Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That?

Posted: March 23, 2011 in america, christianity, culture, family, misc, secularism

The Wallstreet Journal recently posted an article entitled “Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That?”, a fascinating look at the sexualization of young girls in our culture.  Advertisers, various media sources, and sadly parents, are encouraging young girls to see (and promote) themselves as highly sexual beings.  The author, a mother, writes,

I continue to be amazed by the plunging necklines, built-in push-up bras, spangles, feathers, slits and peek-a-boos [worn by young girls]. And try finding a pair of sufficiently “prommish” shoes designed with less than a 2-inch heel.

All of which brings me to a question: Why do so many of us not only permit our teenage daughters to dress like this—like prostitutes, if we’re being honest with ourselves—but pay for them to do it with our AmEx cards?

This blunt assessment of what is quickly becoming unquestionably accepted in our society (even among Christians) is startling, especially since it is coming from a non-Christian perspective.  It seems that even those with a decidedly secular bent are beginning to see the damage that our culture of “everything goes” and “hold nothing back” entails, especially for young people.  And the author correctly identifies parents as an important factor contributing to this trend.

However, the author notes that many adults are “conflicted” and feel “regret” about their own pasts, especially relating to their sexuality.  She writes,

A woman I know, with two mature daughters, said, “If I could do it again, I wouldn’t even have slept with my own husband before marriage. Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?”

Later in the article she echoes this thought again:

Still, in my own circle of girlfriends, the desire to push back [against promiscuous sexuality] is strong. I don’t know one of them who doesn’t have feelings of lingering discomfort regarding her own sexual past. And not one woman I’ve ever asked about the subject has said that she wishes she’d “experimented” more.

And then she drops a bombshell – an incredibly honest insight into the minds of many parents:

So here we are, the feminist and postfeminist and postpill generation. We somehow survived our own teen and college years (except for those who didn’t), and now, with the exception of some Mormons, evangelicals and Orthodox Jews, scads of us don’t know how to teach our own sons and daughters not to give away their bodies so readily. We’re embarrassed, and we don’t want to be, God forbid, hypocrites.

Those words should break our hearts.  Sin leading to more sin, with the realization coming too late.  We now live in a culture in which those who are supposed to know right from wrong, good from bad, safe from dangerous, are unable/unwilling to guide those who need guidance.  Parents, who should be wise protectors of their children, have become nothing more than foolish enablers in their desire to be “friends”.

As Christians, we should lament and resist this tragic trend.  Children are a gift from God to be cherished, nurtured, and led.  To allow them to degrade themselves in this way (and in the process, sin against God) is to neglect our Christian calling.  Furthermore, to remain passive in regard to upholding biblical standards in our families, due to regret or feelings of hypocrisy stemming from past mistakes, simply compounds our sin.

And we must not too quickly brush this warning aside, thinking that it doesn’t apply to us.  Although evangelical Christians have held more closely to the standards of the Bible than the prevailing culture, we still, if we’re honest, must admit that we are often very influenced by the culture around us, even in regard to our standards for sexuality.  It’s hard not to be!  As the author comments in the interview, “We are living in a pornographic culture…It’s a debased, cheap culture, because sex sells.”  Many Christian parents, to their shame, allow their children to dress in the very ways described in this article.  But we must strive for something better, something purer, something more godly.

The author closes with a warning, and I think it applies to Christian parents.

[I]t’s easy for parents to slip into denial. We wouldn’t dream of dropping our daughters off at college and saying: “Study hard and floss every night, honey—and for heaven’s sake, get laid!” But that’s essentially what we’re saying by allowing them to dress the way they do while they’re still living under our own roofs.

Parents, act like parents…for your children’s sake!

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