Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus's SEXY BABY


Documentarians Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus’s ” Sexy Baby”, takes a tough look at the obsession with sexuality fueled by social media and Internet sites. A flood of sexting, and easy access to porn sites, unimaginable a decade ago creates an uncontrollable arena for parents and children alike.

“‘Sexy Baby’” portrays of the 21st century sexualized pop culture, through the eyes of three characters: 12-14 year old Winifred, a child of divorce, lives her life on Facebook. Her parents have deactivated her account repeatedly. The first time we meet her, at 12, she’s savvy about feminists, protesting the age of celebrity with her acting troupe. But two more years of online assault and peer pressure and Winifred is in conflict about her self-esteem and in opposition to her parents, who scramble to find a compromise between free and denied internet access. She posts seductive poses, aping pops-stars online. She just can’t resist.

Winifred, and her five-year old little sister pose like sex-upped popstars.  Her sister performs “Teach Me How to Dougie,” full of f-words.   We’ve seen this before but it’s still disturbing.

Beautiful, 20-something elementary school teacher Laura is convinced she’s suffering from a “deformity”, suffers nightmares, and has saved enough for a cosmetic Labiaplasty. She suffers nightmares about her “deformity.”

This increasingly popular surgery, on the leading age of the cosmetic surgery’s assault on self-image, “corrects” the normal hanging labia minora, normally asymmetrical, enlarged from childbirth or the questionable diagnosis of “labial hypertrophy.”  After all, if peer pressure leads to waxing the area, who wouldn’t want to “Beautify” the revealed organ. Or so many women are beginning to think.

Bauer and Ronna Gradus’ point out that close ups of Labia in porn, more accessible to young women than ever before, has incited some of these concerns. Laura explains that men’s ideas of how vaginas should look are formed from years of porn viewing. Decades of young men have never seen pubic hair. They see petite, shaved and accessible vaginas; with all the echoes of pedophilia that the image conjures.

32-year-old stripper/porn film actress turned pole dance teacher, Nicole, married to a Porn film actor plans to start a family, but they face infertility issues. Nicole details the effect of online porn on people’s sexlife, as S & M ideas and images cross over from Porn films to everyday life.

How far we’ve travelled from the early years of feminism. Women and now girls portray and sell themselves online on social media sites like Facebook. The seductive poses, once the province of Exotic dancers and Adult film actresses, sold to young girls by popstars like Madonna and all her many followers, have become the staple, even the norm of large sectors of modern society. One thing is clear, there is nothing parents can do.


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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