Friday, May 02, 2008

Bimbo-Proof Your Nursery

I ran across the magazine Best Life at the gym today and found an interesting article by Steve Almond. He's the father of a one-year old girl and is contemplating the difficulties of raising a child -- particularly a girl -- in a thoroughly debauched American pop culture. It's something that Katherine and I have been thinking about as well, as a recent ultrasound revealed that we shall be having a baby girl.

Almond writes that you can't have separate sets of moral values, public and private:

It’s here that my old Dude Self and my brand-new Dad Self come to blows. Because as much as I want to check out Paris and Lindsay, I know I’m harming my daughter by doing so. For one thing, I’m sending her a very clear message: Daddy loves sluts. Be a slut and Daddy will love you. And if you don’t believe that a 1-year-old picks up on messages, you’ve never seen my daughter in action. She is intensely focused on everything in her environment, especially whatever I happen to be looking at.

But even if I ogled Paris in private, I would still be contributing to the Culture of Paris, helping to shape a world in which young women win adulation for making porn videos and getting arrested, rather than for, say, curing cancer or brokering peace in the Middle East or being a mom. If we all stopped consuming celebrity scandals, they would cease to exist. If a media slut goes to jail and no one’s there to film the perp walk, does it really matter?

He also conceives of a principle that will guide the parenting of his daughter:

I want Josephine to grow up in a world where her ambitions will be about what she wants, not what the panting men of the world want from her. My daughter is not a commodity. Her heart can be broken. Her spirit can be wounded. And there is no accessory that can rescue her from these dangers.

Which brings me to rule number five, the only one I plan to enforce: Josephine can do anything she likes with her life, so long as she asks herself first: Is this behavior worthy of the love I deserve? If she flouts this rule, the failure will have been her parents’, not hers.


truevyne said...

Dear John,
Great post, man!
In my little family, we avoid cultural trends for the most part.
Makes us "out of touch" and honestly nerdy.
However, I feel like I just dodged a bullet, because I don't let my children watch Saturday morning shows like Hannah Montana, so there wasn't any fallout about her sexy photos around here.
I tell anyone who'll listen- I'm not against the "boys will be boys" mentality surrounding the porn industry, because of some rule book from the Bible. It's because someone is profiting from degrading another's desperate sister or mother. Porn strips the humanity away from every person involved.

John Wilks said...

Our culture is sexually sick. Solid parenting and tons of prayer and self-sacrifice are the only possible vaccines. Only the reign of Christ holds a cure.

Joseph Harris said...

Just use this modified Golden Rule that I adhere to. Instead of:

"Treat others as you would want to be treated."

Use this:

"Treat other peoples daughters as you would want your daughters treated."

I myself would be angry and disgusted if I saw people looking at my daughter as nothing but a sexual object (ie: slut) so if I am staying true to the Golden Rule I should not do it to other peoples daughters.

One thing is for sure, having a daughter (for most of us anyway) can help us see how we should really be acting and thinking about such things.


Eric Helms said...

Great post and great comments. My family also tries to remain out of touch with our hypersexualized culture but it is difficult. My wife has a hard time finding shirts that aren't low cut and just today we were at the mall and saw an 8 year old girl wearing what must have been very hip jeans. There were dark blue except for intentional faded parts on here rear. JEANS FOR AN 8 YEAR OLD INTENTIONALLY CALLING ATTENTION TO HER BACKSIDE!

John B said...

This may sound strange but one of the good things my wife & I find in our daughter's death is that she is safe in the arms of Jesus and won't have to face the pain you young dads have to worry about with your daughters.

David said...

As an expectant father for a baby girl myself this was helpful and encouraging.

Allen's Brain said...

So, can you ogle modest, wholesome girls with in-tact morals, then?

the reverend mommy said...

And when they get old enough, the find the stuff for themselves. Hopefully, though, they have had a good and solid grounding in what is important.

For you kids, YOU are the most important witness. If they see you cuss and be lazy, then they will cuss and be lazy. If they see you pray, they will pray.

They will also rebel, but the pattern will be set.

I'm just raising two geeks anyway and I cannot for the life of me figure out why.


James O'Kelly said...

Why no coverage of General Conference?

John said...

James, I've just had waaaay too much going on my in non-blogging life right now to give GC more than a passing glance.

Anonymous said...

as much as I want to check out Paris
Man, you could have gone all day without saying tgaht! :)
-- CBrulee

Mavis said...

Great post!
What a lucky child to have such a Dad.

Sister Mary Martha said...

Move close to a cloister convent and turn the girl over when she's twelve.

Jen said...

Once you become a parent, you'll realize that those shorts with words across the bottom..... are pure evil ;)