Have you head of this new hit show from the CW? I heard about "The L.A. Complex" at Target this week when I was standing in line behind a few girls that looked to be about 13 or 14 years old. Their discussion was very animated, and it was clear that the show was one of their new obsessions. Later, when I watched a few sample segments from the show, I discovered gratuitous sex, explicit language, some violence and a number of situations that I would call unsuitable for children.
In the latest episodes, Alicia, who has been working as a stripper and dancer, agrees to make a sex tape with an actor whose star has been fading. When her friend Nick goes online to masturbate to some pornography, he stumbles across the sex tape and confronts Alicia. Their dialogue goes something like this:
Alicia: “This is going to open a lot of doors for me. It’s just sex!”
Nick: “What doors? You don’t want to walk through those doors!”
Alicia: “Look, the best part about it is that they’ve identified me… people will actually know my name now… besides, name one person that hasn’t benefitted from a sex tape!”
As the latest episode continues, Alicia isn’t able to book dance gigs and doesn’t see the payday she was promised with the release and pending sale of the sex tape. She soon feels as though she has no other options than to sign a contract with Vivid Entertainment. It’s clear that it’s not what she wants, but it’s what she is willing to settle for. Her friend warns her that the industry will just use her up and throw her away, but she insists that she won’t do anything that she doesn’t want to do.
Isn’t Alicia’s story so similar to so many of our young girls today? Sadly, many of the young women I counsel have this perspective, that sex is “just sex”. It’s “no big deal” and “sex tapes can make you famous”. They want to be the next Kim Kardashian, and they are attracted to the allure of being desired and even memorializing their love affairs through digital means. Of course, as these girls go farther and farther down the path of giving their bodies away, they often feel isolated and begin to realize that the sexualized lifestyle portrayed in the movies, in music videos and promoted in much of our culture just sets them up to be used and thrown away.
If you’re a parent reading this today, I hope you have a conversation today with your daughter about how much she and her body matters. Help her to understand that she is a prize. If anyone ever starts pressuring her to send a sext message or watch pornography, tell her that you want her to come to you. If she has already started down that path and if she is feeling pressure to continue, let her know you want to help her to make wiser choices and that she always has a choice to leave that lifestyle in the past. Finally, I think it’s best not to let your kids watch this show (be aware they can watch full episodes online for free). As I mentioned earlier, this show is filled with extremely mature content, but, unfortunately, it’s being marketed to teenagers and tweens. If you do decide to allow your child to watch this content, then watch the show with them and debrief together.