Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Naptime's quiet veiled the house in that peace felt now only between one to three in the afternoon.  I sat on the couch, preparing to fold clothes.  I turned on the TV to ABC Family and the first statement heard in the quiet was,

"Remember how we decided to stop having sex?" 


Angered, I turned the channel. This second show, I realized in about two minutes, was about a family who's daughter was pregnant and engaged...and only 15. 

Lately, I've found fewer and fewer shows that I can watch with the girls in the room with me. It's now down to one.  And it's one that has caused surprising debate.

19 Kids and Counting. 

The entire family is devoutly religious.  The women all wear skirts and both the mother of the 19 children (Michelle) and the bride of the oldest son (Anna) have decided to be open to children as they come. I can relate to several aspects of their lives.

But, I have realized lately how counter-cultural I am.

As my husband, two girls, and I meandered through Sam's Club last night, I stopped dead in my tracks.  There stood a young girl, only about ten, with her father.  She wore a very tight, short  t-shirt with glitter and a flannel shirt over it, tied so that her midriff could still show.  On the bottom, she wore fishnet hose...and that's it.  Just fishnet hose. 

I wept. 

I wanted to take the young girl home with me, before it was too late.  But, I think that it already is. 

Innocence is dying.  Becoming extinct. 

I have read numerous articles and perused many websites blasting the Duggars and their lifestyle.  How they "subject" their women, are irresponsible in their family planning decisions. 

Had I walked up to the parents of that young girl last night and questioned their daughter's dress, they more than likely would have replied, "It's our choice.  Mind your own business." 

As I looked around Sam's Club, I realized how many girls were dressed so sexually.  Young girls.  Stomachs showing, shorts and jeans with holes, low-cut shirts.  Why was no one upset about this?  Why is it legitimate to allow young girls to walk around objectifying themselves?

Who is fighting for these young girls who are revealing their bodies to men of all ages?  Who is fighting for them?  No one.  Because those people are too busy arguing that people like the Duggars are objectifying their own women.  

I want to get rid of the television.  So my daughters don't hear the sexuality, the violence, the language that could rob them of their peace and innocence.  I want to teach my girls that they are beautiful children of God.

Yes.  God.

That they are a gift.  A beautiful gift.  And, as a gift from God, they should keep their beauty wrapped and shielded.  Because they are worthy of that.

I want to show all girls their beauty, their worth.  That this worth is their gift, and they should shield it, too, because they deserve that.

But there are too many influences in these girls' lives saying the opposite.  Nicki Manij shows them being beautiful means changing your hairstyle everyday to freakish colors and textures.  Maria Carey wears revealing tops.  Lady Gaga takes Nicki to a whole different level.  Am I the only one who wonders what they really look like underneath all that artificial stuff?

Sadly, I cannot help that sweet girl at the store.  I can't help any of the young girls out there.  But, I can affect my little sphere.  My sweet girls.  I can keep them sweet and innocent and peaceful.  I can set an example that is counter cultural. That beauty is not hair color or make up or bizarre or sexualized outfits.  It goes deeper.  Beauty is being themselves.  And, oh, how truly and naturally beautiful my girls are!   


Another Adrienne ;) said...

I hear you. All the way.

I don't watch tv much when the kids are awake - except EWTN's Journey Home and maybe some home improvement shows on the weekends. Even if I find a show that is okay to watch, the commercials will likely be too offensive. Thus Catholic and HGTV shows because they don't have risque shows on their programming to push during the commercials. ABC Family... sheesh! They have some fun movies the kids enjoy, but then they push the sex scenes from their teen oriented shows ... and flutters away more of my children's innocence.

Two months ago I had taken the kids with me to the grocery store, as usual. I was busy loading up the conveyor belt, as I hear my kids whisper "she doesn't have a shirt on!" They're all staring at the cover of Cosmo, with Miley Cyrus exposed on the front, and my six year old daughter reads, "The best sex of your life." She had just been solicited to by a magazine at the grocery store. My son had just been exposed to what truly is pornography. In an attempt to cover it up, I flip the magazine over, only to expose them to a second image, this time a scantily clad couple laying in bed together. A second scandalizing image. Ugh! I grabbed the food magazine in the next slot and put it on top to cover up the Cosmo filth. We check out and leave... get this, to find a stand of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition put immediately in our path, just so that we can all see it and want to buy a copy on the way out of the store. A much bustier woman is on the front bare chested barely covered by her open jacket just like the Miley photo. A third scandalous photo, all in 5 minutes, at our local grocery store.

And society is completely okay with this, yet they can't tell me how it is my children are specifically benefiting from seeing these images.

The experience gave me the opportunity to tell my children that we won't be going back to that store (I called and complained, but I no longer trust them). I explained that those women were told that the only way people would like them is if they took pictures like that, and that they were all wrong to believe it.

I, too, have been realizing how counter cultural I am now. And YES, I do wonder what those three celebs look like in their natural beauty!

Lauren S. said...

I know you and I sometimes fall on differing sides of the social/political spectrum, but this is one area where I do agree with you.

I have to admit I am also a 19 Kids and Counting junkie, but I started watching it years ago with an almost morbid curiosity to see how they would ultimately fail. Which kid would rebel. How fundamentalist values would render a family unworkable. But over the years, the Duggars have completely changed my mind about a lot of things - the family they have is loving, caring, open, honest, and above all extremely devoted to each other and their faith. Sure some of their beliefs (a lot of them more detailed in their books...all of which I've read!) are wacky, but their JOY principle (Jesus first, others second, yourself last) is something I can definitely get behind.

If you haven't read A Love That Multiplies, Michelle talks about how they can't always shield their little ones from the same dangers you talk about. So, when they're out in public, they use a code word ("Nike") to alert the kids to avert their eyes when Michelle sees a scantily clad woman (or man, I guess) or magazine with objectionable subject material on the front. And then, they make sure to talk to them at home about why it is important to keep your mind and body pure so the kids don't develop a curiosity to look at what is so "nike".

So, I think what some of the people that commented on FB said is absolutely true - use the shows as a teaching example so that Elizabeth and Mary Claire grow up knowing the difference. Unless you're planning on moving them to a cabin in the woods for the rest of their lives, they will have to wrestle with these issues (and I know you know that) and in my opinion it's better to equip them with the tools to discern now. I'm certainly not advocating repeated viewings of the playboy channel or anything, but as they begin to question things, TV and real life can be good tools.

I remember when I was in high school, my biology teacher was an devout christian and refused to teach us evolution because she thought it wasn't true. So, I went to college completely unprepared to analyze and think critically for myself. When we taught together at HT, I tried to impart a different sense of wisdom to our students so that they wouldn't be afraid of issues and could develop reasons why they believed what they did.

You're a fantastic mother and being counter-cultural with raising your kids means that you're thinking critically about what you're teaching them, instilling in them, and leaving them with at the end of the day. Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion.