“America the Beautiful 3 – The Sexualization of Our Youth” is part of a trilogy of documentaries from the “America the Beautiful” series by Darryl Roberts. Daring, thought-provoking work along the same lines as this blog, I’m blessed for being in the right place at the right time and his message and visions further unexpectedly inspired Beginning Life at 43.
It is no coincidence that I knew nothing about what I was going to see when Sharon invited me to a movie Friday. I needed a girls night out instead of my regular night with my babygirl and I got a babysitting break and I took it. Sadly we were late anyways due to life and when we got there the free show was packed. We stood around the movie lobby/concession area waiting for Sharon’s daughter and her friend to get there from school so I decided to ask around about why. The theater staff directed me to this man in a suit with a microphone in hand and 2 young people saying they were “in charge” and to ask them.
I asked microphone man what happened and he kindly explained they overbook in case people don’t show. We talked a bit and then he invited us to another of the limited showings. He then went and bought the tickets for us (and we didn’t even tell him how poor we are). I mentioned I previously looked the movie up after this gesture (in my last new post) and realized the director was the one who bought our tickets. But what I’d discover by watching the film was that he also created and starred in it and this isn’t his first documentary – he has 4 others. All in the name of helping people helping our youth and educating our world. While taken aback by his efforts to get our tickets I knew that yes this is what we must do now. So Sunday at 1 PM I got to Sharon’s and she I and the mini crazy broads arrived at movie house with 10 minutes to curtain.
This movie opens with a speech by Barak on our responsibility to our youth. Then we see images from commerials to tv and the internet of young girls and children dressed way to sexual, ranging from Toddlers and Tiaras to Miley Cyrus and beyond. Next our narrator Darryl (the director) sitting at his computer as a humble man asking real honest questions as to what we are looking at and why are we looking at it. The answers are hauntingly sick.
Not only does he get it but he’s teaching me things even I didn’t know. For the next 1-1/2 hours I got of some of the best education ever received on the growing sexualization of teens, preteens and now children and how severely numb we’ve become as a result of the money-driven media. It was a humble, thoughtful, scary, shocking, revealing raw truth that even the best of us suffer from. We are being brainwashed and desensitized by the media and it is deeply screwing our kids up. This is not some religious or conservative trick to get you to maintain abstinence. This is an everyday man trying to get the world to get real because if not our children are going to be so messed up. He even has scientific facts about how damaging not waiting and practicing basic dating habits have on our minds as youth. Its unreal how screwed up we really are. Even I am guilty of the some of the “sexualization” crimes we are hypnotized into, that are hurting our children in a way we cannot even imagine would. It was a lesson I was not only grateful to learn, but amazed I was sitting there with two 15-year-old young women (the real targets of this film). They not only got the message but were so thrilled to discuss their thoughts with us afterwords as I “interviewed” them.
The girls (hee hee even Sharon was having trouble waiting her turn) couldn’t wait to answer all my questions as to how each part of this movie made them think and feel and what they got out of it. Here are some of the messages we got throughout this movie:
Some of Autumn’s thoughts were, (15 and a 10th grader at a Chicago Academy) “it was very true, sad, scary but thoughtful, there were so many things she didn’t know and how riveting Cali’s story was (a central teen figure in the movie).” I liked that she saw what a girl like her can do. She saw someone like her with real life problems that took a huge company to town and won, all in an effort to fight bullying – something the company itself was doing inadvertently (they say). Her friend Martina, (also 15 and a 10th grader at a Chicago Academy) is a soft-spoken girl who ended up having powerful things to say about this film. She said that “the realism in the film made it so much easier to see the big picture,” and that “she has more confidence in the world than she thought as a result of this film.” The most powerful thing this quiet girl said was that “sometimes things aren’t okay and sometimes you do need to speak up.” Sharon, as a mom viewing this film, learned so much and is working diligently in her ways to continue to spread the word about this movie. It was an even greater ride home “interviewing” them and I feel closer to these three wonderful girls than ever. That is a feeling of accomplishment like I cannot describe.
This is a movie everyone in America needs to watch and then take action against the media or face an even sicker future. I don’t say any of this lightly. It is traveling across the country night now, so I hope you look up this movie and find a showing in your town and take time to view it. Even more I hope you invite a young person, male or female, and enjoy, discuss and learn together with it. Darryl I am humbled by your kindness, vision and passion. Thanks for a great afternoon and message that will never be forgotten.
Love, Encouragement and Blessings,