Yesterday I noticed that the south Salem Fred Meyer store had added a Family Friendly check out lane. Since I was by myself, and one does not make a family, I passed it by. I’m a stickler for check out rules. Always count the items in my cart before I turn into “Ten Items or Less.”
I asked my cashier if what made the Family Friendly lane so FF was the absence of tabloids and magazines like the “National Enquirer” and “Cosmopolitan.” “Yes,” she said. She assured me that I could use the lane even if I didn’t have a couple of toddlers in tow.
“Good to know,” I told her. “But I’ll be sticking with the Un-Family Friendly lanes. I really enjoy thumbing through the tabloids.” Where else am I going to find out that Angelina flies into a rage over Brad’s secret calls to Jen?
Personally, I think kids should be exposed to this sort of stuff. It’s part of life, just like Cosmo’s “Seven Hot Bedroom Games to Play Tonight.” (Darn, the scavenger hunt is going to have to wait; we’re out of chocolate syrup!)
This country is starting to go insane. Check that: more insane.
Too many people get all aflutter about what doesn’t matter much and ignore what does. Children aren’t going to have their precious little psyches thrown for a loop by seeing a beautiful busty woman in a low-cut dress. Or even the bust itself, a la Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction.”
Lots of parents seem to want to throw an excessively dense protective cocoon over their children. This mother is happy that the Family Friendly lane is purged of magazines, but wishes that trinkets and candy bars were absent too.
Well, I’m of the opinion that just as many doctors say that exposing babies to germs helps them fight allergies and asthma later, it’s good to expose children to a generous dose of knowledge about what exists in the adult world. Reading a few tabloid headlines about sex, divorce, adultery, drugs, and plastic surgery introduces kids to the reality that, all too soon, they will be entering.
Back in the late 1950s and early 60s, the library in the small central California town where I grew up had “adult” and “children” sections. I was the only elementary school student whose mother gave him permission to read or check out any book he wanted. If my friends wanted to know what was in “Lolita,” I was their source for literary “good parts.”
My mother didn’t believe in censorship. She thought that forbidden fruit is envisioned as being sweeter than it really is. She was right. Efforts to keep children from seeing a naked body or hear a swear word won’t make them into Puritans. The opposite is more likely, Libertines.
I agree with this woman's “Family Friendly or Freakin’ Futile” post. She deplores how over-coddled American children have become.
Why is a magazine which treats sex as something healthy and enjoyable so frightening? Kids can play violent video games, and listen to music with lyrics exhorting sex and violence, but Cosmo is apparently the work of the devil.
So my contribution to ending the coddling of today's children is that I'm going to start wearing a giant badge that reads:
I have sex
Ask me how!
I'll be a one-woman sex education machine. And don't forget to take a pamphlet about the hot monkey lovin'.
Right on, sister. If I see you with your button in Fred Meyer I’ll be sure to stop you and get some learnin’. I liked what you said in your blog post about how violence is accepted in this country but sex rings all the alarm bells of the “family values” folks. They forget that without sex, they wouldn’t be alive to have their bells rung.
And while the south Salem Fred Meyer store bans the display of racy women’s magazines from its Family Friendly check out lane, in Paris an ad for a fashion magazine featuring a beautiful bare breasted model graces a busy street.
Ah, America: the land of the repressed and the home of the uptight.