Raising kids is not a job for the faint-hearted.  Babies and toddlers are a lot of physical work but parenting teenagers would melt the most robust brain. They say girls are harder to raise than boys.  I wouldn’t know.  I only have girls.  Two of them teenagers.

But I do know that parenting girls is a lot like being a salmon.  Fighting your way upstream, swimming against the tide and struggling to leap up waterfalls.  Like most parents, I want my girls to reach their full potential and to be happy.  This would be a lot easier to achieve if they weren’t bombarded with images of impossibly sexy women at every turn.  Yes, you know what I am talking about… the music videos, the movies where women are all girlfriends and accessories to the guys, the advertising with the token gorgeous scantily clad woman.  Not to mention endless targeting of us with beauty products so that we can be better version of ourselves.

I have no tools to use against this onslaught except to keep repeating the mantra ‘be yourself, you are good enough.’  Coupled with ‘those images aren’t real, don’t even try to compete, you’ll only wreck your head.’

But then sometimes something comes straight out of left field providing a surprising affront to my attempts at raising confident, assertive, strong women.  Last week’s Life Magazine in the Sunday Independent was one such affront.  When I saw it first I thought it was a jokey mock up of a Top of The Pops LP from the mid ’70s.  Smiling sexily on the cover of the magazine was a model dressed as a sexy Santa.  A sexy Santa – like what even is that? To that image was added the  perfect 70s’ double entendre – “The Perfect Package”.  Yes this was Life Magazine’s Christmas Gift Guide 2016.

I took some deep breaths to calm my rising blood pressure and ventured inside to what is generally a good read.  The gift guide stretched to about 9 pages and each page had another sexy model.  We had sexy green Santa, sexy Elf and a sexy Fairy.  These sexy minxes were not doing anything you understand.  They merely existed on the page to be sexy eye candy while one perused the gifts.  And the gifts may have been great.  I don’t know.  Because I was only able to see red…. All those Santa outfits had blurred my vision.

As I closed the magazine I had that Benny Hill theme tune going around and around in my head accompanied by visions of Brendan O’Connor chasing Sexy Santa’s around the Sindo’s offices.  It was most unnerving.

The cover can be viewed here