Sunday, 14 October 2012

You Deserve...

A number of themes have converged in my thinking, as I survey several stories currently in the news.

One concerns the tragic story of Amanda Todd, who took her own life shortly after posting an on-line video of herself telling the story of her being bullied. Most comments on this story focus on bullying. Some focus on the culture we are in that encourages girls to live up to a particular standard of beauty for their sense of self-worth.

Now, I would not condemn any of these admirable points of view, but there is something else that struck me about Amanda’s very touching video, that I think represents a far deeper and disturbing problem. That is the phrase, “He hooked up with me…” (about the 4:50 mark of the video)

Briefly, as I gather it, there was a boy whose girlfriend was away and he called up Amanda and invited her over. She went (huge mistake, she realizes). They, “…hooked up,” – had sex. The next card she shows said, “I thought he liked me.” And this was her second mistake in the area of over-sexualization. The first, and the beginning of her pain, was that she was persuaded to flash her breasts on a previous on-line occasion.

So, practically all the media seem to be playing the tragedy here as one of bullying. But I think there is a far greater tragedy than that. Or even than that of the particular look that young girls are encouraged to live up to. It is the early- and over-sexualization of our young people, and the notion forced upon our kids that their popularity can depend on their making themselves sexually available. Amanda was a beautiful girl, yet even looking at her images in the media one could sense a certain innocent vulnerability about her.  But there is a steady and consistent pressure on teens and even pre-teens today that practically forces them to surernder their bodies in the interest of popularity, or at least convinces them that it is necessary, and I think Amanda caved in to this pressure. I attribute a great deal of this pressure to:
      ·         Entertainers like (but not limited to) Madonna, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

·         Television shows like (but not limited to) Glee and many sit-coms that I cannot name specifically because I don’t watch them.

·          Media and celebrities who seem to have an agenda of pushing for the satisfaction of individual sexual desires regardless of traditional morality.

Well, “traditional morality” has done us well for a lot of years, and society now seems determined to rush headlong downhill toward its abandonment. It’s just interesting to me how this push and its consequences seem to be quite in parallel with a rise in everything that even the so-called liberals think is going wrong with our world – bullying, single parenthood, child poverty.
The other thing that relates here is a commercial I just watched on television. It was, as I recall, for some kind of cosmetic that, “…reduces the look…” of brown spots on your skin. Several times, the phrase, “you deserve” was used. The people who produce these commercials do loads of market research to find what words or phrases have the greatest impact on their prospective customers. You will hear the phrase, “you deserve…” over and over again. In other words, researchers have established that this phrase strikes a chord with consumers today. I find that extremely telling, and I really believe the mindset that makes it so appealing is exactly what binds the themes of this post together.

We are a completely self-absorbed society, generally speaking, and a nation of people of entitlement. Examples are all around us and too abundant to mention. But it all ties together, I believe, and unless we can change (which I don’t see happening) we are like lemmings stampeding, quite happily, apparently, toward the sea.

Take Care
Check This Out as well.


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