Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Justifiable Pornography

This was the magazine in the check-out line AT EYE LEVEL to my children at the commissary today. I was absolutely mortified. Call me prude, old fashioned, stuck in the 50's-I don't care. This was not what I wanted my seven year old son to be looking at as I hurriedly loaded groceries onto the conveyor belt.

How can we complain that women are objectified on a daily basis when we are raising our daughters to think that this is okay? I see this magazine cover and wonder why anyone questions how we came to this place where the female body MUST be sexualized to be appreciated. We allow our boys to be exposed to thousands upon thousands of television and print images that border on pornographic yet expect them to grow into men who will enter into healthy, monogamous relationships.

It is difficult to teach modesty is today's age. It will be even more difficult (but not impossible with God's guidance) to teach purity to my children when it is not revered by society. Instead we have Planned Parenthood fighting for the right to teach ten year old children that they are sexual beings:

"Young people's sexuality is still contentious for many religious institutions. Fundamentalist and other religious groups the — Catholic Church and madrasas (Islamic schools) for example — have imposed tremendous barriers that prevent young people, particularly, from obtaining information and services related to sex and reproduction. Currently, many religious teachings deny the pleasurable and positive aspects of sex and limited guidelines for sexual education often focus on abstinence before marriage…"

If you've ever watched The Duggar Family in '19 Kids and Counting' you may notice that they do not dance. I always wondered why and recently happened on a rerun where they answer viewers questions and this topic came up. The parents believe that dancing brings attention to the body and not the face so their family chooses not to do it. I thought about this for a while. The Bible mentions dancing on many occasions in ways of both praise and worship so why the fuss?? I know I'm getting off topic from the SI cover so I'll make my point quickly. What is dancing? Intimate, touching, gyrating, bouncing, enticing maybe unknowingly. I get it. I see why they choose to take an extra step in protecting their children's purity.

I know the world can't (and shouldn't) conform to me. But what I wish is that there was a return to decency. That this cover of a beautiful young women would be just as successful for her face and heart as it is for her breasts, hips and thighs. I wish my son didn't have to see something that may stir premature desire in him. He's only young for such a short period of time and in these times when kids are boyfriend and girlfriend in the first grade, and oral sex is happening in elementary school, I wish for him the opportunity of just being a child. I want to do it my way without the world's help.


Wendy said...

I was raised in a born-again, evangelical home (Assembly of God) my entire life. My mother wrote nasty letters to Sports Illustrated and cancelled my brother's subscription the first time she laid eyes on the swimsuit edition, which was tame by today's standards! That was about 30 years ago. LOL!

I'm going to jump on your band-wagon, April and extend it a bit. This is slightly off-topic, but related to what you are talking about in the "growing up too quickly" theme. It's something I plan on blogging about in greater detail in a couple of days. As a teacher of kindergarten through grade 4 students over the past 20 years, I've seen a lot of changes. Particularly in what parents consider developmentally appropriate for their kids. We have supposedly "innocent" movies and TV shows like High School Musical, Hannah Montana and I Carly that are being watched by five year old girls with the full endorsement of their parents. Four year olds have High School Musical themed birthday parties. These shows may seem innocent enough, but they're not developmentally appropriate for a five year old. There's a reason the words "high school" are in the title! They feature teenage issues and adolescent realities that kids who are barely out of diapers can't possible comprehend--and shouldn't have to try. Kids who still watch Dora are made fun of (Lily was told on the first day of kindergarten that her Ni Hao Kailan backpack was for babies). I have a hard time convincing parents of my super high readers that just because their kids can decode words and read like a fifth grader doesn't mean they should be reading material meant for a fifth grader!

Having said all that, I also have a teenager who is about to leave home, and I know, realistically that no matter how well you think you've raised them, no matter what values you believe you've instilled in your children, you have to let them go at some point, pray for the best, and hope they'll find their way in this crazy world!

April said...

I completely agree with you and appreciate your insight as an educator. G still watches (at age 7) PBS shows and things like Toot and Puddle. He'll even watch Dora, Imagination Movers etc...I am very careful about what they watch although H did corrupt my little guy with Star Wars a few years back. There is still an episode or two he is not allow to see but things of a suggestive or sexual nature are NOT ALLOWED. For our family this is where we are. I know parents who do it differently and that is their prerogative. Thankfully at home we can be as restrictive as we feel necessary for their age.
I won't write a nasty letter to SI (ha!) but I did speak with the manager of the commissary at length. There should be a reasonable expectation of appropriate reading material in the check out line. It's the first time I have ever noticed this magazine which added to my surprise. The manager was considerate of my concern and said that she would speak with the head manager and it would be taken care of. I plan on going in tomorrow to see if they have been put up at adult eye level or taken down altogether. The main exchange is next door with an entire magazine section that can house this issue in the appropriate place if need be.

Wendy said...

I was thinking about your post today while I was in the checkout line at the grocery store and saw the SI issue. Then I started to look around at what surrounded it. OK Magazine, People, tabloid crap, US, Vogue, etc. Every single one of those periodicals had at least one very scantily clad woman on the cover (my favorite was "Kendra" from the Girls Next Door with her HUGE fake boobs in a bikini holding her newborn son--who was clearly used as a prop to hide what remained of her baby bump). I actually counted 12 different pictures on all the magazines of women in tiny bikinis or with just their "parts" highlighted (i.e. best beach bodies). So, it's not just SI. I think we're all just so used to seeing these images that we've become kind of immune to them. Then there's the headlines on magazines at the register like Cosmo and Vogue. Some of them are pretty wild.

To SI's credit, I do know that if you subscribe to the magazine, you can opt out of the swimsuit edition and it will not be sent to your home. I realize that doesn't help the situation in public, but if your son ever does want a subscription, there is that option!

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