It's sad to contemplate that the little girls of America no longer aspire someday to find a cure for cancer, to decide great cases on the Supreme Court or simply just to raise a family. Our popular culture challenges them instead to desire dancing in a skimpy outfit on MTV, boasting musically about impressing males with their sexual prowess.
And I do mean little girls. Specialists say that patients at anorexia clinics can be as young as five or six years old. Time magazine reported a few years ago that girls ages 7 to 12 -- "tweens" highly coveted by retailers -- spent $1.6 million on thong underwear. That adds up to a lot of parents who are driving indulgently to the mall and right past the danger signs.
Some parents have banded together to fight the trivializing, sexualizing trend. Activist groups like Dads and Daughters persuaded Hasbro to cancel a line of dolls based on the Pussycat Dolls -- the musical vamps known for their sexy songs and dance routines, and the lyrics "Loosen up my buttons baby" and "Don't you wish your girlfriend was raw like me?" And yet it makes you wonder: What was Hasbro thinking? From the designer of this obscenity, to the manufacturers, to the distributors, to the dark suits upstairs -- how were they not, all of them, disgusted by this soft-porn-for-kiddies idea?
Women who take every titillating shortcut to the Big Time are, ultimately, pitiful. How can supposed parents and friends and business advisers lead a Britney or Anna Nicole so far down scandal's path that sooner or later they all seem to be bound for the asylum, if not the morgue? The media cannibals who love chewing on them, and watching their profits soar as a result, are refusing to reflect, even for a moment, on the damage done to the children who gather at the temple of celebrity worship. But we -- a society that is not sufficiently ashamed of itself to denounce this cultural rot simply by walking away from it -- we are the ultimate enablers.