Usually, celebrities command press attention for causes like war and disaster relief and AIDS. This isn’t usually one of their causes.
But David Schwimmer is concerned about the sexualizing of young girls in pop culture, which he admits is getting worse.
Celia Walden of British newspaper The Telegraph sat down with Schwimmer to hear his reflections on how the sex-saturated Hollywood business atmosphere preys upon young girls and encourages the mindset of rapists.
“Sex sells and unfortunately there’s this inbuilt hypocrisy in our society: we’re always talking about how inappropriate it is to see an older man with a very young girl but at the same time all our advertising is based on that,” he said.
“Plus, both here and in the UK, we have this real emphasis on how important it is to look young and sexual, so that’s the message we’re sending our girls. Look at the biggest pop stars around at the moment: everything they do is about sex.”
He is unusually candid, for a big star, especially admitting his own ‘dark periods.’ Which are now in his past.
Now that he has shunned the Hollywood lifestyle, Schwimmer has dedicated himself to helping its forgotten victims. He says his relationship with two women, both child sexual abuse victims and one a later date-rape victim, “sensitised” him to the issue of rape. This led him to take a position as a director with the Santa Monica Rape Treatment Centre in Los Angeles.
But Schwimmer’s activism doesn’t end with volunteering his spare time.
Recently, Schwimmer finished directing a film, “Trust,” the plot of which takes a hard look at the price of a culture’s lost innocence..
Now a happy husband and father, Schwimmer also reflected on how his baby daughter managed to change his perspective even further, adding “a whole new dimension to my life.” “I was much more in touch with that innocence before celebrity and it’s wonderful to have it back,” he said.
But with his new love comes no small challenge.
“With what’s going on Internet-wise it’s going to be a different ball game when my daughter grows up,” he said, wincing. “Like every parent, I just want to protect her from what’s out there.”
Good for him. It takes the courage to call things what they are, provide relief and offer a hopeful alternative, to build a family culture and foster healthy citizens.