I never considered myself a prude. But perhaps I am when it comes to sexualizing children. It’s currently a hot topic, and I suspect when people say “sexualizing children” they don’t always mean the same thing. It seems these days, we all speak a different language.
I’ll be 68 this year. My mother raised me to believe sex and love went together. Sex was not something to be ashamed of, yet Mother typically discussed sex and marriage together. She often spoke of her own parents, who adored each other, and often cuddled on the sofa in their living room. I never met my grandfather, he died when Mom was a little girl. But the memory of her parents snuggling and smooching on the sofa is one that stayed with Mom.
While my Haunting Danielle books are G-rated, the books under my Anna J. McIntyre aren’t. And for a while I dabbled in writing erotica, which I found fun and more a writing exercise. For the last seven years I’ve focused primarily on my Haunting Danielle series.
And while I have no problem with erotica or R rated work—I don’t believe it’s for children nor do I ever feel comfortable featuring children or minors in erotica scenes—even if it is a fantasy scene where the character is an adult play acting. I find that creepy. And in some cases, illegal.
I also cringe when a woman calls her lover “Daddy.” Maybe I am a prude, but it makes my skin crawl.
I remember once, when I was babysitting my young niece, she wanted to play dress up. I brought out some makeup—and then froze. I could not bring myself to put makeup on that innocent face. Even in play. I ended up applying a little blush to her cheeks, but that was about all.
I imagine I will be offending some people when I say—I am also uncomfortable with little girl beauty pageants. I don’t like the idea of all the makeup, adult poses, and parading the young girls on stage, as if appearance is her primary attribute. Maybe it is the Feminist in me, but I suspect it is also the Mama Bear.
To be honest, I’m not a fan of any beauty pageant. Yet, you won’t see me protesting pageants. While I have the right to find them distasteful, those who wish to enter pageants have the right to do so. We don’t have to all like the same thing.
This month is Pride Month, which I support. I believe we all have the right to love who we want.
Over on Twitter, someone who did not support Pride month shared a photo with me showing a little girl holding a rainbow flag, while looking at two scantily clad men dressed in BDSM attire, kneeling before her. The person wanted to know my thoughts on the photo. If I supported Pride Month, I must also support what was happening in that photo. Right? No.
My thoughts on the photo? Right up there with the little girl beauty pageants. Inappropriate and unnecessary.
I see nothing wrong with my young grandchildren learning that little Billy has two moms, or that Suzie has two dads, just as little Andy has a mom and dad. But I don’t want my young grandchildren shown graphic photos of what any of their parents do in private.
While I believe in sex education, I see it as something that comes in age-appropriate stages. And in my opinion, it is appropriate for a kindergartener to learn parents sometimes come in a matching set.
My daughter is transgender. She started showing signs at age 4. She’s 12 now and fully transitioned. A lot of people have comments about her. If they knew her and experienced her like I have, they would know there was no question that my male born child is a girl. People love who they love but they are also the person that they are. I fought it at first. I didn’t want my child to have a harder life than they needed to. Today, letting her be who she is, she is the happiest child I’ve ever known. She has a ton of friends, involved in extracurricular activities and socially accepted in her school. The more conservative this country gets, the harder it’s going to be for her. I pray the young generation focuses hard and gets out to vote. I believe the younger generations don’t want this conservative agenda and the ones that do, learn it from their hateful parents. I fear for my daughter every day. I wish people could worry about themselves and not everyone else.
That is a difficult topic, and one I avoid writing about, because I don’t feel I have sufficient knowledge on the topic, and the last thing I want to do is hurt someone like your daughter who might read a carelessly written post on the topic.
I have a friend whose son is also trans and I remember when she announced on Facebook that her then daughter would be transitioning. (Not even sure I am saying that right.) While I don’t know the intimate details of what they went through, I understand it was challenging and I respect how supportive she and her husband and extended family seemed to be. Today I see photos of her son, who is now in college, and he seems to be flourishing and happy.
But I will admit I have one concern. I have spoken to several much younger mothers—with children in middle school, from different parts of the country, who tell me it seems to almost a fad in their children’s school for classmates to claim to be anything but straight. I understand children that age are still discovering themselves and often enjoy the extra drama, but I do fear this might interfere with the needs of children like yours and ramp up the prejudice against them.
Ultimately, I believe people need to stop worrying about how other people identify or who they love.
Thank you for writing.