Pedophilia Chic; Criminal Parenting?

Joe Carter wrote earlier this week, about how Vogue has sexualized little girls to the extreme–and served up a platterful of fantasy for pedophiles–while intoning “innocence” and “playing dress up.”

And in this picture, I can actually buy it:

I’m not easily shocked, but now Deacon Greg links to a batch of these appalling pictures, and yes, color me shocked:

Look, I know the world is full of dark, evil places, none darker or more easily conformed to evil than the human heart itself, but I look at these pictures and I can’t help thinking, what the hell is wrong with the parents of these little girls? Some of these children are 6 or 7 years old!

Someone comes up to you and your beautiful daughter and says, “I will pay you to let me dress her up like a 24 year old and pose her seductively under a Christmas tree, as though she is a present to be opened,” and you don’t smack the crap out of that person?

You take the money and let him do it? You take the money and become part of the whole social devolution within society that is normalizing perversion at an alarming pace–even unto “tolerating” incest.

You take the money and tell yourself that you are not selling your child as a sexualized object serving grotesque imagings, but that you are somehow, serving “art”?

I suspect that the people who will applaud and defend these photographs are the same people who quite rightly decry every decades-old revelation of the reprehensible, sinful exploitation of children at the hands of priests and churchfolk, while having nothing much to say about the thousands of new cases of sexual abuse of our kids which occur each year in our public schools.

Look, my church has sinned and admits it with great shame; in an ongoing season of penance, it has taken solid steps to insure that children are protected and that such horrific acts are never again tolerated or not acted upon swiftly, and with justly harsh action.

But can we at least all get on the same page about what constitutes the sexual exploitation of children? Can we stop making exceptions about what it is, if we can put scarequotes around it and call it “art”?

Pedophilia is a very grave, life-destroying sickness; it robs children of trust, of innocence, of a feeling of personal safety; it inflicts upon them a life-long sense of failure, complicity and fault. This is true whether the sin is perpetrated against them by priest, or parents or yes…even fashion photographers. And the rate of recidivism, of pedophiles returning to their sick, criminal ways is nearly 100%. A heart given over to that stuff is rarely able be fully cleansed of it.

I don’t see how these pictures can be tolerated, praised or brushed off by a society that claims to want the best for children, and pays lip service to protecting them from sexual molestation and exploitation.

Even if they did originate in France, where people like Roman Polanski are celebrated.

Your thoughts?

UPDATE: There is a lot of buzz going on right now about the Discovery Channel working with the Church to talk about exorcisms, and also about the upcoming release of this film. I’m beginning to think the whole society needs an exorcism!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Jl33

    Welcome to the world of what faithful parents are going through trying to raise a teenage daughter in this society….it’s a nightmare trying to raise modest, chaste daughters with this kind of mainstream filth in the world.

  • Momma Kyle

    Amen, cannot believe that you wrote this post.

    I came across a show last night “Toddlers and Tiaras”—- (yes, I need a life) —Holy Cow—these moms (and sometimes dads) were painting up tiny girls and teaching them to dress and dance provocatively—-unreal—can anyone say “Jon Bonnet Ramsey”?

    Honestly—tiny girls—and are you sitting down—BOYS—all painted up and prancing around. Scads, scads of money being spent on these tiny tyrants.

    This seemed to be taking place down south—in towns that looked like Katrina had just swept through. The kids were beyond bratty—scary —-girls biting the other contestants—moms gloating when their child wins (and often pulling the crown off their daughters heads and placing it one their own). Honestly—never seen anything remotely like it.

    It was like watching a train wreck—knew it was wrong—but couldn’t look away.

    [I bet many of those people are Christians, too, who aren't even thinking about Christ in those moments... -admin]

  • Christine the Soccer Mom

    They act like pimps, selling off their children to the highest bidder. If my daughter comes home from dance telling me she’s going to be shaking things that ought not be shaken in a recital, I’m going to protest, and if it isn’t changed, I’ll pull her from the number and eat the cost of the costume.

  • doppelganglander

    I think you’ll be very interested in this. A number of my friends were involved in the making of this film, which was made to raise awareness and combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). “The Candy Shop” is an allegory of CSEC in which little girls are lured into a shop, only to be turned into “candy” for adult customers. It is not graphic but it is effective and somewhat disturbing.

    Please spread the word.

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  • archangel

    Understand that the “abomination” spoken of in scripture is child centered. By destroying the child, one destroys humanity. As I have said many times in related topics the abomination has entered the holy place. The “holy place” can be the physical, such as the church proper as I have attested too before. But since the soul is also considered a “holy place” where the Holy Spirit wishes to dwell and give it life… it can be said that the abomination has entered the collective “holy place” of humanity’s soul.

    The only excorcism for humanity’s twisted soul will be the final one. Humanity has always been lost without God. Remove the Spirit which gives life to the soul which gives life to the body and you get what you are seeing now. Humanity is dying… it just doesn’t know it.

  • Kris, in New England

    It is sickening; those pictures are an assault to the eyesight.

    And even worse – it is certain that the parents of those children sat by for the photo shoot, much like the horrible parents in that “Toddlers and Tiaras” show – applauding their little princesses for looking so pretty, playing at dress-up.

    (Momma Kyle – you were kind in your description of that T&T show. It really is grotesque.)

  • Mandy P.

    I have an 11-month-old daughter and if I could put a chastity belt on her and lock her in her room until she’s 30 and not mess her up by doing so I would. Seriously. My kids are both very small and I’m honestly terrified of what the future holds for them. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is sexualized now. How on earth do you shelter your kids from the evil without leaving them unprepared and ill equipped to handle the rest of the world? That’s something my husband and I are going to have to struggle with as they grow up.

  • Jeff

    I’m starting to feel like you need a crucifix with you every time you leave in the morning and hold it up to the world. Those are some sick photos.

  • August

    After reading this and seeing the pictures, well I just didn’t get your outrage. I thought about it for a little while because, well, if everyone else is outraged, maybe I should be outraged.
    Then I realized the girls in the pictures aren’t ‘sexualized.’ I am a man and I know exactly the sort of pictures that are meant to attract my attention. The girls are ‘modelized’- and the expected audience? Women! Indeed, models often look like pretty little corpses, for such is the emphasis on clothes in these publications that they tend to kill off any sort of humanity for fear a breath might make the fabric blurry.

    It’s certainly a dangerous industry to expose young children to though. Perhaps the outrage has more to do with what one has to assume happens in the lives of these little ones rather than the photos themselves.

  • LogicalUS

    Don’t worry, it is the next “civil right” to be forced upon this nation.

    We already have the Huff Post arguing about the unjustice of arresting the Leftist perp at the Ivy League university who was diddling his daughter.

    Give it a decade and YOU WILL BE THE BIGOT and SHUNNED for not recognizing the beauty of some demented Leftist absconding with your adolescent child.

    Don’t pedophiles have a “RIGHT” to define for themselves what is marraige and who are you to object to their “beautiful” expression of “LOVE”? All good Leftists know that it is the parents who don’t teach their children to be tolerant of abnormal, destructive behavior who are the real danger and all good Leftists would much rather have these children in the hands of a “loving” pedophile than such horrible intolerant parents.

  • tim maguire

    I agree with August about these pictures–these children are not really sexualized. But maybe part of my comfort with these pictures is based on how tame they are. I’m thinking little girls on the street wearing pants (almost certainly bought by their mothers), with “juicy” printed on the ass, I’m thinking of the burlesque two little girls did on a stage at a street fair in Toronto.

    It’s part of the absurdity of pedophilia laws. We are taught to look at children as sex objects, many parents willingly, even eagerly participate in the sexualizing of their children, and then we react with horror when some child is victimized.

  • archangel

    Actually, the first battle after gay “marriage” will be FOR polygamy. It’ll be the civil right denied because its part of some very old faiths (which need not be mentioned) and cultures to have more than one wife.

    I can hardly wait for Gloria Alred to argue for that one.

    That will be followed by pedophile followed by pets. In Japan they want to marry cartoon characters. Its all about the dehumanization of humanity through the abuse of children and the sacrament of Marriage. The battlelines are drawn and should be pretty obvious. But since we have to turn the other cheek I guess we can’t fight back.

    (I’m kidding) Of course we fight back. HARD!!!! Just thought I’d get my snark on with a cheeky comment. ;)

  • Brian English

    “How on earth do you shelter your kids from the evil without leaving them unprepared and ill equipped to handle the rest of the world? That’s something my husband and I are going to have to struggle with as they grow up.”

    That is really the critical question today facing the parents of young children — How do you get your children ready for a fight without revealing to them what they will be facing?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    August, the pictures might not seem sexual to you, but to a pedophile, yes, pictures of children with heavy make-up, and revealing clothing, would, indeed, be sexual.

    And these pictures aren’t being done for adult women. Adult women are simply too big for these fashions; they have adult bodies, they couldn’t fit in these things, or wear them to work, or on a date. These costumes are all for fantasy; whose fantasy, is the question.

    Anchoress, our society does, indeed, need an exorcism, starting with our mass media, and the UN, which created far more pedophilia scandals than the church, but was never really called on it.

  • Jeff

    The second photo is clearly sexual. There is a nauseating “come hither” quality to it

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    If you want to see models modeling clothing aimed to appeal to adult women, pick up a Chadwick’s of Boston catalogue, or one from Talbot’s, or L.L. Bean or a copy of “Lucky” magazine; these are aimed at showing clothing to women. These Vogue ads aren’t.

    They’re pushing a fantasy—not a female one. What kind of fantasy? You tell me!

  • Mandy P.

    In response to Brian,

    That’s what we’re struggling with. And even people who should know better (friends and family) think we’re nuts for being worried about the trash that’s coming from popular culture. It’s disheartening that so many people don’t see anything wrong with the extreme sexualization and selfishness so abundant today.

  • Momma Kyle

    Dear August,
    Please look at that 2nd picture, if you would, the dress is slipping off the shoulder—the girl’s expression—it reminds me of one of the 40′s “pin up” picures of Jane Russel under a haystack.
    It is meant to be provocative. This is not an accident–it is deliberately sensual.
    This is one time that I would love to be wrong, but I don’t think so.

  • Erika

    Okay, I want more from everyone. Brian English just hit the nail on the head: the crucial question facing parents of young children. How on earth do we prepare them for the fight? Photos like these make my soul cringe as I paste my own children’s faces onto them. Ugh.

    So, let’s get more concrete: Do I make my three small daughters dress like Amish? Do I slowly expose them to the “world” and its vanities in order to show them “What Not to Wear”? No Disney princesses? Any concrete suggestions out there from parents of nuns? Please?!?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    You tell your kids the truth, bluntly, and telling them exactly what’s out there.

    You don’t dress them as Amish (unless you’re Amish yourself.) I think Disney princesses are okay. Check the internet for modest clothing for little girls, it is out there. Also, check out the schools. If it’s considered hip to be a “slut” at your kid’s school, and to dress like the current hip pop stars (which is trashy), it might be time for a transfer, or home schooling.

    Also, take your daughters to the library, encourage them to learn, expose them to good literature—something that gives them a worldview other than, “It’s fun to act sexy, and attact boys!”

    I realize this doesn’t cover everything, but it’s the best I can do at the moment.

    (Anchoress, back in the weeks leading up to the Christmas rush, did you follow the scandal at Amazon, which published an Ebook titled “The Peophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure?” It also came under fire for publishing “Loved Boys, and the Men who Love them”, a boy lover’s guide. Something’s definitely going on.)

  • Momma Kyle

    Dear Erika,
    That is a very good question–the easy part is to dress your own children modestly (Land’s End, LL Bean, Hannah Anderson), but that does not address the assault from a sexualized culture.
    Honestly, some well-meaning parents out there are allowing outfits that 20 years ago would have been “streetwalker outfits” in the interest of “popularity” for their children.
    It is interesting that you mention nuns—of course, nothing could be more modest than the habit—but Audrey Hepburn and Ingrid Bergman never looked more lovely than when they played the roles of nuns.

  • Mandy P.

    Ericka, I’m just as baffled as you are. I realize evil has always existed. But it seems that even 20 or 30 years ago people would instinctively recoil at outright immorality. Stuff like this would never have been tolerated by society at large and the people promoting it would have been shunned.

    Now people look at you like you’re nuts when they find out that you still do recoil at that stuff. I’ve been called a prude, up tight, a Puritan, etc,
    for being appalled by this stuff and for wanting to
    keep my kids away from it.

    But I also don’t want to cripple my kids by leaving them unprepared to deal with the world as it is. I guess I’m lucky that my kids are so young (4 years and 11 months) so I’ve got time to figure it out before they’re totally bombarded with the messages and the peer pressure.

  • Ruth Ann

    Mandy, you actually do not have too much time. When my daughter was six she saw pornography with her little six year old friend at the friend’s grandparents house! That was 26 years ago and I’m still upset!

  • Sherry A

    As a former teacher of children who suffered the trama of having been abused, (to the point of being hospitalized for mental illness), I can tell you the road back for these kids is achingly hard.

    They have lost the capacity to trust adults or have appropriate adult/child relationships, frequently attempting to curry favor with immature or babyish actions or overly sexual or provacative behavior. They do not understand that not every adult is a predator or that they should not respond as prey. Their baseline is so off the standard bell curve that getting them to see a cigar as a cigar so to speak is difficult.

    So what can we do? 1) Protect and cherish the innocent –this means watching what we watch, watching what we say, watching what we listen to, watching what we allow into our homes via computer, tv, radio and news –turn off the machines and limit access for yourself and them.

    2) Get them involved in activities that are age appropriate and with friends and in a setting that you have access to and knowledge of –sports –know the coach know the coach know the coach, ballet, know the teachers, know the teachers, know the teachers. Go to the games and practices and in the case of dance class, sit in on classes occasionally. You can’t ever phone it in.

    3) Play with them, eat with them, be present. Pray for them, pray with them.

    4) Read “The Kiss” to them, read them stories of great love. Over time, tell them your courtship story and what makes your married romance so sacred, so wonderful, so worth waiting for to know as a long and luxurious novel with a compelling plot.

  • Tommy@Israel

    To understand the reason why people allow their children to be photographed like this, watch the movie called Bruno with Sasha Baron Cohen. It was forbidden in cinemas but it’s worth watching anyway despite a great number of some very open scenes. In thuios film you can see what parents are ready to do with their children to get some money or to get some fame. I was shocked.

  • Ex Judge

    This is EXACTLY why I resigned from my fairly lucrative job with a National Dance Competition Company. Over the 15 years I was a judge in these competitions I saw things get progressively worse. Like a frog in a pot of water that is slowly heated — I became (ashamedly) oblivious to the accelerating decay.
    A couple of points I would like to make:
    1) It is NOT just the south . This is a national — across the board — acceptance of child sexualization and the promotion of it. (I can’t comment with any knowledge about international trends). Some areas seemed “behind” the trend just a tad. And, may I say, thank God for that.
    2) In response to another commenter – these girls (at least in the competitive dance world) are not being “modelized” for women. We heard so many men (Daddy?) yell, “Shake it baby!” that it became a running joke among judges. I am sorry, but a male voice yelling, “Shake it, baby!” or “Oh, yeah . . . work it!” to a 6, 7, 8 or 9 year old should be illegal . . . . especially when the child is dressed like a burlesque dancer in fishnets and sequins, undulating and winking. These days they call it jazz.
    I tried not to leave my job, at first. I tried, foolishly, to change things. I then gained a reputation for being the prudish judge. Only my M.A., resume and experience saved me from being let go. I made numerous comments about the inappropriateness of choreography, costuming and music choices.
    Sometimes I was edited by the owner or her minions. Sometimes I was told to rewrite score sheets.
    And here is the part that finally did me in. Many score sheets with my comments did get through. Teachers, parents, students . . . . did not care.
    They are riding the wave of the times and buying into the normalcy of sexualizing young children.

    I love dance and there is still some beautiful dance out there in competitions. But I had to leave because it has become corrupt and tawdry for the most part. If you want to win . . . 95% of the time you have to have the sexiest dance.
    THIS IS A NATIONAL TREND and it is NOT JUST the company I worked with (which is the biggest one, btw).

  • lethargic

    Ericka and Mandy, re raising children — sons,, also need protection from popular culture — really boils down to spending YOUR time with YOUR children; some would call it sheltering them. I say young plants need sheltering until they are grown enough to stand up to the wind and heavy rain, so give them that grace period for strengthening and nourishment.

    Don’t watch TV that you wouldn’t want them to see; don’t listen to music that you wouldn’t want them to listen to. Raise them up in a wholesome environment; evaluate every pop culture item that’s younger than the 50′s; some are fine, others not. When clashes crop up, as they will, explain withOUT excrutiating detail that so-and-so is something our family does not do because we do thus-and-such because of our faith (or whatever reason). If you send them off to school, be there every day when they get home and sit down with them and talk with them about their day; raise them with the ethic that we always do our best at school or elsewhere. Be active in THEIR interests and activities — be the parent who volunteers as scout leader or whatever.

    Be careful about where you send your children unescorted. Until they’re reliable enough to make good decisions, don’t send them over to Sally’s house alone unless you know Sally’s family pretty well. Become the neighborhood house that all the other kids want to come to because it is loving and fun. Make cookies every day if you need to.

    Think 50′s culture. Princesses are good; Bratz are bad. Unfortunately, I had to take my daughter out of ballet because the booty-shaking was de rigeur in that area (in ballet !?!); she started piano instead; there are sometimes sacrifices.

    You can do this. It will consume your life for a number of years, but not forever. Their souls are forever. Don’t forget to pray for wisdom.

  • NanB

    Vogue has sunk to an even lower level! It is very difficult to raise children in our sex-saturated society. The clothes, media, music, and billboards are all geared to the objectification of women.

  • tim maguire

    For “what to do about it,” I think the more direct approach is in order. Every chance we get, decent people should shame companies for sexualizing children, and don’t shy away from the “p” word when doing it.

    As for parents who do this to their own children, there’s not as much to be done about that. Make it known in your own circle that you don’t think it’s ok. And don’t shy away from the “p” word when doing it.

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  • Brian English

    “So, let’s get more concrete: Do I make my three small daughters dress like Amish? Do I slowly expose them to the “world” and its vanities in order to show them “What Not to Wear”? No Disney princesses?”

    I think you need to try to instill the idea that “stylish” does not mean “nearly naked.” My daughter is only seven, so I am still working on this one, but promoting the idea that they are special because they don’t dress and act like most of the other kids is a promising approach.

    I would not selectively expose them to wordly things to try to build up a resistance because that exposure is going to happen when they are out in the world. Shelter them when you can, and when they inevitably get exposed to sleaze, explain to them why it is wrong AND what the right thing to do is.

    I think the Disney Princesses are fine (just don’t let them dress like Pocahontas).

    “You tell your kids the truth, bluntly, and telling them exactly what’s out there.”

    This is the approach I have taken with my sons (11 and 9). If they come to me with a question about something they have seen or heard, I explain to them what I think about the issue and, if it is some type of harmful behavior, why I think people engage in that behavior and why the Church warns us about such behavior.

    Once again, I think promoting the idea that we are different because we do not do what everyone else does, that we are the counter-culture, is something that can appeal to kids.

  • tnxplant

    Twenty-four years ago someone told me I should enter my then three year old daughter in “beauty pageants”. My instinctive reaction was to look at the woman as if she were insane, say “over my dead body”, and turn the other way and leave quickly. I’ve never regretted that decision. The pageants and many dance recitals for little ones are vulgar and sick.

    And I totally agree with everything lethargic wrote.

  • Elaine S.

    Disgusting, but actually not new, as evidenced by this column from today’s Chicago Tribune online:

    The column is about a short-lived teen magazine from the early 1970s that was, in the words of one pundit, aimed at giving 13-15 year old girls “tips on dressing slutty, snagging men in their 20s, and generally living the life of a 70s Sunset Strip groupie.”

    Believe it or not, the teen magazine’s advice columnist told a letter writer who was concerned about her 15-year-old younger sister sneaking around with older guys to lighten up and go find herself a guy instead. This was in 1973, mind you.

    If it’s any consolation to you all, the Trib columnist — a card-carrying liberal on most issues — and all his commenters agreed that this magazine was horrible. I doubt they’d approve of what Vogue is doing here.

  • CV

    Writer Mark Shea often uses the following expression:

    “Show me a culture that despises virginity and I’ll show you a culture that despises children.”

    Sadly, I think that is all too applicable here.

  • beethovenqueen

    oh and don’t forget all the photos of little girls eating vanilla ice creme cones (there are tons of them!). The ice cream is melty and the girls have this white, liquidy stuff all around their mouths that are usually open over the mound of ice cream left on the cone…

    or the girls who just couldn’t drink milk without getting it all around their mouths…

    The insinuation of what was done to them by men is disgusting and horrific.

    Women have to protest all of this crap and start organizing, showing some real anger and real boycotts. the average age for boys to begin consuming porn is now 10. If we do nothing but complain to each other, pretty soon all of this will be the norm for the next generations.

  • Beth

    As to how to raise kids to be prepared to face the world…..maybe we should re-think about how much of the world really MATTERS for them to ‘face’. Their innocence is hugely important and to keep that sacred as long as possible is GOOD. Pishaw on those who think we need to prepare them for the ‘real world’–expose them to what is out there. GETTING THEM TO HEAVEN is our job as a parent. They will be exposed to the smut just by going to the grocery store for crying out loud. If you have explained the beauty of the human body how God created it and means for it to be they will see quickly that the ‘real world’ isn’t a place they want to live. We need to make our own world. In that I mean we need to circle the wagons with like-minded families and to heck with the rest of the world.
    Yeah, it’s not a very Christian-sounding comment but I certainly don’t think Jesus would advocate that we just let our kids go with the flow here….

  • Margo

    This is another example of the Devil attacking humanity by attacking innocence and duping people in the process by preying on their weaknesses, which, in this case, are the parents’ egos. If there is no sanctifying grace flowing through their minds and hearts, these parents will never be able to connect the dots and see the obvious; they’ll never be able to recognize this as a moral outrage, not “art”, until (God forbid) one of their little fantasy Vogue girls becomes some predator’s real life fantasy.

    Yes, Anchoress, I share your belief that society needs an exorcism. It’ll probably take a few at the rate we’re going.

  • Sophia

    It is with great anguish, born of direct experience, that I feel compelled to voice a disagreement with the statement that:

    “it [our Church] has taken solid steps to insure that children are protected and that such horrific acts are never again tolerated or not acted upon swiftly, and with justly harsh action.”

    I learned from very sad experience that what are routinely referred to as child protection programs are really no more than “diocese protection programs”… designed primarily to prevent dioceses from getting sued. I have come to believe, very much against my will & desire to believe otherwise, that what are referred to here as “solid steps” are really just an exercise in image over subtance. Unfortunately, I now find it naive to think otherwise.

    I wish with all my heart that I could believe otherwise, but I can’t. I wish I did not find this to be the case, but I did…and in what is considered to be one of the more genuinely faithful (as in, faithful to the Magisterium) dioceses as well. (That is not said to condemn the truly faithful but to say the problem is really really big and perhaps intrenched beyond the reach of the truly faithful who would have these outrages condemned.)


    Yet, after so much discouraging and rightfully disheartening discourse here I would like to offer some thoughts for reflection and consideration in the direction of hope. I believe that what is needed most…and most urgently needed… to counter the awefullness, the crimes, of sexual exploitation of the innocent are good and strong husbands & fathers. Spiritual fathers (husbands of the Church & fathers to Her children) as well as physically married husbands and fathers. In short, we (meaning both women & children…and the culture at large as well I suppose) need our men to be good. We need them to be good, strong and courageous, and willing to love & protect rather than use & exploit those who naturally look to them for a kind of strength unique to men…not the bullying kind of strength, but a courageous & truly loving strength.

    John Paul ll had a lot to say on the subject. (I hope we haven’t forgotten the wisdom he gave for all those years.)

    In short, I think what I am trying to say is that we need men to take the initiative, lead the way in protecting. Without such we have every reason to be afraid of so much of the ugly & distructive stuff we see around us. How ’bout some good old fashioned chivalry?!? This woman would welcome it (and I dare say/hope that perhap there are men who would welcome some spiritual chivalry from our spiritual fathers). God didn’t intend for each to fend for themselves.

    God Bless Us…every one.

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  • Amy Jussel, Shaping Youth

    Great to find your post via Twitter…and glad to see I’m not alone in my rabid disdain for the Vogue spread and sexualization messages proliferating…

    Though we’re a non-religious based, nonpartisan, nonprofit, you can see I’ve been writing about this for quite some time (massive links list on this topic alone at the end of the piece here, titled, “Vogue Cadeaux: Children ARE Gifts. Not Meant to be Bought & Sold.” link

    I cover a variety of topics on media and marketing’s impact on kids (the good, the bad and the ugly) —but one thing’s for sure, the ‘next steps’ portion is a necessary one, because as you said, the parents and adult ‘artsy’ decision makers need a good bracer, a shoulder shake, and a swift kick in the backside.

    Enjoyed your blog. “Pedophilia chic” about nails it. ugh.

  • James

    After reading this article and the comments I think I need to throw out a plug for Lands-End Kids. My daughter is now 20, but when she was ages 5-15 we encounters the problem of all of the kids fashions being “prostitute in training” clothing. Fortunately, we found Lands-End Kids, which is a great selection of actual “kid” clothes that are fairly priced, and highly durable. All of these clothes have been passed down to two nieces of mine.

    I think the primary message here for parents is, what do we want our kids to grow up to be, and what are we prepared to do to guarantee that?

  • Doc

    A few years ago I wrote some short comments for a high school homeschool graduation ceremony a couple of families held when our daughters were ready to head to college. In it I mentioned how homeschoolers were often criticized for sheltering their children and leaving them unprepared for society. I argued that parents who homeschool were shielding their children from the cultural storms that this society produces. We have no TV feed into the house. Internet is pretty much limited to school course work. Books are everywhere. Old movies are as well. My girls who went to TAC in California would head up to San Francisco every year for the pro-life march, where they would encounter the most vile abuse they’d ever seen from the gay culture leftists. But they had a well-formed moral foundation and intellect by that time, and they could use the repulsive scenes they saw to build their understanding of the cultural opposition and the enormity of the battle at hand.

    My kids also attended Irish dance classes. One of the classes was held at a dance studio which taught jazz and hip hop to little girls. That sort of dance looked like nothing more than little slut training to me.

    Parents cannot rely on anyone else to protect their children, and if that means pulling them out of public school, then that’s a sacrifice that needs to be made.

  • Liz

    I’ve also noticed the trend in Hollywood to normalize “inter-generational” relationships with movies like The Reader, Towelhead, and Birth. They depict these inappropriate adult-child sexual relationships as empowering to the kid, and in some cases, make the kid out to be the seducer, the one who is more mature.
    And then there’s “Hound Dog” which leaves on speechless.

  • conservativemama

    You can raise strong, confident young women in this society, I am, but it is difficult. You have to be vigilant, you have to be present, and you have to keep talking to your child and listening to your child. You have to model the behavior you expect, and you have to choose well when selecting your husband, the man who will father your children. You have to have love, lots of love, and faith, lots of faith.

    It’s a job for grown-ups, and its’ not for the faint of heart. But it can be done. You can have a daughter who attends a very liberal, private college in New England, who respects herself enough to say no. Who wonders why a school can advise you on every sexual behavior, but has no one available to counsel the young woman who does not want to engage in the hookup culture. Who talks to the virgins in the dorms? Condoms, threesomes, polyamorous, that’s all okay. But a girl who says no, I’m worth more than that and the man whom I choose one day will deserve me. Who in our culture respects that young woman?

  • Random Thoughts

    What conservativemama, doc, and lethargic all said truly is the key to raising healthy moral young adults. And most of it is blindingly obvious, utterly simple, yet rarely done. To quote lethargic:

    “Don’t watch TV that you wouldn’t want them to see; don’t listen to music that you wouldn’t want them to listen to.”

    This means leading by example. You may want to watch “adult” TV shows, but what does that tell your kids? The moral standard when it comes to entertainment is different for you than for them? Why? It ought not to be. Of course this means you have to examine your own heart and mind, and be willing to turn off the TV.

    We didn’t have television reception in our house at all for 11 years–one of the hardest decisions at first, but it quickly became one of the best and easiest. When we had satellite TV reconnected, we limited the channels and set the rule that if it wasn’t appropriate for young teens, we weren’t going to watch it at all. Yes, I suppose we miss out on all kinds of popular shows. Not much of a loss, if you ask me.

    Quoting lethargic again:

    “If you send them off to school, be there every day when they get home and sit down with them and talk with them about their day.”

    This means sacrifice. For our family, it has meant living much less affluently so that I can get the kids from school and be there for them when they’re at home. The best hour of the day with your kids is the time immediately after they come out of school. That’s when they tell you all about their day without you having to drag it out of them; if there are problems, that’s when they are fresh in their mind and spill out of them. If there are joys and triumphs, that’s when they want to share them. Not at 7 or 8 pm, hours later, when it’s more convenient for you.

    And one more quote from lethargic:

    “Be careful about where you send your children unescorted. Until they’re reliable enough to make good decisions, don’t send them over to Sally’s house alone unless you know Sally’s family pretty well. Become the neighborhood house that all the other kids want to come to because it is loving and fun. Make cookies every day if you need to.”

    More sacrifice on your part, but it quickly becomes a pleasure when you hear your children’s friends comment on how much they enjoy coming over because “your mom always makes me feel welcome.”

    There is so much we are willing to sacrifice for–the new car, the house, the career–why is it that our children aren’t first and foremost on the list? It’s ironic when you consider that nobody ever says “I wish I’d spent less time with my children when they were small.” Rather the contrary.

  • Bonnie

    I sadly propose that within a few years, certainly less than a decade, the “pedophilia” scandal will erupt in the U.S. Armed services as it erupted in the American Catholic Church.

    With the admission of gay priests in the Church, the “pedophilia” scandals were predominately those of gay men attracted to younger men and being protected by older gay men in the priesthood. Read “Good Bye, Good Men” and learn about the Lavender Mafia. What did admitting gays to the priesthood do for the American Catholic Church? Sully it, shame it, cause it great sadness and grief. Now homosexuals are no longer allowed to become priests and the scandals have ceased.

    Our Armed Services are about to travel down the same road. And the media will breathlessly report on “pedophilia” scandals when gay soldiers are discovered with underage boys in Afghanistan, or engaging in sodomy in recruiting barracks. It happened in the Church, and it will happen in the military.

    We have to stop letting the media define our terms. We will lose everything if we do.

  • Brian English

    “We need to make our own world. In that I mean we need to circle the wagons with like-minded families and to heck with the rest of the world.”

    Easier said than done. Even if you homeschool your kids, are you not going to let them play organized sports, or take dance class, etc.?

  • Erika

    This was great! Thanks everyone for the encouragement.

  • Peter from MN

    Re. Bonnie

    I’ll never forget an acquaintance in college who had recently quit the local Catholic seminary. He seemed very troubled about something. Then one morning the campus was papered with homoerotic pictures underneath which was the caption: “This is what’s going on at your local Catholic seminary.” I never saw him again after that.

    Something tells me this acquaintance may have run into the doings of the Lavendar Mafia.

    And as for the media: One of the problems of the media’s coverage of the abuse scandal in the Church is that it’s covered as predominantly a pedophelia scandal. Others correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the scandal predominantly a perdestry scandal – the abuse of young, post adolescent boys? It seems like the media is trying to downplay the homosexual angle of the scandal by tabbing the scandal as one of pedophelia.

    And then you have Vogue. I have no doubt their editors are full of righteous anger about pedophelia being perpetrated in the Church. But what about the pedophelia being perpetrated on their pages?