The current generation of youngsters are exposed daily to sexuality, not only through media and advertising, but also through the computer and smartphones. Tonight’s film, Sexy Baby, explores how the easy access to sexual material and the constant sexualization of society affects women, using three women’s stories as examples.
Nichole has spent her entire adult life in the adult film and entertainment industry. Though she wanted to be a legitimate dancer, she went into stripping, hitting the stage while in high school (she invited her entire class down to the club for her debut, and won amateur night), and then graduating into modeling and then porn under the name Nakita Kash. Developing her pole dancing skills, she became a pole dancing champion, even a finalist on America’s Got Talent. Now married, she and her husband run a business booking strippers, and want to start a family. Explaining the ins and outs of the adult entertainment business, Nichole says:
I find women wanting to be like Nakita, but Nichole just wants to be like them.
Her husband, who also worked in porn, is visibly uncomfortable when asked how he would react if he saw his son looking at porn, replying:
I don’t want to answer that.
Winnifred is a bright, privileged, New York City 12-year old, who we follow through her bat mitzvah and growth into a 14 year old. The oldest of four children, she is socially aware, articulate and driven. But despite her parents strong feminist ideals, she and her friends and sisters become more and more seduced by sexiness, causing her family no end of worry. In a six month period, Winnifred’s parents block her Facebook access eight times over her posting of inappropriate content (Winnifred tell us that Facebook is 32% of her life). She jokingly tells her dad she
a cabby for a free ride, upsetting him, yet claims to filmmakers Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, our guests tonight, that she has never seen online porn. Her best friend Olivia, who shoots provocative photos of Winnifred, admits to watching a film, saying it made her cry.
Twenty-two year old Laura has seen a lot of images online that have made her cry–cry for herself. After a comment from her first boyfriend, and looking at images on line, she is convinced her labia are unattractive and is working two jobs to save up enough money for labiaplasty. We follow her journey through the very painful surgery that she is convinced will make her happier and help her find the right partner and a more joyful life.
Winnifred’s mother, a high power defense attorney and media pundit wonders if women who control the manufacturing of their own sexuality–like Winnifred’s idol Lady Gaga–empower women, while at the same time she chastises her youngest daughter for aping Britney Spears’ more suggestive moves. How can parents help their children navigate the vast open plains and hidden caverns of online sexuality?
The filmmakers also interviewed college and high school students about their views on sex. Most admitted to sending their own naked pictures or requesting naked photos of others. Boys won’t date girls who have “bush,” and wonder if their views of what is attractive would be different if they hadn’t seen so much porn (and Nichole/Nakita admits that much of the action seen in porn doesn’t feel good for either party, it just looks good for the camera).
Sexy Baby raises a lot of questions, and thankfully it doesn’t push any answers, because there are no easy answers. Porn sites protect themselves by demanding a birthday before allowing access, but kids can lie. And kids are curious. But as Nichole’s husband Dave points out, when he was growing up it was just magazines, and they didn’t show penetration, now anything goes, especially online. Free speech vs protecting kids–is there an easy solution? Even with good parenting (and Winnifred’s parents try to instill values) there is an outside world (and an inside one with Facebook and the internet) that lure kids (and adults, let’s face it), shaping their attitudes and programming them towards unobtainable ideals.
As Sexy Baby points out, sexy has become the new pretty, and the results aren’t pretty at all.