While everyone in media land discuss how rappers portray images of women, the unspoken, worst part is that the videos seem to represent how young women now view themselves. Girls dress like whores, talk like whores and act like whores, but most interestingly, don't view themselves as whores. They have no shame.
Feminists applaud this development. A young woman isn't viewed as a slut because she gets around, or maybe she is viewed that way, but she doesn't view herself that way. She's just doing what everyone says girls do now. If she feels bad about her sluttiness, she surpresses it. She shouldn't feel bad, something must be wrong with her if she does.
I am absolutely dismayed right now. In fact, for three weeks I've been mulling the results of a survey I gave to 16 to 18 year old Christian girls at a Church Youth Conference. A little background: the church would be considered evangelical and fundamentalist in teaching with an open creed, but relatively conservative in practice. These are kids who have been taught that fornication is wrong. I'm not so naive to think that being taught it means practicing abstinance. Teens have been having sex since before rock-n-roll, but they knew full well they were playing with fire. Teens these days are just.....playing and suffering repeated burns.
These young women report this:
- 2/3 knew about the Girls Next Door
- 1/3 knew someone who had been raped or molested
- 1/3 didn't believe that oral sex was really sex (thanks Bill!)
- 1/2 had posted sexy pictures of themselves on their MySpace account
- nearly all knew someone who had had an abortion
While a lot of Christian girls pay lip service to "What would Jesus do?". In real life, the question is "What would Britney do?" Yes, Britney Spears. And Paris. And Lindsey. Young women who dress and act like the women portrayed in those rapper's videos. Exploiting themselves? They exploit their own sexuality and look like they're coming unhinged doing it. (Rehab and divorce. DUI and sex tape. Rehab. Who knows how many STDs, abortions and failed relationships between them.)
While the girls are being absolutely saturated with the self-sexploitation message, their parents are contributing to the problem. The internet and television and movies and music ooze soul killing bacteria that must be beaten back but many parents seem to be stuck in la-la land where bad things don't happen to or around their children. Essentially, they leave their children to navigate territory that they most likely never had to survive to reach adulthood and a healthy relationship. MTV started in the late 80's. I was not exposed to a music video until I was 16. It was shocking then. It would be snickered at now. Videos these days are soft-porn disguised as music. See the above link. Parents need to wake up.
It is impossible to ensure that children will avoid the images, words, lyrics and messages piped into their minds. If I bumbled across a porn site while looking for a certain kind of Scottish tartan plaid, kids are certainly accidently or on-purpose finding porn. Doubt the influence? How many young girls now shave their pubic region to resemble little girls? How many girls take pictures of themselves and send them to their boyfriend? How many girls undress in front of their webcam for their boyfriend? Technology makes these kind of actions routine.
A parent being ignorant of the popular culture and the dangers of the web is derelict in his or her duty. Parents must know and they must have conversations with their children about what it all means. They must get over their own embarrassment about their own premarital sex. What teens deal with today, is not the average sex before marriage--one or two partners. Teens have "friends with benefits", blow-jobs are not considered sex. Who, save the one girl who got it on with the whole football team (a very nice girl, actually, in my High School who ended up pregnant and another boy married her), gave out blow-jobs like candy? It's different today.
Parents lose their moral authority, though, if they are doing things they ought not do. Affairs, divorce, smoking pot, porn addiction, substance abuse, kids know and kids scorn a parent who opinionate while carrying on like this. Worse, a plague of sexual abuse afflicts girls. Especially, the youth pastor told me, in the hispanic community. No one wants to turn an uncle or father in for their crimes. Crimes. Besides destroying a woman's life-long sexuality by allowing the abuse to continue, the bigger crime is destroying her faith in all authority including God. It goes without saying that assaulting a child sexually is a sin. To condone and ignore the crime is a sin, too. Mothers who do this are aiding and abetting a criminal. This destroys the girl's image of women and the church.
I thought, I hoped, that what we saw in our practice was an aberration, not indicative of societal trends. I hoped that our patients were only indicative of the types of people who suffer with chronic pain or other health issues as adults. That still may be true. But to have so many young girls admit knowing someone who had been molested (and 80-90% occurs within the family) makes me think that the problem is worse than even the statistics portray.
The sex act has been stripped of any spiritual meaning today. That is, people act as if sex is a recreational sport with no losers. But what has resulted is hardened hearts. First their broken and then rebroken and then the scars build up and eventually, the girl doesn't think it matters anymore. At a Christian Youth Conference, I saw girls who had given up. Cynical about relationships in general and sex in particular--at 17.
Sex education programs teach a kid to put on a condom, give dry statistics about STDs, but how can they possibly counteract what kids are injesting and absorbing everywhere else? If parents refuse to see the dangerous, predator-infested waters their kids navigate and help them fight back, what chance will children have?
The church and families have become cowardly places where sin can't be named. Our children are paying the price. There is a reason why God commanded His people to remain chaste before marriage and it wasn't because He's an out of touch other-worldly Ogre. God knows how powerful sex is and what a force for good it can be in a relationship built to last forever. Outside the protective confines of marriage, sex causes untold grief. And then, when the people eventually marry, they bring all their grief to the one relationship they really want to succeed.
We need to stop acting like sex outside of marriage is no big deal.