Sunday, February 12, 2012

Shakin' Bootie by the Time They're Ten

If a girl is "sexy" at 10, what is she by the time she's 12?  Slutty?  And by 16?

Let me explain my intensity.  My daughter called me and said she had just attended a fourth grade boys basketball game.  And there were 15 fourth grade girls comprising the cheerleader squad, pompomming them on. First of all, on frivolous note, why do the boys need cheerleaders?  Fourth graders aren't going to make any baskets, so what's there to cheer about?

Now it gets serious.  The 10 year old girls performed a halftime show.  They choreographed their routine to "I'm Sexy and I Know It."  REALLY?  10 year old girls are sexy?  And they're flaunting their supposed sexiness?  And the parents are encouraging and applauding their daughters in this endeavor?   How and what does a parent affirm?  "Nice pelvic thrust, Hillary!"  "You know what your Daddy likes!!" 

Here is a sampling of several lyrics, in case you're not familiar.  "I got passion in my pants and I ain't afraid to show it."  Have we plummeted to a moral low wherein we endorse aggressive sexual behavior in our 10 year old little girls?  Are we really prodding them on to cultivate, at 10, passion in their panties?  And there's no hint of modesty or self-restraint--"I ain't afraid to show it."

Another lyric-- " I pimp to the beat walking down the street. . . "  Are we grooming our  little girls to strut their stuff down the street?  Sorry, but they don't even have "stuff' yet to strut; I guess it's never too early for Mom and Dad to exert their decadent influence.  We're teaching our babies to shake their bootie.  Sadly, that's not all that's being shaken.  I fear that the very foundations of our ethical and moral integrity are also being shaken.

One more lyric--"I'm sexy and I know it; check it out, check it out."  Have we arrived at such a suave, nonchalant level of sexual sophistication that this is the trajectory on which we are launching our 10 year old little girls?  Are we now encouraging and sanctioning them as they invite boys and men to "check" them out?

We have objectified our daughters.  To objectify means, simply, "to treat, regard  or present as an object."  We do it all the time in other arenas.  In war, we do not regard the soldiers of the other country as "fathers" and "sons" and "someone's daughter."  That would  make it much more difficult to kill them; you can't attribute to them personhood.  We objectify them; they are "the enemy," "gooks," "Cong," "scum," "animals."   It's much easier to pull the trigger on objects.

 We are not only objectifying "the enemy;" we are doing it to our 10 year old girls, as well.  We are turning them into sex  "objects."   That may not be our intent, but it is most certainly the outcome.  Our girls are becoming mere bodies;  in particular, they are becoming body parts for them to shake and others to view and exploit.  And we applaud this in our gymnasiums.  God help us all.

Henry Nouwen, in The Way of the Heart,  quotes Thomas Merton, "Society. . . was regarded by the Desert Fathers as a shipwreck from which each single individual man had to swim for his life. . . these were men who believed that to let oneself drift along, passively accepting the tenets and values of what they knew as society, was purely and simply a disaster."  Nouwen then comments on this.  "Our society is not a community radiant with the love of Christ, but a dangerous network of domination and manipulation in which we can easily get entangled and lose our soul.  The basic question is whether we. . . have not already been so deeply molded by the seductive powers of our dark world that we have become blind to our own and other people's fatal state and have lost the power and motivation to swim for our lives."

Nouwen wrote that 32 years ago.  If we haven't already we are perilously close to being so "entangled" and "molded" that we have not only lost our soul but are glibly sacrificing our children on the altar of sexual conquest.

God help us all.

If you're one of those cheerleader parents I ask you to really look at your little girl.  Do you--can you--see her for who, not what, she is?  I beg you to ask her to forgive you for what, not who, you've made of her thus far.  It's not too late--yet.

 I hope all of us can "swim for our lives" and the lives of children we know and love, and chart for them a different course.  Can we teach them to swim toward self-respect and dignity?  Can we teach them to know the difference between loving themselves and flaunting their bodies?  Can we swim against the current of our culture and cherish and protect our children, bestowing honor and instilling moral sense within them?

God help us all. God save our girls.


Jan said...

This is so true, I have an 8 year old granddaughter whose mother thinks it is cute for her to wear shorty shorts, make up and high heels. It disturbs me terribly especially with my background. They think I am old and boring so to speak. I can not make them see the immediate danger let alone the long term. I could rant on this forever, instead I will agree and join you in prayer for the innocence of our girls.

Jessica M said...

It is sad the way that we oftentimes encourage young girls to grow up way too fast, losing their innocence prematurely.

Ugh..I just signed up my eight year old for cheerleading! It was the only thing she was interested in doing when it came to an extracurricular activity...I'm hoping their cheers are nothing like the ones mentioned in this post. If so, I'll have to pull her out.

~ Blessings

Steve said...

Jan, grace and peace to you as you try to exert a loving influence on your granddaughter.

Steve said...

Jessica, What a difficult position you're in. I hope you aren't forced into removing her. Maybe her cheerleading coach will have much better taste than the coach of the girls i referred to.

janaki nagaraj said...

India, known for its conservative culture, today, is breaking free. There is nothing wrong in keeping up with the rest of the world...but, when it comes to parental pressure on their kids, we don't lag behind too.

Steve said...

janaki, thank you for your input from a different cultural context. I agree with your viewpoint but extend a caution. There is nothing wrong in keeping up with the rest of the world. . . as long as the rest of the world isn't aboard the Titanic.
p.s. I would love to hear about what you mean when you refer to parental pressure in India. Thanks again.