Watching “Sexy Baby”: a Movie Documentary

“We are constantly amazed at the challenges girls are presented with today. When we were growing up things just didn’t seem as complicated. With the Internet and social media bringing sex and sexual content right into our homes, we have often wondered what the impact is on young girls and women today. The new feature documentary film, Sexy Baby, gives us an inside look into the new cultural shift taking a hold of America. Intimate, candid conversations and personal storytellingng expose this new reality. It is shocking and disturbing, but also a wake up call”.
(from http://www.womenyoushouldknow.net/sexy-baby-sexiness-the-c…/)

This is another brilliant (although a bit painful to watch I must admit…) 2012’s movie documentary from co-directors Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus (the same directors of the recent Hot Girls Wanted), available in full format from You Tube.

After a powerful intro consisting of a fast-paced collage of images and clips cuts from popular media /news effectively depicting the sexual saturation of today’s mass media, the movie documentary starts with some young girls watching Lady Gaga in her sexually provoking “Poker Face” video while imitating her moves – a familiar sight for most people these days – then the camera filmed what appear as a 5-6 years old girl giggling “Britney Bitch”, mimicking the famous Will i Am ‘s song.

The documentary follow the lives of 3 women (one of them is actually still a young girl just becoming teenager): an ex porno-movies star who is trying to get pregnant, a 12 year old girl experimenting with her identity and a 22 year old who yearns for “normal” private parts.

What I’ve liked about this documentary is the non-judgemental way is filmed and the way it captures the reality of living in a media-saturated world.  I would have loved to see more racial diversity in it, but that’s about it. The documentary is available now to watch in different formats and, considered its sexually-explicit nature, the authors have produced an edited educational version aimed to a younger audience for its screening into schools (which I’d be really keen to show to the girls taking part in my offline projects).

Sexy Baby is the first documentary film to put faces to a seismic cultural shift: the cyber age is creating a new sexual landscape. While doing research for the film, we had intimate and candid conversations with kids in middle school classrooms, suburban shopping malls, nightclubs, college dorms, and even conducted an informal roundtable during a high school house party. While chronicling trends among small town and big city kids, we discovered this: Having pubic hair is considered unattractive and “gross.” Most youngsters know someone who has emailed or texted a naked photo of themselves. Many kids have accidentally or intentionally had their first introduction to sex be via hardcore online porn. Facebook has created an arena where kids compete to be “liked” and constantly worry about what image to portray – much of what was once private is now made public. And the list goes on… –– (C) Sexy Baby Official Site

“We are the first generation to have what we have, so there is no one before us that can… kind of GUIDE US…I mean we are the PIONEERS” says Winnifred – a 12-year-old girl from New York.

What Winnifred says reflects the thinking of many other kids: they often feel that they live in a world which adults can’t understand fully. They are suspicious of our judgements and our perspective on things because after all we grown up in a completely different era, where computers, internet and social media were not around, so – in their view – how can we possibly guide them through this new sexual landscape? As parents and educators, perhaps we should ask ourselves: how much do we truly know about this new world and about our children’s world?

23 thoughts on “Watching “Sexy Baby”: a Movie Documentary

  1. I personally feel this conversation and website should have happened already a generation ago. Kids from the last generation have grown up with this same sexual culture and are now grown adults with kids of their own. They are allowing their own children to watch these music videos and copy them, and even filming it, thinking it is cute. They were allowed to watch R rated movies so they let their own kids watch them. Now these children will grow up, have kids and repeat the process. Film makers and authors know that sex sells so they pack it into every situation they can. To stop the cycle we will have to educate ourselves and stop supporting this “new sexual landscape”.

    • That’s a great point, Kelly. At 24, I’m old enough to have experience with this new technological age, and its faults, and young enough to still understand the struggle of some of the teens and kids. I’ve definitely had some talks with my younger sister (18) about how sex is portrayed in the media today and, especially growing up in a conservative rural area, unfortunately she didn’t receive as great of an education as she should have in that area.

      I do believe that the best way to combat so much of the issues surrounding sex culture is education, education, education. If only we had standards of sex education to teach to these kids, it would decrease so much of the stigma and seductive “danger” that can make it so appealing.

  2. ““We are the first generation to have what we have, so there is no one before us that can… kind of GUIDE US…I mean we are the PIONEERS” says Winnifred – a 12-year-old girl from New York.”
    So true. I can’t image what it would feel like to be a young girl and have to worry about creating my image on Facebook and other social media. It’s an advanced form of marketing but they are marketing themselves before they really know who they are!! Children this age learn by emulating from other social media and what they see on “reality” TV.

  3. It is very alarming the way the new generation is evolving, but these are the results of our negligence. We, as adults and parents to those kids, teens and young adults, are responsible to talk to them about social media, sexuality, body image. The media wouldn’t not have that much power over our young population if we were doing our job, and prepare them to face that sexually charged, marketing world we created for them, no?
    Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that media and social media don’t have their parts in shaping our youth, but that maybe is the problem! When you watch TV or go to the movies, chose age appropriate ones, talk openly and without taboo about sensitive subjects and TV reality behaviors that you judge unsuitable for your children. We have to face reality, but not be defeated and take on the challenge! Our youngsters deserve it.

  4. From the few scenes of the film that I have seen, I immediately felt the punch in the face, concerning the amount of sex and all the sexual content this world directly throws at young girls. They grow up having rotten idols and living in a society that has sexualized everything and it seems that they have to fight through this all alone, because, not only the parents haven’t been through this exact or similar phase in their lives, but also because all the grown ups are too busy working!

    I come from a village in Cyprus -a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea- and every day I see my little sister -she’s 19 now- staying up late at night updating her Facebook and commenting and monitoring her Likes and all I can think of is how greater the problem should be in countries like the USA. It’s frightening!

    These girls live their lives through the internet, in a constant war regarding the image everyone shows to the outside. Nobody seems to care about the inner beauty, knowledge, character and “civilization” of oneself. We must provide them with mature advice, or else things look very dim for this young generation.

  5. Adults do not know what it’s like to grow up today. A lot of them barely know how to use their smart phone so of course they don’t understand Facebook, Twitter or all other other social media sites that are coming more and more popular. We didn’t have the technology kids have today and all the new added pressure that comes along with it. The only way that adults will be able to help their children out with this, is if they learn hands on and see what it’s all about. Until then kids know they don’t know anything about it so they won’t listen to them. It’s kind of a shame.

    • I grew up with technology handicapped parents. Being 25 I’m within the era of MySpace, chat rooms and of course Facebook. I’m not a parent myself but looking from the outside in I’ve seen a few different parent-child relationships to compare to my own. I’ve seen the parents that coddled their children, kept them from anything doom and gloom. I’ve seen the parents that always strived to be cool and popular pass that stigma on. Then there is me. Given my parents didn’t have the pressures of social media as I did they took a different approach. I was allowed to have access to the internet and social networks, often unfiltered and without regulation. However, my parents instilled in me what they knew. Two key lessons among many: confidence without the need for approval and humiliation. That may sound harsh but through teaching dignity and respect – a child will know what is right and wrong. My point is, parents have resulted to letting their children feel misunderstood. They’ve given up in my mind. They no longer run their households by rules, chores and good old fashioned honesty. Everything is tip toed around and vague. As the adult it’s their responsibility to shape and mold the young person. They can’t throw them to the wolves and hope for the best. It shouldn’t matter what era the children have grown up in. They shouldn’t have the crutch to claim they’re “misunderstood.” They need an adult with a good sense of direction to point them in the right direction.

      • I definitely agree with you. Parents need to instill values in their children from very early on, before the appeal of these social media. Additionally, they need to keep up with the technology and learn all they can about it, in order to identify potential issues. My parents are practically technologically illiterate but they instilled in me from very on the values that prevented me from falling prey to these issues. I was in my late teens when the internet really burst on the scene for everyone and I’m so thankful that my self-worth was already shaped and I didn’t need to seek acceptance externally.

  6. First of all I want to thank the writer for providing the information about this movie. If it wasn’t for this webpage, I would have never understood that such movie existed.
    I am a teacher and I work with a lot of children. I can see that some of them are really affected buy our modern sexual reality, here in Bulgaria. Nevertheless I also see a great number of kids that are more than appalled from this overexposed sexuality all around them.
    What I am trying to say here really is that all these pictures and all the porn in the movies and the music clips are just something that is part of our lives. It’s up to the parents and the teachers to create an attitude in the kids towards this new world. The problem with the sex today is the same as the problem with the guns and the drugs when I was a kid. It’s all in the attitude that the parents engrave in their kids.

  7. I’m 22, so I feel like I sit in between the young girls this movie is concerned with and the parents who fear they are out of touch or are believed to be out of touch. As many of the other commenters sentiments have shared, adults generally don’t understand the internet age, but I don’t think that discredits their understanding of the over-sexualization of women. Just think of the way women have been objectified and withheld from the workforce. Think of the sexualizing and degrading nature of the Woman at Home. Black women have been over-sexualized for much longer than white women and that was previous to the Internet and onset of computers and social media. I look forward to watching this documentary, but I am wary of the lack of diversity that is mentioned. We are dealing with a contrast of openness and eagerness for sexualization with the previous hidden, only-at-home, when-the-wife-is-away from previous generations (of course, I notice that is a male-perspective and that is done intentionally; there is at least more choice for the woman now but still not much). But for black women, it has never been hidden, and it is only getting worse as white women are further victimized and black women are disregarded. This is a pertinent problem of media, and we must address it as we consider the openness of sexualization.

    • Just to clarify I’m thinking of things like Amy Schumer’s “Milk Milk Lemonade” skit that mocked the emphasis of rap videos on butts but which is something that has been thought of as a reclaiming of sorts by black women. I’m also thinking of, more deeply, the overlooked and often silenced discussion of the rape and sexual harassment of black slaves and the degradation of black bodies that has been occurring since the internalized slave trade. I know this is a bit deep and painful to go back to, but it still affects society today (hence, the creation of #blacklivesmatter and the new Jim Crow through mass incarceration). We can’t keep dismissing the black female body’s importance in these issues.

    • Hi Emily. I agree with you. It seems to me that we live in a world of contrasts. While some time ago women were almost a-sexual creatures they were unhappy and they blamed the society. Afterwards they wanted to become equal with men. They became so masculine so overexposed, they started showing men what they cannot live without and at the same time they tried to show men that women CAN live without men. I think that this leaded to the overexposed and exaggerated sexuality of women now. We brought this to ourselves girls. We wanted men to see us as equal and we used sex to make this happen in one way or another and now this is coming back at us to bite our sexy a**es.

      I believe that the only way to overcome this is teaching children the values of a good person.

  8. I was only able to view a trailer of this documentary because YouTube deemed it “blocked” in my country due to its content. That alone should be a wake up call. Great, even the real world is too explicit for U.S. YouTube! Wow! I can only assume that this documentary portrays a very scary reality – unfiltered and rough around the edges. It breaks my heart to see girls become sexually active younger, mothers sooner and adults at such a young age. There is no longer innocence or a strong sense of self.

    I feel it’s a vicious cycle. These girls have learned these erroneous ways from the women before them. They are taught to embody physical perfection without first looking within. Everything is only skin deep these days. The only emotion tied to this sexually hyper world is that of remorse. Because somehow, somewhere – deep down, every girl knows….life, love and healthy relationships shouldn’t be this difficult. Naturally we know things have strayed much too far from previously simple ideals.

    For the generations before me, after me and everything in between, I can only hope for self love and confidence. Because the reality is, they’re slowly dying in this mess of a society.

  9. I think it’s such a hard task. On one hand, the answer seems to be for parents to simply refuse their kids access to these technologies. Block facebook and all other social media, monitor closely what they are doing. On the other hand, doing so is a big disadvantage to the kids. They will technologically be behind, not to mention will be automatic targets towards their “tween” peers anyways for simply not having social media accounts. And in the end, younger kids are becoming more tech-saavy than their parents – which means they’re getting better and better at bypassing parental blocks and hiding what they’re really doing online!

    I say this as someone who is still fairly young (mid-20s) – it scares me how all-consumed my generation (and the younger ones) is with online. I hang out with my peers, their noses are buried in their phones! We try to do stuff together, the whole time they are taking selfies of themselves to post to Instagram instead of being in the moment and enjoying what’s in front of them! They are way too concerned with how they’re being perceived online rather than their actual life. A popular online saying is, “Pictures, or it didn’t happen.” I think that’s really sad. 🙁

    And on the topic of beauty, we can also see those changes…people used to apply makeup to enhance their features, to appear better to their friends,family, strangers on the street. Now? That’s a secondary thought. Women (and men) now cake on makeup and it’s all about how it will photograph the best. Even one of my friends said to me a few months ago, “When I go to parties now, I apply my makeup specifically for how it’s going to look in photos. I don’t care how it looks in real life anymore. I don’t think anyone cares about that anymore.”

  10. I have recently watched the “Sexy Baby” documentary film, and I must say some of the things I was a little shocked by, but sadly most I expected. I grew up in the days of MySpace and when adult websites were just hitting the market, and got an early taste of uncensored content. I was caught multiple times by my parents viewing that content on the internet late at night or when “they weren’t looking” but they always found out. I was punished, told it was a bad thing to do, but yet I would still look at it because others my age were. It was becoming a “norm”.

    Young girls, I at an early age, were taught that you needed to look like the stars and models, and so myself, and my friends all experimented with indecent clothing choices, etc. However, I had wished now that I hadn’t been so exposed at an early age…or ever. I believe it has made it hard for me to be TRUE with myself and be confident in my marriage, because I’m always worried that I’m not going to do something right to please my man. It’s a daily battle, to be confident and to not conform to desires of the world, and the “expectations” of magazines.

    I really appreciate this article and the documentary. So many people can relate to it.

  11. Thanks for an informative article about this documentary. This day in age it’s not surprising that young girls are seeing more and more sexually explicit content. I myself have come across hard-core pornography completely by accident on my own social media accounts, three times in the past year. And yet, I know parents who are letting their 9 and 10 year-old girls have Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. To me, it’s irresponsible for parents to not monitor their children’s activities on their phones or tablets, because I know what I myself have seen. I tend to be a bit over protective with my children, and do not plan to give them free access to the internet or social media any time soon (the oldest is 9), for the reasons within this review. in fact, my 9 year-old is begging for a phone and an Instagram account, and I told her she can have a phone when she’s old enough to have a job and pay for it herself. I *hope* that by that age she’ll be mature enough to filter content on her devices responsibly. But until then, I will be very mindful of her activities online, and we already have a rule in place that all tablets, phones, laptops, etc are kept and used downstairs in common areas of the house only. It’s horrifying that girls are desensitized to sexual images and internet content at so young.

  12. I was born in ’93, so I feel like I was kind of in a “bridge” period. In the blink of an eye, our society went from feel good family shows on TV and dialup internet to inappropriate reality shows and the world wide web at our fingertips. I definitely think that the internet has aided in the desensitization of sex and sexuality. That kind of content is so easily accessible now that its just common place. The guidelines for what is appropriate in terms of explicit content has gotten way more lax even since the 90s. I remember the first time I heard a few choice cuss words on a TV show. I was horrified. Now you’ve got movies with sex scenes rated PG because now all that’s just no big deal. It’s so disappointing that this is what our generation will be associated with.

  13. I have witnessed an elevation in the sexual exploitation of young people over the last decade or so.
    But to me, it’s really been there all along. Sort of like the “boiling frog” scenario. It started out soft, but as our minds have come to accept new realities and thought suggestions over time, we hadn’t noticed just how loud things had gotten until they started screaming.

    This is what’s happening now.

    I gave up watching television last year, but I have noticed over time a shift in what’s considered acceptable material. Back when NYPD Blue was aired, there were scenes of the actors engaging in explicit sex scenes with nudity. This was 20 years ago – so it’s no wonder we’ve come to see this as “normal” now.

    Kids aren’t stupid though. They just don’t know how to lead themselves yet. If the adults in their lives don’t guide them by communicating openly and without judgment, they’ll eventually turn away from their real feelings and do whatever they can to blend in. It creates an inner-war – and they spend their lives fighting with themselves over how they really feel vs. what seems normal, but out of alignment with their true feelings.

    Sex is a natural and beautiful part of the human experience, but it can turn ugly depending on the level of consciousness of the individual. I think kids need to be properly educated about sex and how it can be a normal part of our lives. Direct guidance in regard to self-esteem, self-respect, dignity and grace also need to be addressed though – and the relationship between the two should be highlighted.

    Asking them “what kind of person do you want to be?” isn’t something that comes up often. Instead, we’ve all (regardless of our generation) been raised in accordance of what everyone else around us was doing, especially when it came to the suggestions made in the media.
    It also helps for kids to have positive role models…so in my opinion, the parents (and the parents of their friends) also need to be aware where they stand on things, how they present themselves to their kids and if there is a genuine and open line of communication.

    I believe the idea is to point out what’s out there in the world, ask kids how it makes them feel, who they’d like to be and then teach/encourage them to get in touch with their intuition and allow this to direct their choices.

    When we “know thyself”, especially from an early age, we can observe our environment without necessarily becoming a walking emotional reaction to it.

  14. I can recall having similar topics that Winifred is dealing with current day but in 1999 or 2000… I was roughly her age then, and I definitely saw way more than I’d like to admit, enough to mortify my parents. I was super curious about sex, but not necessarily for the sex or the pornography I stumbled upon, I was really trying to do my own research on the female body and sexuality. Obviously the internet is not the best place for a young teenager to learn about sexuality, but I wasn’t learning about it from anywhere else.

    This isn’t new. And somehow, it’s totally new. Today’s parents try to be strict or responsible, but they’re shutting their kids out and not reflecting on what might actually be going on. Although I had the same experience 15 years ago, Winifred is totally right, her generation are pioneers. Because people my age have waded through all the garbage that was there when we were growing up, but there’s a totally new pile to go through.

    I think I identified most with Winifred immediately while watching the trailer, because those were my experiences. I haven’t personally heard of a girl or woman who wanted or got labiaplasty, but I hear nasty comments from guys (and gals) regularly about the way a woman’s body might be, whether it’s a joke or in disgust. There is zero acceptance, at least on a public scale. There’s a lot that we (women in society) need, sooner than later, mainly body acceptance, our own views on sexuality and sex work. Individually I know many women who are becoming more positive and accepting, and hopefully they can inspire others to do the same.

  15. Wow. Just the trailer alone is enough to keep me up at night. I’m sure I will soon have to watch the full length film. It’s so sad where our world is at today. Sex sells. It has become COMPLETELY normal and even expected for young teenagers to be sexually active. It’s glorified in the media with television shows (Teen Mom), movies, songs and music videos, ads, etc. etc. I am in my 30s now, so things were obviously different when I was a teen (we didn’t have cell phones or digital cameras- we had to send our film off to be developed!!). I can’t imagine having sent a naked photo or a dirty text to anyone. It’s just crazy for me to think that most young people have either done this or know someone who has. Today’s media has made it so simple for young, naive, curious kids to “discover” their sexuality, when in reality they are just learning the way they feel they are supposed to be acting. They can view porn on the computer and suddenly think that sex is always expected to be like that. They watch movies and TV shows about getting pregnant and suddenly they feel it’s OK if it happens. I work with teenagers on a daily basis and it saddens me to see the pressure to conform. With social media especially, there are so many ways a teen can be led to making wrong decisions. There will always be peer pressure, but I definitely feel kids today have it worse than we did even a decade or two ago. I feel EDUCATION is the key!! Show teens this movie! Have actual sex education in the schools. Don’t sugar coat things- teach them the importance of respecting their bodies. Promote more positive self images of strong and independent women. Teach our boys about respecting women. I feel it really is a war, and if we don’t stand up and fight, this issue is going to get even more out of control. Thank you for posting this article and shedding light on such a serious issue.

  16. I complete understand what you mean. My parents does not know exactly what’s it like to use social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter and they would always lecture me about the dangers of it when they never even used it. I know they only want what’s good for me but it’s hard to explain to them how it can also help me enjoy my teenage life and protect my dignity at the same time if they’re not using it.

  17. I’m 16 so I grew up with these digital things, and it feels like my parents don’t have the same understanding as I do of the social media. Lets take facebook for example, my parents and most adult only have their friends on facebook and they dont bother with all of these facebook groups and site posts. I do see all these things and I’m not suprised that it has a big impact on how we treat each other and how we feel as an individual. I also think that education is the key, but in a way that adults and teenagers can learn from each other what they know and how things are.

  18. I feel like in order to have girls who accept themselves, the parents should be teaching them self-love. You will never be happy until you learn to start accepting yourself just as you are. From 13 till I was 23, I refused to leave the house without make-up on. I hated being seen without my “mask” up. As I started to get older, I wore it less and less and now I only use a bit of lipstick when I was to add some color. That is it. If I do my make-up now, I actually feel ugly. I am glad I realized this while I was still young. We get tricked into thinking we need a mask to hide who we are and then one day we wake up and don’t even know ourselves. I am sorry for all the girls who have to grow up in this but I think parents need to take a stand, now more than ever, and SHOW their young girls (and even boys) they are loved. Don’t just say it. Lead by example too! Show them how you have respect for your body and how you are happy just as you are. Girls who grow up questioning their parents will have a hard time believing someone else loves them or accepts them for who they are.

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