Sunday, March 04, 2007

Hiltons and Lohans - a post by Jess

Over the reading break I spent some time relaxing in front of a new talk show that Rachel Ray (formerly from 30 Minute Meals on the food network) is the host and most of her segments are geared towards womens issues. This particular segment was about how girls as young as 5 or 6 are becoming obsessed and affected by body image from the media. They showed a short video clip of a group of seven 6 year old girls, with their teacher who had two pictures. One of an overweight cartoon woman and another of a thin woman; She asked the girls which one they would rather be, and which one they would rather be friends with. Every single one of them said that they would rather be the thin woman and they would only want to be friends with the thin woman. Their response was simply, no one likes fat people. The girls were also asked if they’d rather be fat and really smart or thin and stupid. All but one said they’d rather be thin and stupid. It breaks my heart that girls as young as 6 years old have this mentality and it’s because of the culture that they live in that they feel this way. The mothers of those seven girls were in the audience of the show. After they saw the video clip, they were shocked. Some of them blamed themselves, others blamed the media. The truth is it’s a combination of many things in our culture.

Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears did not invent “thin is in”, shallow materialism, partying and vapid sexuality. They are also product of our culture, not the inventors of it. And they become children's teachers only insofar as we abdicate that role. Sure, the fact that these girls seem to get an inordinate amount of attention, their every move chronicled and discussed, can't help but leave curious little girls wondering whether this may be an appropriate way to fulfill every little girl's fantasy of being adored. It's up to parents to be parents and educate thier daughters that not all attention is good attention, not everything that glitters is gold. But too often the parents are just as intrigued by these little pop tarts as the kids, and are too interested in being seen as "cool" to bother with teaching the boring moral lessons that will protect them from becoming little Lohans and Hiltons.

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Anonymous Josh James said...

Jess, I agree, girls today are being fed a frighteningly distorted example of womanhood. Parents are definitely to blame. They are responsible for protecting their children. They’re aim shouldn’t be to be seen as cool and down with the newest trends, but rather, to filter the world for their kids, especially when they are young. It is time for parents to step to the plate and accept the vocation of parenting as more than being their child’s best friend. I hope that parents don’t want their little girls growing up to be promiscuous, substance abusing, sex-symbols. But regardless of what parents hope for, a walk through the mall on a Saturday afternoon will clearly show the depths to which teen girls have sank in order to achieve what the media considers necessary for a teen girl live up to the morals (or lack there of) exhibited by Lohan and Hilton. As youth ministers we need to present the inherent value of modesty to these girls. Modesty as presented through God’s word, but also in the way we live our lives; making sure that teens noticed something different in us, something that transcends trends and is worth following.

4:25 p.m., March 06, 2007  

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