OPINION: Shielding the Kids from the Sexually Provocative in WeHo? Good Luck with That

Jake Lee, who wrote a recent Op-Ed titled “Is Tolerance a One-Way Street in WeHo?” made a legitimate point about trying to prevent his daughter from being exposed to sexually suggestive advertising. However, I think it’s easier said than done, especially in West Hollywood, where the human body is not considered obscene nor would such a sign in the window of a commercial establishment that caters to adult sexual enhancement products.

Since Mr. Lee was born and raised in West Hollywood, I find it hard to believe that he didn’t or doesn’t understand that West Hollywood is geared toward its mostly adult population. Even those who’ve recently chosen to live here, know and understand this and in many, if not in most cases, that’s why they move here to live.

In a small city of nearly 35,000 people, 19,293 (57%) are male, and 41% or so are gay men while 43% are female. There are 76 children under 6 years or 6 – 17 years old in the city, according to 2016-2017 statistics, living in less than 5% of WeHo households. Describing West Hollywood’s character as salacious, lewd, tasteless and indecent takes Mr. Lee’s objections from reasonable to ridiculous. Even people newly at home here are well aware of the implications of West Hollywood’s adult and progressive “nature.”

The “Anal August” poster in store front window at Pleasure Chest, 7733 Santa Monica Blvd.

I believe the city attorney’s response to Mr. Lee’s code compliance complaint was very concise and appropriate. Standards vary from community to community and West Hollywood is not Topeka – or Apple Valley – or Bakersfield, for which I think most of us are grateful. I agree with those who suggested that Mr. Lee could have used this experience as a “teachable moment” to educate his daughter in positive terms and help her gradually fit in to a very diverse and tolerant local culture that welcomes everyone without discrimination. In fact, we now live in a changing progressive and more sophisticated world, period.

If Mr. Lee thought this subtle poster, which by the way, I have never noticed, although I drive by the Pleasure Chest numerous times each week, if not each day, is salacious and indecent, then I strongly suggest that he avoid driving with his daughter past Hustler Hollywood on Sunset, whose windows are always filled top-to-bottom with human form mannequins, not only with bare buttocks, but with often crotchless G-strings and men’s briefs and peek-a-boo bras and other provocative novelty attire for both men and women. They are always accompanied by sexually suggestive advertising, usually painted on the windows in large bold, colorful letters, especially on special occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas and New Years. You don’t need to be stopped in traffic to notice these windows, in fact they’re quite in your face. Nor should he take her past Trashy Lingerie on La Cienega, which mimics the above description, only much more of the same and also a can’t miss from the street at any speed.

There’s also The Body Shop on Sunset that has sky high neon signs with female silhouettes and flashing lights advertising “Live Nude Girls.” Further down Sunset is the 7th Veil, where there are also flashing neon signs advertising nude dancing girls to the passing public, only more of them. You can’t miss these huge flashing neon signs if you tried, including from a great distance in all directions. I wonder if Mr. Lee’s nine-year-old daughter has expressed her curiosity about these in passing by.
Nor should Mr. Lee walk with his daughter down the WeHo sidewalks advertising the LGBT Center’s PrEP Campaign called “F*CK WITHOUT FEAR,” whose purpose is to educate sexually active gay men in a safe and effective way to prevent HIV infection. The same advertisement can be seen from far and wide on well lit and highly visible Los Angeles billboards. Of course, there are people who object to this, but it serves a very worthy purpose in that it educates and saves lives and is, of course, targeted at adults.

And I suggest he not drive his daughter past Boystown where dancing go go boys are visible from the street through open front bars and restaurant doors. I don’t think they would be comfortable at the Pride parade of the Halloween Carnaval either since there are always sexually suggestive costumes at both.

I wonder if Mr. Lee’s daughter has seen the homeless people laying passed out on WeHo sidewalks or if he has ever taken her to visit the WeHo library and observed the homeless people camped out both outside and inside the building. If so, I wonder if she asked for an explanation. Or the transsexuals and drag queens that frequently trod the streets of Boystown, not always inconspicuous, not always accepted by outsiders, but who feel welcome and unthreatened in WeHo. These also could be very worthwhile and positive teachable moments for children rather than another way to teach them prejudice and intolerance. And would likely evoke more curiosity from a child than bare buttocks in a store window.

To suggest that West Hollywood rejects the inclusion of children into its demographic makeup is absurd on its face. In fact, West Hollywood welcomes children and provides many ways for them to engage with others in play and educational activities. I don’t think I’ve ever gone into WeHo library without seeing children’s activity pamphlets along with an invitation to join the community fun. This is particularly generous of the city, perhaps even excessively, since there are a very small number of small children who are actually residents. Many of those participating in city and park activities come from outside the city and are obviously welcome.

In fact during the planning phase of the new WeHo park, there were three playground spaces given to children and none at all for dogs, even though there is a much larger population of dogs in the city than there is children. Only because of public outcry and strong objections from the community did we actually get an off-leash doggie space, which we needed. It will be used and appreciated by many WeHo residents and their doggie “children.”

In view of the numerous examples I have given of public advertising that includes sexually provocative themes, the bare buns sign in the window of an establishment that caters to sexual enhancement products for adults is the least of them.


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blueeyedboy
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blueeyedboy

I don’t blame Jack at all for wanting to protect his child. If I were raising children I would feel exactly the same. I agree that The Pleasure Chest went too far. Every freedom should come with “speed-bumps”. Just because we CAN doesn’t mean we SHOULD. It’s arrogant to expect the rest of the world to accommodate our freedom. I remember when my mother and her best friend came for a visit and we drove down LaCienega and saw a big sign at a theater for their current production of “Puppetry of the Penis”. I realized that it’s not like… Read more »

AM
Guest
AM

With Jake’s right to shield his daughter from anything he doesn’t want her to see, I do not believe his daughter asked questions about this poster with the word he found offensive partially blocked & virtually indecipherable at a glance especially from the road. I think he’s using his daughter as an excuse to express his own outrage. As far as Jake’s comment “you can tell by the comments here”, opinions are like anuses, everybody has one ,

Jake Lee
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Jake Lee

Woody et.al, please allow me to retort. There is not enough room to cover all the smug, snide and condescending remarks but I’ll try. First off, many of you are trying to insinuate that this is a “Straight vs Gay” issue and it’s not. Last time I checked, the gay community didn’t have a monopoly on anal sex. There are reasons why strip clubs and sex shops aren’t allowed to display their wares in the window and that is because no person under the age of 18 is even allowed to step foot onto the premises. With that being said,… Read more »

kab1200
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kab1200

Jake Lee, I agree with you completely, always did.

IRA Z
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IRA Z

There’s a valid argument on this subject but I think Mr. Lee is somewhat off base as West Hollywood & Hollywood have always been considered adult oriented playgrounds. West Hollywood In spite of it’s shortcomings, is indeed a grownup environment & that doesn’t mean it’s “intolerant” of children. It does mean though, that parents are responsible for protecting their children in whatever ways they see fit, not the public

Robert E
Guest
Robert E

Someone called this to my attention for an opinion. Jake Lee indeed has a point, but Woody has a stronger rebuttal. I can’t believe Lee was born & raised in WeHo & all of a sudden he is offended by a poster in a window that has sexual implications. Just doesn’t jive. Welcome to WeHo Mr. Lee. Some of the billboards on Sunset are very openly sexual in nature & I’ve seen a few hair curlers. I think for the most part, these types of billboards & signs are quickly forgotten if observed at all & no one really cares.… Read more »

J Simmons
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J Simmons

I bought in weho over 20 years ago. A LOT has changed, much I don’t like, but I live with it along with the amazing property value increase in 20 years. A lifetime owning in weho, must be enough equity to buy elsewhere. BESIDES .. I don’t get out much, but I have seen far more (straight oriented) large SEXUALIZED advertising on Sunset for years and years. This photo has no profane words. Can’t protect kids from the world.

blueeyedboy
Guest
blueeyedboy

kab1200 and SaveWeHo, check out the comments from a year ago on the topic of kids and dogs at the Halloween Carnival. Let WeHo be WeHo as it once was without outsiders coming in and requiring that we accommodate them.

https://www.wehoville.com/2016/11/01/hundreds-thousands-celebrate-safe-carnaval-weho/

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

blueeyedboy, I know how you feel about this. It will never go back, that is the past. I remember when there was no carnival, and we just took over the streets and sidewalks. But the world has changed, and Weho is not the “gay ghetto” it used to be.

Jimmy Palmieri
Guest

great piece woody….whoops….i guess i should say great op-ed……lest i sound vulgar..

Corrinne C
Guest
Corrinne C

@J.V: Come on, a paper poster is made out of flesh & blood?? It’s every bit as dead and inanimate as a store mannequin. People act like West Hollywood is the only place you see sexy advertising. You see it in every American city & around the world. Sex sells. Money talks. According to Jake Lee’s take on the subject, children wouldn’t be able to go to movies. watch TV or look at magazines or goon the internet. The advertising almost always is sexual in nature. I also agree that the poster could be called subtle. It’s almost like an… Read more »

SaveWeho
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SaveWeho

I’m sick of people moving into Weho and then wanting to change it to a Chuck-E-Cheese family zone. I’m also sick of people being so scared of nudity and sex and placing such a taboo on it.

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

SaveWeho, try reading his story before commenting. The guy grew up here and has a home here, and now has a wife and child. I think he has a right to say something. Period.

J.V.
Guest
J.V.

Woody, you seem to take Mr. Lee to task ad nauseam here. Point made – and I agree with your point, by the way – but no need to overdo it on the guy – a concerned father after all. Two things I disagree with you on, however. First, I don’t think the Anal August poster in the Pleasure Chest window can be referred to as “subtle”. Obnoxiously poor taste of the gay variety would be a better description (I also don’t care to see the hair in the hole of someone’s butt), but of course this is to be… Read more »

blueeyedboy
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blueeyedboy

Children would much rather go trick or treating in their own neighborhoods, or go to Halloween parties with other kids their age. But selfish parents who don’t want to pay for a babysitter drag kids to WeHo. The safety of the children is a big issue, but the appropriateness of their presence affects us all. The Halloween Carnival is an adult event, but when children are there most responsible people are careful of their dress and behavior in consideration of them. The Carnival from years ago was one of the sexiest and fun nights of the year, but that was… Read more »