Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sexting and the Teenage Girl, Part 1

In the chapter “Raunch Culture Rip-Off,” written in Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World, Carolyn McCulley assesses the devastating effects of feminism, and particularly third-wave feminism, on this generation of young women. Raised in a culture that preaches female empowerment, these young women now see their bodies as tools and assets to be used in their quest for power. But they don’t necessarily see it that way all of time. Mostly, young girls who are flaunting themselves are doing so because they can and want to. Pornography, which was once a tenet of the feminists (and Christians) fight, now is not simply an exploitation of women at the hands of men. Girls are proud producers of it too.

Her book crossed my mind again this week as I read a sobering article in USA Today about “sexting” among teenagers. “Sexting” is the act of sending sexually explicit pictures through text messaging. While this article is not the first I have read regarding this recent phenomenon, it reminded me of the need to think biblically about what this, and other forms of social media, means for our teenagers. Sadly, this article probably won’t be the last I read on the subject either.

According to the article:

A new survey on kids in cyberspace finds that one in five teens have "sexted" — sent or received sexually suggestive, nude or nearly nude photos through cellphone text messages or e-mail.

Most teens who sexted sent the photos to girlfriends or boyfriends, but 11% sent them to strangers, according to the study made public today by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Cox Communications. Of teens who sext, 80% are under 18, the survey found.

Initially, when I first began hearing about sexting, my first reaction was “that is terrible, but I can’t imagine that any of the youth in our youth group would be impacted by this.” Unfortunately, the sheer fact that many of them are either in public or private schools exposes them to the myriad of sexual experimentation that permeates so much of young adults’ lives.

As women how do we minister to girls who are exposed to, and tempted by, the lie of third-wave feminism? And as mothers, how do you protect your daughter from her own inclination towards sin, and from the evil that is seeking to lure her in? And as teenage girls, how do you learn to be “innocent in evil,” even when everyone around you is running straight towards sexual sin? And I will answer these questions tomorrow. So stay tuned!

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