It was actually a confluence of events that spurred my comment about Halloween costumes. Let me back up.
A couple of weeks ago my hubby and I were watching TV–actually, I was reading and he was channel surfing. He hit upon the movie “Mean Girls,” and I paused to watch. There’s a scene where the Lindsey Lohan character, a newcomer at the school, goes to a costume party. She goes as a witch–long wig, long dress, gross makeup–and then realizes that the party is just an excuse for the girls to wear lingerie. Everyone else looks like walking Victoria Secrets’s ads.
That may have been a bit outlandish in 2004 when the movie was made, but it’s not so outlandish any more. I went to the dentist and listened as my hygienist cleaned my teeth and told me about a party her teenage daughter had been invited to. Seems that two girls showed up at that party in boys’ boxer shorts and bras as their costume. Thank goodness, the father at the home asked the girls to put on some clothes. The girls were surprised.
The next morning (or thereabouts) I’m eating breakfast and watching “Good Morning America,” and I see that they’re interviewing a woman who has written a book called “Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank.” She talks about how fashions for children–CHILDREN–have become overtly sexy.
Then I pick up my newspaper, and on the front page of the family section, there’s an article about the current crop of Halloween costumes–and they’re all sexy. There’s a naughty nurse, a sexy doctor, a wanton waitress, complete with fishnets. And these are for CHILDREN.
For years now, I’ve been doing an annual “Immodest Fashion Show” for the girls in our youth group (my hubby’s a youth minister). I’ve begun to notice a difference. In years past, when I explained that the reason we’re modest is because men/boys are turned on by sight in a completely different way than girls are, the girls accepted this thoughtfully and seemed to understand that it’s wrong to lead guys on in this way. I always tell them about my dogs, and about how my daughter used to tease them with greasy french fries, knowing they weren’t supposed to eat greasy french fries. (Neither am I, but that’s another topic.)
The difference these days is that girls don’t seem to care when I explain this. They WANT to turn the guys on, because to be sexy is to be popular.
This bothers me deeply on several levels. As a Christian, it goes against everything we’re taught regarding how we are to honor our brothers in Christ. As a woman, I find it completely demeaning to womanhood. How is a young man supposed to appreciate a woman’s intelligence, personality, charm, and wit if he is led to fixate on her body? And how are we supposed to teach girls that all of the above are valuable characteristics if physical beauty is the be-all and end-all to life? Good grief!
I’m all for slapping a little paint on an old barn, but there’s a huge difference between trying to look attractive and trying to look sexy.
I flip channels and see plastic surgery shows where sixteen-year-olds are getting breast implants for a birthday gift. I pick up PEOPLE magazine and find that my favorite actresses are clones of who they used to be–now their lips are puffed, their eyes pulled back, and they have that lizard smile that screams “plastic surgery.”
(And here I’ve just finished a book about a woman with no face at all, but that’s beside the point. I just think it’s an interesting juxtaposition. Maybe my subconscious at work.)
On the plane to Canada the other week, I watched “Georgia Rules” on the back of the seat in front of me. Sitting between two priests, no less. (You can’t make this stuff up.) The movie is rough, because ultimately it’s about a girl (Lindsey Lohan again, ironically) who’s been sexually abused by her father. She no longer knows that truth is or what love is, and it’s left her hard, crude, confused, and jaded.
THIS is what this sex-emphasis is doing to our children. You don’t have to physically sexually abuse children to achieve these effects, and I fear for the young ones coming up.
This year the trick or treaters who came to my door were mostly wee ones, but I did have a naughty nurse and a sexy waitress . . . and as they walked away, I leaned against the door frame and wanted to weep.