Jewish World Review July 9, 2001 / 18 Tamuz, 5761

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reiley
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Heather needs a childhood: The unnecessary loss of innocence -- ONE of the biggest problems we have in this country is one rarely discussed in civilized society: The sexualization of America's children has reached a crisis point, and the kids are getting hurt.

Let's walk through it. Traditionally, responsible parents had "the talk" with their children around puberty, verbally outlining "the facts of life." At least that's the way my parents handled it, and their parents before them. Of course, I knew most of the stuff my father was tossing at me, but it was interesting to hear his phrases and stammers. I loved the stammers. Being Irish, I wasn't a junior Hugh Hefner or anything, but the schoolyard is the schoolyard, and sex stuff always floats around. Always will.

But my childhood in Levittown, N.Y., was relatively free of sexual themes. It wasn't until age 12 that I even thought about how to interact with girls, and it was the dancing on "American Bandstand" that brought social interaction to my attention. I did what most little kids do: I played sports, rolled in the dirt and climbed trees. Sex was nowhere in sight, and I'm glad it wasn't.

Today, even little children are exposed to sex on an almost daily basis. Sex ed often starts early in public schools. MTV is one big sex extravaganza, and many of TV's most popular programs, like "Friends," are full of sexual situations and innuendos. The Boy Scouts are under fire for not accepting "avowed" homosexual scoutmasters. And even clothing catalogs aimed at the young border on soft porn. Don't be surprised if HBO creates a series called "Sex and the Kiddie."

This sexually charged atmosphere is bad for kids because they are not emotionally equipped to handle it. Sex is a complicated issue. I agree that our society is dangerous, and children must be warned about sexual abuse. I do not oppose responsible education aimed at eliminating bigotry against gays and preventing disease and pregnancies. But I am adamantly against any explicit discussions of sexual activity in front of children. I don't want my kid to be worried about conduct she cannot possibly understand. I want the children of America to remain innocent for as long as possible.

It is flat-out wrong to inject any kind of sexual controversy in the Boy or Girl Scouts. No scoutmaster should ever discuss his or her sexual orientation in any way. Don't ask, don't tell. Give the kids and society a break. Just shut up and let the kids have a good time. But no, children have to be drawn into all the social battles adults are fighting. We can't have childhood anymore. The kids have become pawns for agenda-mad adults.

Perhaps the worst thing about America these days is the greedy, irresponsible entertainment companies. Music aimed at young people is full of explicit sexual lyrics, R-rated films are marketed at kids, and magazines are loaded with sexual content. Unless a kid is living in a fallout shelter, he is bombarded with sexual situations on a daily basis.

There is a clothing store chain called Abercrombie and Fitch. It markets clothes that kids like: baggy pants, T-shirts, caps, and so on. The store's summer catalog is interesting: The first 122 pages are full of models with no clothes on. Somehow the logic of this is escaping me, since A&F is supposed to be selling clothes. Trust me, there isn't a pant leg in sight.

The catalog is so explicit that the attorney general of Illinois has called for a nationwide boycott of Abercrombie and Fitch. The company responded by putting the catalog in cellophane paper. That'll do it.

The question is: Why did A&F put out a catalog like this? The answer is that the company knows many American kids are now used to seeing sexual situations and, indeed, enjoy seeing them. This display will get passed around a lot of homerooms.

No good can come from adult society's assault on childhood. America doesn't need sexually active 13-year-olds. We don't need a bunch of children asking Santa Claus for satin sheets.

Clear-thinking Americans need to begin speaking out against sexual intrusion and the vanishing innocence of our children. We need to begin taking names and withholding our dollars from corrupting companies.

Enough is enough. Heather doesn't need two mommies. Heather needs a childhood.

JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of the new book, The O'Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad, and The Completely Ridiculous in American Life. Comments by clicking here.


07/02/01: What would have happened if Steven Spielberg had recut "Schindler's List" for German audiences so they wouldn't be confronted with "emotional issues"?
06/25/01: Freak dancing
06/18/01: Work or die
06/11/01: Soundbite nation
06/04/01: Paying through the nose
05/29/01: Graduation Day 2001
05/21/01: Accepting the unacceptable
05/14/01: The Clinton legacy
05/07/01: Kerrey's ordeal
04/27/01: Is the party over?
04/20/01: Racism in public education
04/16/01: The fleecing of America
04/10/01: People who need perspective
04/03/01: Dubya's bottom line --- and ours
03/27/01: Don't tell, don't ask
03/20/01: Greenspan with envy
03/13/01: Clinton and Jackson
03/07/01: All that's left in America
02/27/01: The Letterman experience
02/20/01: Bread and circuses
02/06/01: How the Clintons do it
01/30/01: The Bush dilemma
01/24/01: I have been investigating Jackson's finances for the past two years
01/17/01: Sifting Ashcroft's record

© 2001 Creators Syndicate