Sometimes I watch The Early Show or Good Morning America while eating cereal and drinking coffee. Today, the latter had on the cast (if you can call people who aren’t really actors a “cast”) of Jersey Shore. I’ve never seen the show other than just flipping by it, but I can tell that it is one which would probably kill brain cells faster than any alcoholic beverage one could concoct.
I did learn that it took one dude, you can guess which one from the picture, 25 minutes to get his hair ready each day. Outside the fact that I’m still blown away that reality TV is really that popular-although I guess we could have predicted post-modernity would bring us shows like this-the only other redeeming part of my 10 minutes was it reminded me of an article I read last month called “Sex Ed in the age of Snooki.” Ironically, Snooki, was the only member of the “cast” not present.
It’s not from a Christian perspective, but because of God’s “common grace” (we’re all made in the image of God and can still reflect truth to one another) even non-Christians can make great points. Here’s a clip from the above mentioned article.
On the surface, I’ve got it easy as a parent—my wife and I have two sons. “Boys will be boys” goes the conventional wisdom. We’ve come to expect—and often excuse—their bad behavior. That means it falls on a girl’s shoulders to have the self-confidence and self-esteem to create and protect boundaries in respect to her sexuality. While I think it’s important to teach girls how to be empowered gatekeepers of their own sexuality, I also believe that we have to focus on the boys, not let them off the hook. If girls operate in the male gaze (both actual and internalized), then we need to change that gaze. Boys need to learn how to see girls differently. Here’s how:
Start with your own relationship. Almost from birth, children model and imitate what they see at home. If you and your spouse don’t treat each other with respect, you can’t expect the same from your child.
It is good to see that even on CNN.com, folks are aware that free and open sexuality is not good. But I was most impressed by 3 things from this piece.
1.) The affirmed need for families to take responsibility in discussing sexuality before the Jersey Shore, movies, and friends get their grubby little paws on our youth and distort this great gift from God.
2.) The affirmed need to not place the whole responsibility on girls for acting and dressing in sexually provocative ways. I for one am glad to have 2 boys (although I would have been happy to have a girl). Dealing with a daughter who wants to wear a long belt to pass as shorts or blue spray paint to pass as jeans is not something I look forward to. But as a father, and as guys in our culture, we have a responsibility not to expect women to dress as such. I particularly love the line “We have to change boys’ gaze. Boys need to learn how to see girls differently…”
Perhaps if guys in the church can learn to see girls differently, at the very least, girls in the church, will less and less feel the need to dress or act in ways which can do harm to both them and their future husbands.
3.) The importance of respect in the Mom-Dad relationships in front of their children. I believe 90% (I have no way of proving this though) of what we teach our children is actually informal, and happens as we do life together.