“We’re like the first generation to have what we have, so there’s no one before us that can…guide us.” – Winnifred, 13 years old
Sexy Baby, a documentary about modern culture’s ability to shape and impact a societal worldview, is a fascinating film. The subject matter follows three women with no relation to each other by finely presenting how living in a sex-saturated culture and the Internet age plays a role in molding the views of various age groups in regards to sexuality, attractiveness, self-image, and monogamous relationships (or lack there of).
Seen from the eyes of Winnifred, a 13 year old girl growing up in New York City, Laura, a 22 year old girl from North Carolina, and Nichole, a former porn star who is now married and hoping to have children, the film candidly expresses the infiltration of hyper-sexualization in entertainment. The women involved speak of the pressure to post suggestive photos on Facebook in hopes to obtain attention, and porn’s accessibility and influence on those who purposefully or unintentionally stumble upon it. It was interesting to learn the perspectives of three individuals of different backgrounds who have been impacted by the cunning ways of media to form the way we view and relate to others, see relationships, and express our sexuality.
Winnifred insightfully noted,
“Your Facebook profile is not necessarily who you are, it’s more like who you want to be…We make ourselves seem like we’re up for anything. In a way, all this Internet stuff kind of traps you. You’ve started an alter ego that has to be maintained and has to be real in a way, so it does kind of shape how you end up and how you actually are in real life.”
Nichole’s husband, Dave, observed,
“Nowadays, the limits are pushed a lot further [compared to the late 90s]…There’s things that the people are doing in movies now that they wouldn’t have thought about 10/15 years ago. I would assume that kids are having sex a lot younger now. It’s in their face a lot more…”
Laura considered getting plastic surgery for two years before saving enough money to get it, even working two jobs so she could afford it. She got the idea after becoming self-conscious over comments made by her first serious boyfriend who thought there was a problem with her body because it didn’t look like the women in pornography. Laura mentioned that knowing she will be getting the surgery makes her feel happier and more motivated to do the things she would like to accomplish. Out of all forces to fuel self-esteem, Laura looked to the airbrushed unrealistic fantasy world of porn and felt compelled to get plastic surgery (this would apply to any form of plastic surgery) in order to feel secure in her identity for future interactions with men.
Jennifer Bonjean (Winnifred’s mother) said the following in regards to her daughter receiving Lady Gaga tickets for her 13th birthday,
“These girls and boys, they’re getting the same messages and influences across the spectrum and you can either be part of the conversation, be part of their thinking, or you can let them figure it out on their own. And I sort of would rather be part of the conversation and be part of the thinking. I get blown off a lot, but I do think it registers somewhere.”
A key component in raising healthy kids is to continually engage honest dialogue with discernment about the topic of sexuality. I feel this documentary displayed poor parenting and a lack of proper judgment in raising children. Although punishments were reinforced when outward behavior was poor or inappropriate, it failed to show how imperative it is for parents/guardians to monitor friend and entertainment choices as to equip youth to face a world of endless temptation.
I admired the independence and strong will of Winnifred in the film, but found it disturbing that she and her siblings were being raised without a solid Biblical foundation. The film showed aspects of her home life and how freely watching and listening to music of pop culture had already begun playing a significant role in the life of her four year old sister who is seen dancing provocatively and using terms inappropriate for a young child.
While the film, Sexy Baby, offers insight into how society and culture is being formed through pornography and the sexuality which is so pervasive all around us, it is written and filmed from a secular worldview and shows ideas contrary to Biblical sexuality and relationships. The film contains sexually explicit content throughout ranging from vulgar language and strip club performances to pornographic material and nudity. For those seeking to be free from pornography and the many counterparts of it in mainstream media, I would advise you to avoid seeing this film.
It is unfortunate the influence culture has had on so many aspects of our lives (regardless of age) in glorifying sexuality while dismissing the need for intelligence and productivity. As 13-year-old Winnifred stated at the film’s closing, “…I do want to change people’s lives, and I’m not going to do that by being sexy.”