“Girls as young as six aspire to look sexy”

Kristy explains why this newspaper headline isn’t the least bit shocking.

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Photo: bowdenimages/iStockphoto

The conversation went something like this:

Rory: Mama, I know what sexy means.
Me: You do? What does it mean?
Rory: It’s when a man and a woman lay on the couch naked and kiss a lot.
Me: Well, that’s more what sex means. But that’s not exactly right….

And so began my discussion with my six-year-old on the difference between sexy and sex. As a parent, I knew I’d have “the talk” with her at some point and probably not just once. I didn’t really sweat over when. I’ve just taken her lead, answering her questions with as much information as she seems to want to know and to be ready for.

Did I tell her what sex and sexy are too soon? (Fyi, I kept it to the basics). I don’t think so. Especially considering studies show that girls between the ages of six and nine want to look ‘sexy,’ as reported in The Globe and Mail today.

Those findings didn’t surprise me at all. Rory has definitely become more inquisitive about all-things sexy since she started school. This year, she’s keenly interested in Bratz dolls (she doesn’t have any), Betty and Veronica comics (she has lots) and Barbie (she has a few). She loves to change her outfits and strike poses (often with a hip out) in the mirror that some would consider sexy.

I don’t necessarily think it’s a sign of the times, either. Rory comes by it naturally. I loved Barbies at the age of six. I’m pretty sure I made Barbie and Ken make out when I was seven. And I remember starting to like certain boys in kindergarten. I even wrote in my journal that I “holed” hands with one boy in grade one. Like Rory, I was more attracted to the “sexier” clothes when my mom and I were shopping at Woolworths. (And like me, my mom didn’t let me wear anything that was inappropriate.)

For me, it’s important to be open to these discussions with my kid. I want Rory to know that she can talk to me rather than having to look up sex in the dictionary like I did. I also don’t want her to be misinformed by other kids. My parents were very conservative. I remember my mom asking me when I was 20 and about a week away from getting married if I “had any questions about, you know.” Dear lord.

What do you think? Is six too young to talk about the meaning of sex and sexy?

Related links:
How to answer difficult questions about sex
How to navigate the make-up debate with your daughter
How to talk to your kid about her celebrity idol

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