Children Sexualisation in the UK is All Allien to Me

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Children Sexualisation in the UK is All Allien to Me

I have lived in the UK for over a decade now. I got used to most of the things here and I learned to understand British culture. I feel the part of it. However, one thing that I struggle with is the children or, more correctly, people's attitude towards them. It seems to me that people are not able to draw a line between adults and kids when it comes to our sexuality. Children seem to be sexual objects here, which is something I don't get.

The right one was ok, but the left one was removed
One example from my own experience is the removal of my children's photograph from a Children's Portraiture community on Google+. I was so proud of my two gorgeous little ones that I decided to share my super sweet and cute kids' pictures with people on Google+. Unfortunately, the moderator of the community felt offended by the pic in which a loving brother (who was three at a time) gave a peck on his little sister's (she was not even two then!) lips. Another similar photo, but without a kiss was allowed to stay on the community's wall. The photo only captured the moment, it was not a produced piece of art.

Another thing I don't understand is breastfeeding. When a woman decides to breastfeed in public, she seems to always attract a lot of criticism as though she has a choice. Most of the time the choice is between breastfeeding in public or staying at home all the time without seeing the daylight; the mother cannot possibly know when the baby will decide that he/she needs to eat. Another even more cruel choice would be to let the baby scream until she falls asleep from exhaustion. If the same woman could choose to breastfeed in the comfort of her own home as opposed to a bench in a public park, I bet she would go for the former.

Showers in the female changing room
The last thing that happened to me recently was the e-mail that I received from the swimming pool which my little boy and the girl have been attending for a while now. Always since my kids started going to the pool I would take their clothes off in the shower, which you can see in the picture on your right. I liked the idea that they could wash themselves properly there, I would put them into their pyjamas and we would go home and straight to bed. The e-mail from the swimming school said that all kids had to wear their swimwear in the shower at all times regardless of their age. For me this is sexualisation of the kids. They are only three and five and we are in the ladies only changing room, but they can't have a shower naked! Now I have to take kids home, bath them at home and only then they can go to bed.

Seeing kids as a sexual object is something I am not used to. In Lithuania it is totally normal for a child to run around naked on a beach and nobody ever tells their mothers to cover them up. Here in the UK, kids are not allowed to wash themselves properly even in the shower.

Also, making a woman breastfeeding her baby feel like a sexual object is simply unethical. If it makes someone feel uncomfortable for whatever reason, they don't need to look at her, but please don't make the woman feel uncomfortable; she is already struggling with the extra attention that she gets when her baby starts crying in the middle of a shopping mall, in a cafe or a busy restaurant. It is very hard as it is....

Pedophiles? Yes, we need to watch out for them, but we can't assume that everyone is a pedophile, especially in a female changing room where every female there is with her own little child. Or maybe one of those mothers complained about children being undressed in the changing room? You never know, but this makes my tummy turn, I feel sick when I think that someone sees a three and a five year old as sexual objects.

What is your opinion on this subject? Do you think that toddlers playing in the sand on a beach or little kids having a shower in the swimming pool undressed is something inappropriate?

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