Commentary: American Girlhood Lost to Marketers
Alcohol Use Among High School Students
UNESCO/UNFPA Report calls for Explicit Sex Ed for All World's Children over Age Five
European Committee Upholds Pro-Abstinence Sex Education Program
Unique Youth Organized Pure Exposure Fashion Show
Countering the Culture: an online newsletter
Thousands of Under-Age Abortions in Scotland under Government Sex-Ed Push
Screening Teens in DC: How Many Parents Will Know?
World Congress Speaker Calls for “Monogamy Men” to Take Back the Culture…
American Girlhood Lost to Marketers. I finally had to sit down with my 11-year-old daughter for “the talk.” Despite my best efforts to preserve her innocence and protect her from growing up too quickly, I simply had to tell her some important facts of life.
No, we didn’t have a talk about how babies are born.
This talk was about America's assault on girlhood.
The time finally came for me to explain to my daughter the relationship between media and marketing and money, and why some people think nothing of exploiting girls if it increases their ratings, sells advertising and beefs up the bottom line.
It’s a conversation I wish I could have avoided, but unfortunately Miley Cyrus’ recent performance at the “Teen Choice Awards” forced my parental hand. And anyway, I’m not one to waste a teachable moment.
If you don’t know, Ms. Cyrus made headlines for her performance of a poll dance during the telecast of the “Teen Choice Awards,” one of those faux awards shows designed to sell commercials to corporate sponsors who want more opportunities to reach America ’s children. The awards themselves are simply popularity contests to determine teenager’s favorite singers, movie stars, athletes, deranged, drug-addicted celebrities… you get the drift.
So with her mom and dad proudly smiling from the first row, Ms. Cyrus slithered and slinked her way onto the stage followed by a gyrating band of back-up dancers and then bumped and grinded her way through a forgettable pop tune.
Ah, Miley Cyrus – poster child for the assault on American girlhood.
Sadly, Ms. Cyrus thinks she was exerting her adulthood and simply exuding the natural sexuality that emerges when one reaches the ripe old age of 16.
In truth, Ms. Cyrus is a pawn in a high stakes game of manipulation in which a bunch of rich, middle-aged men (read: Disney) reap the financial rewards of exploitation. After all, it’s her Disney job starring in the hit series “Hannah Montana” that creates the platform for the rest of her burgeoning career.
This is not an anti-corporate rant. I don’t believe morality in capitalism is the responsibility of the seller. In a free society, it is we buyers who hold the power of our purse strings. The only reason Miley and her ilk make money and headlines is because we’re out there as a culture buying all the “Hannah Montana” hype we can fit into a shopping cart full of school supplies.
Still, it’s only a determined parent who can preserve her daughter’s innocence in a media saturated world where people like Ms. Cyrus are idolized. If only she were the only issue.
Sadly, girls hear a drumbeat of vapid, shallow, hyper-sexual messages at every turn. Worse, marketers are skilled at finding ways to instill these values in our young girls because face it, insecurity sells product.
For example, this fall Nintendo will release a new game for its DS system called “The Clique: Diss and Make Up” based on the pathetically popular “Clique” books by Lisi Harrison. According to a press release for the game, “players assume the role of the new girl at school, taking on the challenges of climbing the social ladder to join the ultimate clique, the Pretty Committee… [it] is a game of social maneuvering where the player attempts to survive in one of the most harsh and unforgiving environments on Earth – Octavian Country Day School (OCD).”
From stiletto crib shoes to padded trainer bras, our culture is steadily eliminating a wholesome, innocent girlhood in favor of a perpetual state of “tween” — a term that refers to the years between 8 and 13 (a period of time formerly known as “childhood.”)
America’s girls deserve better.
[Marybeth Hicks, August 26, 2009]
Alcohol Use Among High School Students — Georgia, 2007
Excessive alcohol consumption contributes to an average of approximately 4,700 deaths among underage youths in the United States each year (e.g., from homicides, motor-vehicle crashes, and suicides) and an average of 60 years of life lost per death (1).
Although drinking by underaged persons (<21 years) is illegal in every state, youths aged 12–20 years drink nearly 20% of all the alcohol consumed in the United States (2). To characterize alcohol consumption by high school students in Georgia, the Georgia Division of Public Health analyzed data from the 2007 Georgia Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS).
This report summarizes the results of that survey, which indicated that 38% of Georgia high school students reported current alcohol use, and 19% reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.
Among students who reported current alcohol use, 44% reported that the usual type of alcohol they consumed was liquor (e.g., bourbon, rum, scotch, vodka, or whiskey), 58% reported that their usual location of alcohol consumption was at another person's home, and 37% reported that their usual source of alcohol was someone giving it to them.
These results underscore the need for further research in Georgia and other states on underage drinking behavior, motives, and access to alcohol, which could facilitate development of additional effective intervention strategies. Evidence-based interventions should be sustained and strengthened; these include enforcing the age 21 minimum legal drinking age; increasing alcohol excise taxes; limiting alcohol outlet density; and maintaining existing limits on the days when alcohol can be sold… [CDC, MMWR, Weekly, August 21, 2009 / 58(32);885-890, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5832a1.htm?s_cid=mm5832a1_e]
UNESCO/UNFPA Report calls for Explicit Sex Ed for All World's Children over Age Five
"Sexuality education," the report says, "is part of the duty…of education and health authorities and institutions"
A UN agency has issued a report calling for all children in all countries to be taught about sex, "reproductive" and "gender" issues. United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has issued a report, titled "International Guidelines on Sexual Education," that claims that international law requires States to "provide sexuality education in primary and secondary schools." The report says children should be given explicit information on sex from the age of five as an "entitlement".
"Sexuality education," the report says, "is part of the duty…of education and health authorities and institutions."
The report complains that children's knowledge of sex is hampered "by embarrassment, silence, and disapproval of open discussion of sexual matters by adults".
In what may be a swipe at Uganda's highly successful AIDS prevention programme focusing on abstinence and fidelity in marrige, the UNESCO report notes the "experience in Uganda" that "reveals that young people living with HIV are often discriminated against by sexual and reproductive health services and are actively discouraged from becoming sexually active."
As with most "progressive" demands for explicit sexual information for children, the rationale is to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy. This despite increasing evidence on the ground that such "education" increases these and other social ills.
"Few young people receive adequate preparation for their sexual lives. This leaves them potentially vulnerable to coercion, abuse and exploitation, unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV," the report says.
"It is therefore essential to recognise the need and entitlement of all young people to sexuality education."
The report was released in June in conjunction with the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), an organization which works for universal access to "reproductive health care." UNESCO has long been a major supporter of the United Nations' population control projects, including coercive abortion, in its overseas work. Also consulting in the report were "recognised experts" with UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, both organisations heavily invested in abortion and contraceptives as part of the international population control project.
Included in what the report calls its "rights-based approach", are issues like "sexual and reproductive rights," the role of women within families, the "right and access to safe abortion."
Despite insisting that parents should be included in consultations on age-appropriateness of the sex education programmes, the report repeatedly asserts that teachers and government-approved programmes are most responsible for children's well being.
"In a context where ignorance and misinformation can be life-threatening, sexuality education is part of the duty of care of education and health authorities and institutions.
"Teachers in the classroom have a responsibility to act in the place of parents, contributing towards ensuring the protection and well-being of children and young people."
Pdf version of the UNESCO report (Adobe required) http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001832/183281e.pdf
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
UNESCO Calls Abortion on Demand "Proper" Medical Procedure for Girls
[26Aug09, Hilary White, NY, www.LifeSiteNews.com]
European Committee Upholds Pro-Abstinence Sex Education Program.
The body that polices compliance with the European Social Charter, a human rights document binding on all states within the Council of Europe, has deemed a pro-abstinence sex education program used in many Croatian schools to be acceptable.
Alliance Defense Fund Legal Counsel Roger Kiska represented the organization that produced the curriculum, which provided his briefs to the government of Croatia to aid in its defense of the program, preferred by the vast majority of Croatian families over a radically leftist option.
"Parents should be the ones responsible for making educational choices for their children – not leftist activist groups," said Kriska. "We are pleased that the European Committee for Social Rights has upheld the right for parents to choose an option that does not violate the core religious and moral beliefs of these families.
"Had the groups that filed suit prevailed in their attack on this immensely popular program, the ramifications upon all of Europe and beyond could have been enormous."
One of the articles of the European Social Charter on education and health has been interpreted to mean that all Council of Europe member states must provide mandatory "sexual education" to children, although the nature of the curriculum or the extent to which it is to be taught has not been well defined. Three abortion and feminist groups brought suit against Croatia claiming that a sex education curriculum preferred by most Croatian families violated the charter. The curriculum teaches that abstinence is the only guaranteed means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
"The committee not only agreed that Croatia has cultural sovereignty over its moral issues, it also acknowledged the low prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies in Croatia as compared to the rest of Europe," Kiska explained. "The arguments of the groups attacking the program were politically motivated and had no credibility in demonstrating that the curriculum has resulted in any negative effects."
In its decision in International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights v. Croatia, the committee wrote that "it does not consider that the complainant organisation has adequately demonstrated that the education provided cannot reasonably fulfil the aim of raising awareness about sexual and reproductive health to the extent required by Article 11§2 of the Charter….
"The evidence at the Committee's disposal is insufficient to justify a conclusion that the sexual and reproductive health education overall is inadequate under Article 11§2 and in any event it has not been established by the statistical evidence or otherwise that Croatian girls are inordinately exposed to certain health risks."
The government of Croatia has since discontinued offering sex education curriculum itself, though the country is still obligated to the requirements of the charter. [STRASBOURG, France, August 25, 2009, www.LifeSiteNews.com]
Unique Youth Organized Pure Exposure Fashion Show
Goal is to provide attractive alternatives to problematic mainstream fashions
Nearly thirty models are keyed up and ready to walk the runway this Thursday evening as part of a unique fashion show organized by the summer youth interns at Campaign Life Coalition, Toronto. The goal of the show is to present today's youth with attractive alternatives to mainstream fashion trends that tend to degrade human sexuality.
Event coordinator Jenna Murphy spoke to LifeSiteNews
and explained the reasoning that compelled her to initiate the organization of the show. "Whether or not we realize it," she said, "the way we dress affects the way we behave, how we perceive other people, how we perceive ourselves. So if we dress in such a way whereby we are sending a message to the world that we respect ourselves and that we do deserve respect in return, I think that you are upholding a framework."
Murphy referred to the importance of the concept of modesty. She said, "If you take away the bottom rung of the ladder, which is modesty – how you present yourselves to the world – you are causing some kind of collapse."
The negative way women are treated in today's society was noted by Murphy. "Athough that is not entirely due to a lack of modesty," she said, "it does play a major part. It is a piece of a framework that has been missing. A lot of young women have lost their sense of identity; they are making themselves look how they think everyone wants them to look, and as a result of that they are not being treated how they deserve to be treated."
Murphy and her team are not alone in their convictions. TRENDS fashion is a nation-wide group of young people who have a similar mission, which they describe as being to, "empower ourselves to achieve fashion freedom: fashion that reflects our personal style and counteracts the objectification of women". Much to Murphy's delight, the group offered to become involved with the fashion show, giving valuable advice based on their own experience with such fashion-related endeavors.
The fashion show will occur at the Woodbine Banquet and Convention Hall in the Etobicoke region of Toronto and will be hosted by Toronto designer and TV personality Lisa Canning (see her blog here). In addition to an hour of runway time set to live music by guest DJs, Canning and youth speaker John Espadero will speak about the theme of dignity in fashion.
All proceeds of the fashion show will be donated to help women in crisis pregnancies and new mothers in need. The event will also include a silent auction offering art, jewelry, and clothing.
The organizing team reports that there has been surprise regarding the fact that some of the models will be as young as 12 or 13.
"Yes, some people have been shocked that we are featuring models so young," said Murphy, "but we only see that as a reflection of reality. Fashion choices start young, and with a lot of tween girls taking their cues from Beyonce (Knowles) and Lindsay Lohan, it's crucial that they are given an empowering alternative."
[18Aug09, Joseph Jalsevac, TORONTO, www.LifeSiteNews.com]
FRONTLINE’S COUNTERING THE CULTURE NEWSLETTER
Frontline Youth Communications of Columbus, OH, is introducing an online newsletter with information about everything from family matters and professional development to spiritual insights on social issues and current events.
Founder David Mahan explains: “…Our culture has become TOXIC, full of what I call "predators" that are silently KILLING OUR KIDS:…substance abuse, premarital sex, violence and ignorance. And because they can be found prowling around every aspect of our children's lives, ALL of our children are "at-risk". However, the degree to which a child is at-risk is determined by the degree to which responsible adults SURRENDER them to the predators within their community. This newsletter is for that "family" of responsible adults who have chosen to passionately contend for our children at any cost.”
Newsletter: http://campaign.constantcontact.com/render?v=001M3dfkFSPPU5FDgrP0glHFiYFULWsUu2shYFXVmfeKD27a5XGONuNb7bCz_GYWq__8KF-BDzWi1qVrLjNGZruNSa7m5WjnP_FOn77FYRBV3LImpHXpsto_0mvkU9rzMBc3UPMGjhGH74%3D ; Abstinence Clearinghouse, 25Aug09]
Thousands of Under-Age Abortions in Scotland under Government Sex-Ed Push
A Freedom of Information request has revealed that Britain's National Health Service (NHS) has sponsored dozens of abortions for underage girls in Scotland in recent years. The Daily Record newspaper reports that 87 13-year-old girls and eight 12 year-olds as well as almost 3,000 girls under 15 had NHS abortions between 2000 and 2008. The government has responded to the statistics with promises of still more sex education in Scotland for young people, despite statistics demonstrating the failure of the strategy.
Public Health Minister Shona Robison told media that the numbers were "cause for concern" and said that the government is working with health boards and local councils to ensure "appropriate" education on sex and relationships will be delivered in all schools.
The numbers were called "appalling and distressing."
Peter Kearney, told the BBC, "If anything, it indicates that the government's sexual health strategy, which was created by the last administration and perpetuated by the current administration, is working perfectly because part of that strategy was fast and instant access to widespread abortion services. Unfortunately, it is completely the wrong strategy."
"Until politicians and health professionals stop counting abortion as a solution and realize what an appalling problem it is, these numbers will probably get worse."
Kearny said that the statistics on abortions on girls under the legal age of consent indicated that a "serious question" should be asked of GPs in Scotland.
In 1997, at the time the Labour Party came to power under Tony Blair, a major campaign platform had been promises to cut Britain's soaring rates of teenage pregnancy, largely through the expansion of sex education programs for young people in schools. While contraception and abortion campaigners continue to tout the sex-ed strategy, a government pilot program was recently cancelled when it was discovered that girls targeted for intensive sex-ed were more than twice as likely to become pregnant than their peers not in the program.
The government's so-called 'abstinence-plus' strategy is to encourage under-age children to say no to sex until they are 16, while at the same time being given explicit information on sex and contraceptives. But critics have said that the British sex-ed programs expurgate mention of objective morality and say that young people are not to be given any clear moral direction. They are instead encouraged to "clarify their own values" and decide what is right "for them."
Norman Wells, head of Family Education Trust, wrote in his 2009 book "Too Much Too Soon," that the program of study for 11-14 year-olds makes several references to the need to teach 11-14-year-olds about sexual orientation, same-sex relationships and civil partnerships and recommends two of Britain's leading abortion and contraception advocates, the Family Planning Association and Brook as sources of help.
In 2006, a 14-year-old girl, Josie Parkinson, described the sex education provided in her local secondary school. "As a 14 year-old girl," Parkinson told the Daily Mail, "I have had to attend four talks in the past nine months from a woman from a family planning clinic.
"I have been taught three times how to put on a condom; how easily pupils can acquire condoms free at a clinic; how to recognise sexually transmitted diseases and have them treated confidentially at a clinic; and that we do not need to tell our parents, GP, the police or anyone else in authority a
bout being provided with contraception, or even having an abortion."
Parkinson added, "There was not one mention of abstaining or any discouragement of sex. At the first lesson we were told: 'As you know, it is unlawful for a girl or boy to have sex before 16. However, if you are under 16, we can still provide you with contraception and you do not need to tell your parents about it.'"
Doreen Massey, former director of the Family Planning Association and current chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children, said that sex education should teach children "to express love [sic] without embarrassment, and to find and give pleasure in sexual encounters when it is appropriate."
The age of consent in Scotland, England and Wales is 16.
Related: £6 Million Government Reduction Program Resulted in More than Twice as Many Teen Pregnancies
[17Aug09, Hilary White, Edinburgh, www.LifeSiteNews.com]
SCREENING KIDS IN DC: HOW MANY PARENTS WILL KNOW?
The Washington, DC Department of Health has announced it will be offering STD testing to all high school students this year. Following a short medical lecture, all students will be taken to the bathroom and given a paper sack containing a urine collection bottle. Sacks will then be collected with or without the sample for testing, thus providing confidentiality for the student.
However, it is not only the other students who will not know who was tested. Under this plan, DC parents are kept completely uninformed even of the results of the testing: the students themselves will be notified by phone and “encouraged” to talk to their parents.
While acknowledging the need for screening, officials in some other cities have a different view of parental involvement in testing, notification, and treatment.
William Lockridge, a member of the State Board of Education representing [New Orleans] Ward 8 explains: "We have Third World statistics in terms of our HIV issues, and…we do need to find a way to identify students so that we can help them." However, he continues, "Right now, if you play sports in a public school, you have to get permission from your parents. If you take a field trip, you have to get permission from your parents. Why would it be any less for this? . . . Only if the parent gives the consent upfront would I do this."
(Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/04/AR2009080403402_pf.html; Abstinence Clearinghouse E-Update, 26Aug09])
World Congress Speaker Calls for “Monogamy Men” to Take Back the Culture
Patrick Fagan, family scholar at the Family Research Council, told the World Congress of Families last week in Amsterdam that there are two competing cultures of sexual morality and that both have a profound effect on culture and public policy. Fagan called one culture “monogamous” and the other “polymorphous” and he warned that one is “snatching” children from the other.
Fagan told the audience that “the culture of the traditional family is now in intense competition with a very different culture. The defining difference between the two is the sexual ideal embraced [by each].” He described an “elegance in the simplicity of the ideals behind the two cultures: monogamy and polymorphous serial polygamy, or ‘polyamory' for short. “
Fagan said the “constitutional state was the product of monogamous culture [while] the expanding social welfare state is increasingly the product of polyamorous culture. The constitutional state is built upon a sense of the sacred and gives religion a public place even as it protects the freedom of religion [or no religion] for all… The social welfare state today is more comfortable with atheism or at least the removal of religion from the public discourse and the total privatization of religion and the sacred.”
On the life issues, Fagan said that in monogamous culture “all human life is sacred and protected, be it the pre-born, the handicapped or the elderly” while in polyamorous culture about one-third of the pre-born are killed by their mothers and the handicapped and the elderly are unwelcome and increasingly vulnerable to early elimination.”
Fagan warned that while monogamous culture is fertile and expanding and polyamorous culture is in below replacement fertility, that polyamorous culture is still expanding through their control of three areas of public policy: “education of children, sex education, and adolescent health.”
Fagan said that through such control polyamorous culture “snatches children away from their parents and away from monogamous culture in ways analogous to the Ottoman Turks of the 14th century who raided boys from Christian nations to train them as their own elite warriors, the Janissaries.”
Fagan said “this snatching is almost complete when these three program areas result in adolescents accepting and engaging in sexual intercourse” and that “every time the polyamorous programs and media succeed in drawing teenagers into sexual activity they have captured another Janissary.”
Fagan described efforts monogamous culture has used to fight back, especially the rise and success of abstinence education, but also explained the way polyamorous culture rose up and crushed it. He also pointed out that the campaigns against home schooling are an effort by the dominant polyamorous culture to stop parents from protecting their children.
In the end, Fagan called upon “monogamy men” to fight back.
He said the only answer is for them to fight for control “over what is his and his family’s just due, what his taxes fund, and what he can use in raising his children, control over the three big programs of childhood education, sex education and adolescent health programs.”
[20August09, Friday Fax, C-FAM, Volume 12, Number 36, Austin Ruse, DC, http://www.c-fam.org/publications/id.1379/pub_detail.asp]