By Dr. James Dobson
Like their brothers, many girls are being victimized by cultural influences that are increasingly more violent, hypersexualized, and spiritually impoverished. And this is the key: our society is at war with good parents who are trying desperately to protect their kids from the harmful forces swirling around them.
Let me ask some rhetorical questions to those of you who are raising girls. Do you hope your daughters will be sexually promiscuous even from their early teen years? “Certainly not!” I can almost hear most of you saying. But indulge me for the purposes of illustration. Do you prefer that your girls be brash, loud, and aggressive in their relationships with males? Do you hope they will be easy marks for boys seeking sexual conquest? Is it your desire that they imitate rogue masculine behavior, such as being quick- tempered, immodest, insensitive, and disrespectful of others? Do you want them to be foulmouthed, crude, rude, profane, and discourteous?
Is it your desire that they dress provocatively in order to attract the attention of guys, revealing more than they conceal? When they become teenagers, do you want them to look like prostitutes, pumping up their lips with collagen and their breasts with silicone? Would you like them to dangle rings from their body parts and dye their hair green, orange, purple, and pink? Do you want them to be so ashamed of their bodies that they feel compelled to diet at nine years of age and are afraid to eat by thirteen? Are you comfortable with professors who will encourage your nearly grown daughters to experiment with lesbian relationships and tell them that bisexuality is an even greater trip? Do you hope that your girls will learn that marriage is an outdated institution that should be redefined or discarded? Do you want them to disdain the cherished spiritual beliefs you have been teaching them since they were babies?
If these are your aspirations for your vulnerable little girls, and I’m sure they are not, then you need do nothing to achieve them. The popular culture will do the job for you. It is designed to turn this generation of kids into politically correct little MTV clones. The influence of the entertainment industry, Madison Avenue, the Internet, hip-hop musicians, some public schools, liberal universities, and other institutions is shaping and warping youngsters and infusing them with harmful ideas that will rob them of the innocence of childhood. As a result, some of our girls will lose their prospects of having a productive and happy life. The stability of their future families is hanging in the balance. This is what lies in the paths of children whose parents are overworked, distracted, exhausted, and uninvolved. Without their care and concern, the culture will take them to hell. I have witnessed it a thousand times. Even with proper parental supervision, many of our kids are on the bubble.
I am most concerned about the children among us who are chronically lonely. Their parents are gone much of the time, leaving them to fend for themselves. Human beings desperately need each other, and those who are isolated do not thrive. Not only do lonely children tend to get into trouble, they also become sitting ducks for abusers who understand their emptiness and use it for their own purposes.
One thing is certain: your children are being targeted by businesses that are willing to exploit them for quick profits. Is there any doubt that the pornography industry wants to sell salacious and perverse images to curious adolescents, regardless of where that exposure leads? The dirty old men (and women) who sell this stuff don’t wait for “customers” to come knocking on the door. They go out looking for them. According to former attorney general John Ashcroft, nine out of ten teens have been exposed to pornographic images.22 Those who stumble across this wretched stuff on the Web or in other media are highly susceptible to what they see. Boys as young as thirteen are easily trapped in addictive and progressive behavior that will plague them for a lifetime. Girls are directly affected because their boyfriends expect them to imitate what is depicted in obscene products.
A myriad of other businesses are also seeking to manipulate girls. Mattel, Inc., for example, released a sexy little doll called “My Scene My Bling Bling Chelsea Doll.” Critics called it “Hooker Barbie.”
Not only are toys becoming sexier, they are also undergoing something called “age compression.” It used to be that girls from six to ten were the prime market for Barbie and other dress-up dolls. Nowadays, Barbie is targeted at three- to five-year-olds. As Stacy Weiner wrote, it’s “good-bye to girlhood.” Writer Bruce Kluger commented, “You’ve come a long way, Raggedy Ann.”
Child development experts warn that parents could be baiting pedophiles by dressing their daughters as raunchy women. The American Psychological Association (APA) warns that sexualizing children leads to three of the most common mental health problems among girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression.26 Does the APA really have to convince moms and dads that making their six-year-olds into sexpots is just plain stupid?
The unanswered question at this point is, “Where are the parents?” Five-year-old girls certainly can’t buy thongs or jewel-encrusted underwear or dolls that look like little prostitutes. Their parents have to be forking over the cash. Sales receipts from a few years back indicated that parents spent $1.6 million on thong underwear for their seven- to twelve-year-old daughters.27 I fear that many adults who ought to know better have abdicated their responsibility to guide their precious children.
It should not surprise us that many teen girls who have been raised in the sexual idiocy of the twenty-first century have made adolescent promiscuity a way of life. And most of them are lost—hopelessly lost. Michelle Malkin, one of my favorite columnists and television commentators, is urging us to recognize what is happening to our children. She wrote:
As a mother of a 4 year old girl and an 8 month old boy, I am increasingly dismayed by the liberal assault on decency, the normalization of promiscuity, and the mainstream media’s role as shameless collaborators. . . . You would think that it’s normal to dress up in [Little Miss Hooters] outfits at 5 years old, to wear sex bracelets and discuss oral sex at 10, to flash your breasts for the cameras at 15, to get paid for anal sex at 20, to keep Excel spreadsheets of sexual conquests, and to use abortion as birth control until menopause. When conservative women say, “Have some self-respect,” liberals in the media call us self-righteous. When conservative women say promiscuity is degrading and self-destructive, liberals in the media call us prudes. When liberal women raise their voices, they are praised as “passionate.” When conservative women raise their voices, we are condemned as “shrill.”
Malkin concluded with this advice for parents:
Be “prudes.” Be “rude.” Be “shrill.” And never, ever feel ashamed for asking out loud, “Have you no shame?”
Obviously, the culture has our children in its crosshairs, and either we can go with the flow or we can fight back with all our resources. Heaven help our kids if we remain passive and disconnected.
From Bringing up Girls by Dr. James Dobson, chapter 2, “Girls In Peril.”
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Dr. James Dobson is the Founder and President of Family Talk, a nonprofit organization that produces his radio program, “Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.” He is the author of more than 30 books dedicated to the preservation of the family, including The New Dare to Discipline; Love for a Lifetime; Life on the Edge; Love Must Be Tough; The New Strong-Willed Child; When God Doesn’t Make Sense; Bringing Up Boys; Marriage Under Fire; Bringing Up Girls; and, most recently, Head Over Heels.
Dr. Dobson served as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for 14 years and on the attending staff of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles for 17 years. He has been active in governmental affairs and has advised three U.S. presidents on family matters. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (1967) in the field of child development. He holds 17 honorary doctoral degrees, and was inducted in 2008 into The National Radio Hall of Fame. Dr. Dobson recently received the “Great American Award” from The Awakening.
Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley and they have two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and two grandchildren. The Dobsons reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
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