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« Teachers Gone Wild | Main | Re: Don’t let ’em get you, Miley »

April 29, 2008

Which of these is not like the other?

Is it possible that the answer is d) none of the above?

a) Miley Cyrus' provocative Vanity Fair photos

b) "The Cellular Generation"

c) "Officials say 31 teen sect girls are pregnant or had baby"

Do you see any correlations or disconnects in how our society/culture views these three situations?

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I'll bite, and hope others chime in here, because Martha's making a great point, or eliciting one (not to presume). The angle I'd emphasize though, is that of media/public reaction. Absolute outrage and disgust at the discoveries at the LDS sect in TX. And while there's appall or at least disappointment by some at Miley's VF photos (and worse, her personal pics) and of the phenomenon of teens creating their own p*rn and passing it around, in general, actually, those shouldn't be surprising.

From clothing made for tweens that's more appropriate for street-walkers, to their idols and their inappropriate decisions about dress and performance, we sexualize our young girls and then are "shocked" when they follow up on expectations. Or we have these lenient standards about dress/behavior for teens/tweens, and then get up in arms (rightly) for teens in a sect being married/pregnant. (Using "we" loosely here.)

I'm not expressing well. But yes, there's a disconnect between the wider culture's loose standards about chastity and that culture's disdain for a different one (LDS) marrying/impregnating girls of the same age.

It's a good time to look in the mirror and remove a large log...er, forrest.

Steve (SBK)

I agree with CLH.
The correlation (in our society, briefly) is the underlying assumption that women are their bodies which are to be sexy and used only for pleasure or power. Anytime one or the other is overridden, something is wrong. Children, modesty, restraint, commitment etc. are better left out of the equation - as they reduce pleasure and power.


There are multiple disconnects here:
- The FLDS women don't dress provocatively, and certainly wouldn't be photographed showing skin.
- The cellphone pictures are shared generally among people of the same age. Anyone, including (dirty) old men, can purchase Vanity Fair or go online for it.
- In the broader culture, sex between teenagers is one thing, and sex between a teenager and a much older adult is another.
- In the broader culture, allowing a teenager to "express" their sexuality is one thing; having sex is another; and having children is a third.
- What happened in Texas was entirely private until recently.
- Miley made a lot of money and got publicity from her incident. It's hard to see benefit for any of the other girls.
- Even when separated from the mainstream media as in Texas, girls are not safe from sexual mistreatment.
- We're awfully worried about the impact of Miley's actions on other young girls, but apparently Ms. Cyrus is quite behind the curve.

One of the connecting threads is that all the women, Miley included, are a part of a culture that devalues and dehumanizes them by seeing them as primarily sex objects.

Katharine Eastvold

Another disconnect I see is the disconnect our culture seeks to create between sex and having children. Biologically, of course, the two go together (although with birth control and abortion, we try pretty hard to keep them separate). But our culture does seem to express horror and shock and sadness at teens having babies (whether in a polygamous forced marriage on an FLDS ranch or in the wider society), while sexualized dress and attitude and behavior (and in many cases, engagement in sexual acts themselves) are condoned. In other words, everything's cool and hip until a baby comes along.

Unlike some Christians, I'm not unequivocally anti-birth control and I think there is a place for certain kinds of contraceptives within marriage. But I do mourn the practical effect of the wide availability of birth control and the eroding of the stigma associated with its use, which is that teenage girls get the message it's fine to have sex as long as you don't get pregnant. Clearly, for most in the mainstream media, the shocking part of the FLDS story is that these young girls were bearing children, and that the sexual acts were allegedly coerced - not just that they were sexually active.


Gina Dalfonzo

Excellent point, Katharine.

I've been reading about an upcoming ABC Family series about a teenage girl who gets pregnant. I keep wondering if the reaction to this will be angrier and more vehement than the reaction to, say, "Gossip Girl" has been. Based on the truths about our culture that you've mentioned, I wouldn't be at all surprised. Let 'em have sex, but don't dare talk about the results!

(I'll be keeping an eye on this and may expand it into a full post later.)


"One of the connecting threads is that all the women, Miley included, are a part of a culture that devalues and dehumanizes them by seeing them as primarily sex objects."

True enough, but far too many "daughters of Eve" seem to be quite willing to play along. Some women can and do use their sexuality to get ahead socially or professionally, to compete for male attention, or just to gratify the vain desire to be the center of attention. (In no way do I blame the FLDS girls; they were just children. Miley's another matter).

Not many women want to hear it, and the men may think it unchivalrous, but it is soundly Biblical to maintain that both men AND women are fallen sinners individually accountable to God. (Just like some women are slobs, too, Mark!)


Having rejected God's transcendent moral absolutes, they create arbitrary, changing 'absolutes', as a friend of mine wrote "infallibility may not have the shelf-life it used to, but it is still infallible while it lasts"

Rejecting marriage and sex within marriage as pleasing to God, and favoring sex outside of marriage, but establishing age rules based upon notions of competition and assumed experience levels in seduction being tagged to age, they then are outraged at polygamous marriage, which while is most certainly not the Biblical ideal, not even close(!), was nonetheless allowed by God. Fornication never was. They would have had no problem at all with those teen pregnancies if they were unmarried girls in government schools.

Grizzly Bear Mom

Scripture does not approve polygamy, it refers to it and the resulting complications which follow, just like it does to all other sin. The only Patriach described as happy in marriage was Israel, who was monogmous.

Consent laws were established to protect the guilible. Those will too little life expereince (youth), IQ, sobriety, etc may not give consent, thank goodness!

But to compare the FLDS girls with mainstream society is neither valid or truthful. Yes many girls have underage sex but not because they were brainwashed or forced into doing so, as the FLDS does.

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