Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Jessi Slaughter: Bad Parenting and The Sexualization of an 11 Year Old Girl

If you are unfamiliar with 11 year old Jessi Slaughter (aka Kerligirl13), then you could either count yourself lucky or blissfully unaware. I admit that I saw the tail end of this unfold on the internet last Thursday, and I almost wish I hadn't. I guess it is one of those things that has you seriously questioning our future if this child went so far for so long.

Jessi Slaughter is an 11 year old girl who damn near had the internet going nuts, attracted the ire of the guys and gals at 4Chan's /b/ board (something that you really don't want to do at 11 years old that's for sure) and Tumblr and fed the internet a Double Down-size of schadenfreude.

As Gawker (they also have the back story there) put it, "the internet beat up an 11 year old girl."  It wasn't pretty.  It looked an e-Mike Tyson fight when Iron Mike was in his prime, only that would've been akin to Mike beating up your mom. They literally went in on her.

To summarize, Jessi Slaughter is an 11 year old girl who had foul mouthed YouTube videos (like the one above; her account has been closed) and very foul, extremely vile posts with borderline child pornographic photos on her Tumblr account (which has also been closed).

This was enough (with the above video being the final nail in the coffin) apparently to put people over the edge, and all hell broke loose on Thursday resulting in this video with her father seemingly channeling the the Ultimate Warrior and the "Macho Man" Randy Savage on acid.  It also spawned the term and internet meme "You Done Goof'd/Ya Dun Goofed".  Notice that her mother is in the background spouting off at the mouth as well:

(Some say this breakdown of hers was also a ruse, with reports that she was talking about "publicity" on her Tumblr and Twitter).

Safe to say that her dad only made the situation worse, as they ridiculed her even more because of his antics and camwhoring (apple doesn't fall to far from the tree, eh?).  They never blame Jessi for her role in acting the ass.  

When I saw her YouTube videos, my jaw dropped. To say I was disgusted and appalled would be putting it lightly. In a sick twist, we found out the day before that our third child is going to be a girl, so this video made my brain hurt. How does this kind of thing happen? How does an 11 year old girl like Jessi Slaughter fall so far into depravity and promiscuity at such a young age?

In one Tumblr post, she talked about being a lesbian and making another little girl "squirt." I didn't even know that "Squirt" was anything other than a soda until a few years back. I was in my 20s, previously married and a mother, and I still wasn't privy to all the annals of sex and porn.
Th first answer that springs to mind is "bad parenting." After reading her mother Dianne Leonhardt's interview with Momlogic.com, "bad parenting" makes this fuckery look like Sunday School. "Bad parenting" doesn't even begin to explain what went wrong here. It oversimplifies it. 

We knew her father wasn't the most logical person on Earth, but all hope we had that mom would step in has been dashed. Her mother is in denial, and we get a picture that this child was spoiled. Not only that, but the mother has her head so deep into the sand, she's probably feeling the heat from the Earth's core right now.

She blames EVERYONE but her daughter, and she complains that her daughter was unable to watch television and had to wake up at 7:00 am when she was taken into custody over the weekend for her safety. Oh no! Waking up at 7:00 am? Take me now, God! 

Here's some insight courtesy of her mother:

          ml: As a mother, what have you learned from all of this?

DL: I am still trying to take this all in. I can't believe this is happening. My daughter is an only child -- she was our miracle child, because I had cervical cancer and was told I couldn't have children. Then, on two years to the date of my recovery, I wasn't feeling well and found out I was pregnant. I can't be in the same room with her 24/7 and I am trying to explain to her what's going on. It's been very difficult because I don't understand what's going on -- I don't even know what these videos show and I don't want to view them.

Yet, she absolutely does not believe that her daughter made the videos...

What did we expect? We are living in a time in American society where children are seen as "siblings" and accessories, not precious human beings that need protection and guidance. You can see these children rapping to the trashiest of songs, dancing and camwhoring in diapers or lingerie, cussing up a storm while parents and siblings laugh it up, etc.

Obviously, as a collective, we have decided that we were more important than the children and their needs, so society teaches them nothing, hungry corporations eager for lifelong consumers and media have taken up that responsibility with disastrous results.

I don't care what her business is. At 11 years old, there's not a damned thing I want to see her do on YouTube and her thoughts are of little concern to me. My mother used to say, "Children should be seen and not heard" and I agree with that for the most part. If children are going to have their voices heard outside of their home, it should be for something worthwhile; something that will help better their world as they get older.

Other than that, please retire to mediocrity and enjoy being a child, Jessi. Pick up some dolls, or seeing as how you seem spunky, put that spunk to good use. Want to be mad at something? Be mad at the genocides in the Congo and Sudan. Get angry about overfishing and climate change.

Hell, even go up for a position in the student body at your school.  Have your parents lobby on your behalf about the debt you will probably be inheriting well after they have died.  Until then, there's nothing in your pre-teen life that is of importance enough to share with us.  

Her parents' delusion doesn't help either, and I absolutely believe Jessi should be removed from their home and custody until they have all successfully completed rigorous and comprehensive counseling. She is obviously not flourishing healthily in her parents' care. 

Let's be honest. She is a liability if she continues with her parents, and it doesn't take tarot cards to see that if she doesn't end up on Maury bragging about sex for a double cheeseburger, she's going to be draining the system with a litter of kids, in jail, or worse, dead. I don't think we should have to suffer for her parents' indiscretions and failures to do the right thing by their daughter. I don't care if she was immaculately conceived, Jessi should've been disciplined appropriately from day one, Lamb of God or otherwise.

This also highlights the sexualization of little girls, a phenomenon that the American Psychological Association studied and concluded has "negative effects in a variety of domains, including cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, and healthy sexual development."

Naturally, I cannot blame these little girls. I blame their elders--us adult women to be specific--for letting the hounds of hell aka the media and corporations subdue us, only to have them grow tired and move on to our little sisters and daughters. What did we think? Did we honestly think that after dalliances with the worst aspects of pop culture and pseudo-feminism (something that's usually male driven and misogynistic), like Girls Gone Wild and 16 and Pregnant, that we wouldn't have then spawned a Jessi Slaughter?

Jessi is what the APA  was talking about. We all have regrets, but I hope that she learns to love herself supremely, as looking back at this is sure to bring a whole lot of regret.

This happened on our watch, and to be honest, at least we know that she exists. There are plenty of girls just like her who are her age or even younger who aren't exposing themselves on video. They remain nameless, and they remain faceless, so no one can intervene. As odd as this sounds, there is a silver lining in all of this, but we already know that both Jessi and her parents have to get real before they can move on from this and ride off into the sunset, effectively living happily ever after.

I find this child insufferable, but she is still a child. I am not angry at her. I hope that she gets the help that she needs and I hope her parents get the help that they need. Maybe they need to lose Jessi and earn her back. Jessi was not born churlish, impertinent, vain or lecherous. She was created and cultivated by people who were too busy being selfish to care about the end result, and now we have the 11 year old that is before all of us on the internet.

I have learned so much from this. Personally, I've already decided that my kids will not have a Facebook, YouTube, Myspace or anything of the sort until they are at least 16 years old, the same age I was when I first danced with email and instant messaging, the hip thing back in the Nineties. They simply don't need to be a part of every form of technology or social networking available to man. If you do indulge your children, for the love of God monitor them.

Had she been monitored, she wouldn't have been served up on a platter for dehumanization and exploitation by an army of people emboldened by anonymity. When we fail at the most basic, most simple tenet of parenting, protecting our children, we have no one else to blame but ourselves when our children fall to predators. And for those of you who are not parents, you are not free from responsibility either.

Whether or not we want to be, we become elders to the youth once we hit a certain age. When we fail to be discerning about the types of things we "let in" to our lives, we then leave the youth to be sacrificed at the altar of selfishness, greed and dereliction in our stead. 

Here's hoping that Jessi Slaughter actually not only motivates her parents and family to do better, but  motivates US to do better as well.


wibiya widget


Related Posts with Thumbnails