Childhood is a time in one’s life characterized by sweet simplicity, innocence, and playfulness. However, as society progressively shifts into a culture where values and morals are based on social media and pop culture, children are increasingly likely to face exposure to more mature and adult-like content. Proponents of exposing kids to sexuality at a young age claim that it allows them to be comfortable with their maturing bodies and not feel the shame that comes along with sexual experimentation.
However, a more accurate view of that issue is that as society progressively shifts into a culture where values and morals are based on social media and pop culture, children begin to lose their innocence at a younger age similarly to the fictional children in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The children in Brave New World are encouraged to participate in erotic play; they are conditioned at a young age to stay away from emotional bonding and view everyone as their personal property.
To many-imagining the world where children are encouraged to engage their peers sexually is quite sickening, but with the way society is headed, it does not seem to deviate from today’s norms. As society evolves and children become more influenced by celebrities and social media to act and look a certain way, children grow up faster possess twisted morals.
It is said that sex is a highly pervasive theme in American culture as television commercials and programs regularly show sexualized images of men’s and women’s bodies with the insinuation that these visually desirable people will fulfill the viewer’s’ fantasies (“Introduction to Teenage Sexuality’). Teaching lessons of this nature to children teaches them to follow their superficial desires instead of personal connections. Pop culture in today’s society has progressively portrayed sex as casual, guilt-free activity and turned into an “ultimate goal” of every date or relationship (Introduction to Teenage Sexuality).
Teens and adults who continually see these portrayals of sexual encounters may come to believe that engaging in promiscuous and premarital sex is normal and expected behavior” (“Introduction to Teenage Sexuality. “). These lessons are seen in Brave New World through movies that people go to call the “feelies”. The “feelies” are not only experienced through sight and sound but also through touch. The feeling of touch is transferred to the viewer through metal knobs located on the armrests of the seats. The “feelies” exist in Brave New World to stimulate the feelings of sex without the emotional connection.
It’s something they do fairly often, for example, Henry Forester was stopped by the Assistant Predestinator, he says; “Going to the Feelies this evening, Henry? “… “I hear the new one at the Alhambra is first-rate. There’s a love scene on a bearskin rug; they say it’s marvelous. Every hair of the bear reproduced. The most amazing tactual effects… ” (Huxley 26). The main point of the “feelies” is to dehumanize the act of sex and to give people all the satisfaction without the emotional ties. Love, connection, innocence, and naiveness are words many today would consider words with a positive connotation.
However, the people in Brave New World would likely disagree. Monogamous relationships where two people are exclusive to one another romantically are a major part of what makes us human beings. In Brave New World, the relationship between sex and love or any emotion has been removed. Not only has the idea of romantic love between two people been destroyed, but also the tender love is seen outside of romantic relationships. This love includes a paramount aspect of today’s society, family life. The students in Brave New World have been conditioned to blush at even just the mention of the word parent.
That being said, references to things like sexual reproduction, for example, mother and father are now considered immoral and offensive. Only are those words ever used in clinical discussions to express their extreme disgust for concepts so taboo. Despite the many downfalls seen as a result of such teachings, there are also some positives that could be argued from these lessons. Because the children and people in Brave New World do not ever become involved or attached to others, they never have to worry about suffering from loss or heartbreak.
Love may be considered an intense feeling of deep affection that many long for, however, with love, comes heartbreak and heartbreak bring immense depression. Depression and sadness are basic human emotions, but in Brave New World, they are entirely unheard. When sad, children are given a drug called Soma which makes them happy, Soma and happiness are all they have ever known so what they do not know will not hurt them. The children will never experience true love or emotional connection, so they will never understand the sentimentality of having a mother and being in a family.
They have technology to stimulate those feelings for them artificially. Ethics and the understanding of right and wrong are entirely different in Brave New World as it is in society today. Falling in love is a sin and sex is a primary source of happiness. In our world today, it is the other way around, children are told to be exclusive and give themselves away only to those they love. The Brave New World views promiscuity as righteous and encourages not only adults to be promiscuous, but also children; this is because real love for one person would lead to obscene and grotesque passions.
In addition to romantic relationships, emotional relationships, such as family life would also interfere negativity with community and stability. Natural birth is nonexistent because children are grown and hatched from test tubes. Children grow up to believe the language of sexual promiscuity is normal and accepted, whereas the terms associated with family is repulsive and immoral. A child’s social well-being and upbringing are largely dependent upon where their parents live and the lessons that they teach them.
With that being said, without parents, the hildren in Brave New World do not get a learning environment. Instead, their destinies are predetermined from the time they are generated in their test tubes. This is unfortunate because the social environment a child is raised in is a significant determinant for whom children form social relationships with and the quality of those social relationships. “For both male and female youth, greater perceived peer risk involvement predicted higher sexual risk behavior index scores, and greater parental monitoring predicted lower scores.
Reciprocal relationships were found between parental monitoring and sexual risk behavior for males and between perceived peer risk involvement and sexual risk behavior for females” (Wang). This is seen in both the Brave New World and our world today, parental guidance shapes children and helps keep them out of trouble. “Families, especially parents, play a fundamental role in forming the values of children. The ability to cope with and adjust to life problems and demands is based upon the psychological foundations of early family experiences” (“Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences”).
This concept would explain why drugs like Soma are so popular in Brave New World; there is no natural source of happiness for people to obtain. “A study of college students found that the more positive the family experience, the more likely the students were to have a positive attitude and believed they were in control of their lives” (“Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences”). In this case, many may argue that parental influence is crucial to childhood development and without it, a huge chunk of human nature is missing.
On the other side of the argument, people who encourage exposing kids to sexuality at a young age claim that it allows them to be comfortable with their maturing bodies and not feel the shame that comes along with sexual experimentation. In society today, people have been much more open to progressive values when it comes to sexuality. Sex before marriage is no longer seen as such a forbidden action. It used to be taught that the only way to approach sex during teen years was to remain completely abstinent. Sex before marriage was taught to instill a “sense of shame and unworthiness after having been “used.
No one showed even a hint of sympathy for how she had suffered, not only at the hands of her captors, but at the hands of a degrading philosophy of human sexuality” (Alexander). On that side of the argument, Brave New World does do right by encouraging sexual behavior and providing their citizens with contraceptives and making sure they feel no shame. In conclusion, as society progressively shifts into a culture where values and morals are based on social media and pop culture, children are increasingly likely to face exposure to more mature and adult-like content the world as seen in Brave New World seems startlingly close in reach.
Proponents of exposing kids to sexuality at a young age may claim that it allows those children to be comfortable with their maturing bodies and not feel the shame that comes along with sexual experimentation. However it is more accurate to say that as society progressively shifts into a culture where values and morals are based on social media and pop culture, children begin to lose their innocence at a younger age similarly to the fictional children in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. This premature exposure causes them to lose out on simplicity, innocence, ness that characterizes one’s childhood.