, instead of whatever is on TV these days, are still better off that those who have been allowed to watch Hannah Montana and other ridiculous shows about bratty teenagers who are rude and completely selfish. If anyone is to blame for the way children act today, its their parents, allowing them to be contaminated at a young age by what the media has decided is acceptable.

  • Kelli Touma @ at 11:34 am, March 17th, 2010

    I can just say thank you for this wonderful post!

  • BENITA @ at 2:12 pm, March 26th, 2010



  • BENITA @ at 2:15 pm, March 26th, 2010

    FREAK POP FEMINISM FREAKISHLY HATEFUL CRAP. MEN ARENT THE PROBLEM, WOMEN ARENT THE PROBLEM, IT HUMANS. SOME IDIOT WAS SAYING HOW SHE’D LIKE TO CUT OFF AND MAN’S LEG AND THEN SOME OTHER UNLOVED FREAK OF NATURE WAS TALKING TO ME ABOUT HOW WE DONT NEED MEN ANYMORE CAUSE WE CAN GET ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION. look i love my dad and boyfriend, but just because your dad was a freak and you have bad decsion makeing abilities ( coked out a 14 dated a junkie) doesnt mean all men are freaks.

  • Alis @ at 6:24 pm, March 26th, 2010

    great thought provoking article! although i think maybe the reactions to Noah are a little exaggerated. granted the idea of such a young girl choosing to dress up as a dominatrix is terrifying, although the picture is definately a lot more tasteful than the mental images i got from the prosti-tots article you referenced. as for the smack that dancing, that’s just a young girl playing about and enjoying the attention. i know when i was younger i though it was absolutely hilarious to smack my bum while dancing, without any sexual connotations. don’t get me wrong, this artical certainly makes me worry for the environment children are being brought up in now. i realise i’m going to have to become a lot stronger before i can feel ready to have kids of my own.

  • Norman Pfeffer @ at 1:20 pm, April 19th, 2010

    Fantastic post , its a wow mistress post , thank you and keep on!

  • Emily @ at 4:44 pm, May 22nd, 2010

    I have a little sister who is nine right now and I can tell you without any question, stuff like this scares the hell out of me. When she gets older and wants to express herself sexually (in any way she wants to) I’m fine, probably even proud of her, with that. But I don’t want her to be forced to, and I don’t want her to be pressured, and I certainly don’t want her acting in a sexual manner before she even really knows what sex is.

  • icefox @ at 8:39 pm, July 6th, 2011

    @BENITA Did you even read the article? ‘Cause your comment is pretty unrelated.

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