Sexy Baby, a new documentary from Ronna Gradus and Jill Bauer presents that argument very strongly through the tale of three women.
This is one of those documentaries that makes you think, and makes it tough for you to come up with answers.
The subjects of the film are all influenced by the culture around it, all in different ways, and it is up to the viewer to decide whether its for better or worse.
Nichole is a former adult actress, who worked under the name Nakita Kash, and now teaches pole dancing classes while trying to develop a family with her husband. Having spent years in the industry, she is now trying to shed the sexuality and image given her by the industry and fund the woman underneath it.
Laura decides to pursue a form of plastic surgery known as labialplasty, because everything she’s seen online, and her sexual relationships have made her think she’s unattractive in the genital area. She is seeking empowerment through what may be defined as a type of genital mutilation, simply because of what the world has come to define as sexy. Now, first and foremost, it’s her body, and she can do whatever she likes with it, and if it makes her feel better about herself, than I say more power to her but something like this was never an issue before the pervasive availability of pornographic material on the internet and the perception of what is sexy in that world.
The toughest one to watch, is a young girl, who seems to grow up before our eyes, first meeting her at 12 and leaving her at age 14. Winnifred seems smart, bright, funny, self-aware, and self-confident. Growing up in New York City and in the digital age, a pioneer in her own words. She is the first of a generation that grew up in the digital age, never knowing a world without the internet, the inter-connectivity of social media, and all the imagery that comes with it. Her parents, and family obviously love her and want whats best, but all of them are venturing into new territory as she begins to try on new personas, to find herself, and they have two more daughters after her as well!
There are a number of troubling moments with this young woman, but also a few with her younger sisters, one featuring a child that can’t be anymore than 5 dancing lewdly and singing some explicit song lyrics.
That’s not a judgment on parenting on my part, it’s out there whether parents want it found or not. We can only hope that not only faith and trust in their children will see the parents through in guiding their youngsters but also hopefully instilling them with proper judgment.
The film gives you a lot to think about, and already inspired a huge conversation I’ve had with a friend.
But that’s the point… to start you talking, interacting, learning, and changing.
Sexy Baby screens Tuesday May 1 at The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 9:00pm, Thursday May 3 at the Isabel Bader Theater 6:45pm and Friday May 4 at The Tiff Light Box 7:00pm.