Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Sexploitation by Cindy Pierce
Bibliomotion Inc.: 10/13/15
eBook review copy, 240 pages
ISBN-13: 9781629560892

Sexploitation by Cindy Pierce is a highly recommended look at how the current generation of young people is influenced by the porn culture surrounding them.  Teens, as well as much younger children, today have a vast amount of junk/porn grabbing for their attention via the internet and social media. The overriding problem is that in this hyper-connected age in which we live our children are often failing to establish a healthy, well-grounded view of sex and relationships.

The book has the following chapters: 1. Inner Compass; 2. Umplugging; 3. Porn Culture: 4. Sexuality Education for Young Kids; 5. Sexuality Education for Older Kids and teens; 6. Worthy Girls; 7. Empowering Girls; 8. Worthy Boys; 9. Setting Boys Free; 10. A Hookup Culture Fueled by Alcohol; 11. Moving Beyond Hookups. This is followed by a conclusion, and much to my delight, references, and an index.

Pierce points out that "Unfortunately, the number and type of influences young people are managing in the digital age make it more challenging for them to listen to their inner compass. Many young people have a hard time making the distinction between what they value and what they think they should value, based on what they see online and in social media." All of us are complicated, multidimensional beings with flaws. One of the problems is that the prevalence of social media as a way for kids to communicate with each other presents them with a bad venue for an accurate portrayal. Parents make a horrible mistake when they surrender to their kids obsession with screen time. It was pointed out that teens should think of what they "put out online as a tattoo. It is that permanent." Wise advice for everyone.

Just look at how everyone, but especially teens, looks at their phone all the time now. If one person pulls out their phone, everyone does. It has become how kids (and increasingly adults) interact with each other instead of face to face. This is a mistake of vast proportions. Social media cannot capture subtle body language, irony, joking. Small things can be blown out of proportion. Inappropriate pictures or conversations can be started and shared. Pierce points out that she and her husband have a rule that computers and phones stay downstairs and out of the kids’ rooms. It is a practice that has been recommendation by their school and many other parents also employ it.

Pierce notes that "These days, kids are constantly being reminded to avoid bystander apathy. Parents, educators, and coaches talk to them about how they should stand up to bullying, hazing, homophobia, racism, and cruelty. But it’s unrealistic to expect most kids to immediately muster the strength and risk social rejection by calling peers out. They need practice speaking up on small issues (litter, disrespectful language, meanness, intimidation) in material; order to develop the courage to stand up when the stakes are higher (sexual assault, hazing, DUI)." Isn't that the truth!

While porn is often found, and easily accessible, online, it is also in advertisements, music videos, and video games. the prevalence of pornographic images has desensitized us as a society. "Porn can be an obstacle that prevents kids from developing healthy ideas about sex for a number of reasons: while porn objectifies both men and women, most of what is viewed degrades women, reinforces role expectations, desensitizes the viewer to violent sexual behavior, creates expectations about how bodies appear and respond, and skews overall sexual expectations. Rather than trying to stop the porn industry, my aim is to material; inspire parents to have open conversations with their kids about porn."

Pierce covers information vital for parents to open up the discussion about sexuality with girls and boys. She does a nice job of discussing ways to keep communication open and how to approach the first "talk," which should be followed by many more as children grow and mature. She shares lots of research findings as well as personal stories and anecdotes while getting a vital message across.

While, as the parent of adult children, I didn't quite agree with every single thing Pierce shared, she did present some startling facts and plenty of good, practical information. This book is easy to read and well organized so the chapters flow nicely and logically from one topic to the next. It does not present any morale-based ideas or religious views that some families would also consider a vital part of any life-training talks. I'd highly recommend it.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Bibliomotion for review purposes.

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