I took my little boys to the mall today. It's cold and windy out for the thousandth day in a row so we decided to go to the mall playground. After playing for awhile, my 3-year-old asked if we could go see the fish. There's a large fish tank in another corridor of the mall, so it was a great opportunity to let him run and skip and burn some energy on this cold windy day. Sure, buddy, let's go!
We're laughing and walking and running (him) through the mall corridor when suddenly it's in my face.
And in my boys' faces.
BAM. Right there, no ignoring it.
The large, invasive posters of the nearly naked women in the Victoria's Secret display windows. The many scantily clad mannequins in thongs and g-strings and terrible excuses for bras that don't actually cover or hold anything.
And, there's twice as many of these displays now, you know, since there's not only Victoria's Secret, but there's also their "teen store" right next to it. Because there's actually a market for the teen store...which means parents are allowing their teens to shop there.
That alone is a major issue...there is NO NEED EVER for teens to shop at a lingerie store.
Bras and underwear, yes. Pajamas, yes. Sweatpants, yes. But there should be NO MARKET for a teen version of Victoria's Secret.
I will agrue until I'm blue in the face that it's not healthy or emotionally safe for a young impressionable teen girl to purchase her underwear and bras at any store that is also trying to shove g-strings at her. Her underclothes ought to serve only the basic function of undergarments. The pressure to be "sexy" and look like an "object" for the pleasure of others is a pressure that is corrupt and invasive and steals her innocence and robs her of her dignity & joy in being a beautiful daughter of God.
But this additional store is also an issue for the Mom who is skipping through the mall corridor with her little boys. Or her big boys. Or her young men. Because it's twice as many displays that are only on display for the purpose of causing men (and boys) to look and lust. Those g-strings aren't on display so that women walk by and think, "Wow my backside would look awesome in that..."
They are only on display for the eyes of men, and it's not healthy for any of us. Married men should only be thinking of their own wives, not the models on display. Unmarried men shouldn't be thinking about any women in those g-strings. Teen boys can't handle the pressure of those thoughts.
And little boys get confused as they skip to the fish tank.
Now, before you think I'm a prude who doesn't think anyone should ever wear lingerie, I'm not. I'm actually a huge advocate of the gift of sex for marriage. God was brilliant (as always) when He came up with it. I speak on it and for it and teach about it. I am a huge promoter of the sanctity of the marriage bed.
But it's for marriage.
It's not for mall corridors where little boys are skipping to the fish tank. And it's not for my young girls as we walk on our way to Children's Place to buy Easter dresses and flip flops. And although I'm fully prepared for the hard questions about sex, it's not about my readiness or unreadiness. It's about my children's hearts.
Because it causes confusion in my son's heart when he sees 8 mannequins all clad in nearly nothing on his way to the fish tank, and it causes anxiety and insecurity in my daughter's heart when she sees massive posters of naked women wearing lacy g-strings on her way to buy an Easter dress. "Mommy, those underwear don't cover her tush. Why is she standing like that?"
I mean, honestly, the only correct answer would be, "Well honey, we live in a culture that is completely obsessed with sex and is hell-bent on making every woman's body a sex object, including yours someday."
Right? I mean that's why those massive posters are on my way to the fish tank. There's absolutely no acceptable reason for it.
Last week my husband took our 3-year-old son to Fleet Farm's gas station, where you get free popcorn with every tank of gas. Way cool Daddy-son time. Getting gas, Fleet Farm, and popcorn.
Until they went to pay for the gas at the counter.
Because the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition had just come out, and there it was. With it's three naked women right there on the cover. At a 3-year-old's eye level.
(Okay, apparently they had on some version of a "swimsuit.")
"Daddy, they are at the beach. Why aren't they wearing their swimsuits if they're going swimming?"
And the only correct answer, again, would be "Well, son, our culture is doing everything it can to make you and every other man alive into a sex-obsessed, dishonorable pig of a man who objectifies every woman's body."
Last time we went to the library, Gregory ran over to the big crate of books that has such books as Thomas the Train, Ironman, Diego, etc, for young boys. Great books. He loves to go over there and look through them all and we usually check out several from that crate. He excitedly put a few into our book bag and I checked them out.
When we got home I was flipping through the books we had gotten, and I found his Ironman book. Targeted, by the way, at preschool aged through 2nd grade boys. And, wouldn't you know, in true comic book fashion, the female superheros had enormous breasts with obscene cleavage showing in their sexual superhero costumes.
Seriously? This book is targeted at LITTLE BOYS.
And where is the outrage?
You know how in Frozen, when Elsa's dress changes to the beautiful icy blue gown? I read articles of people who thought that was too sexual. Really? Her gown was gorgeous. No cleavage. High and full coverage. Really pretty. I'd love a gown like that (because stay at mom's have so many opportunities to wear such a dress, obviously!)
But where is the outrage that Victoria's Secret has huge naked displays that cause confusion and insecurity and awkwardness and anxiety for every child and teenager in the mall? And where is the outrage of the naked women in magazines at eye-level for preschoolers who are paying for gas with their Daddy? And where is the outrage for the nearly naked breasts in my son's Ironman book?
The time has never been more desperate my friends, for us to teach honor. Honor one another as men and women, created in the image of God. Not created in the image of a sex object.
Created in the image of God.
Beautiful. Strong. Handsome. Intelligent. Fierce. Righteous. Loving. Kind. Joy-filled. Funny. Courageous. Bold. Powerful. Compassionate. Gentle. Just. Creative.
I teach my sons honor when I tell them that those massive posters of naked women are inappropriate because each woman is actually a real person, with a heart and soul and mind. And that each woman you see at school or walking through the mall is so much more than a body. Her body houses her heart and soul, her body is beautiful, her body is strong. But her body is not an object. Her body is to be cherished, not used.
And I teach my sons to honor themselves too, when I teach them that "You are more than that, son. You were created with great dignity, in the image of a righteous God, and you have the strength and capacity to treat women with integrity and purity and kindness and love."
I teach my sons to honor themselves and the women around them when I give them the words of Job:
"I made a covenant with my eyes
not to look lustfully at a young woman." Job 31:1
And I teach my girls honor when I teach them that "You are more than that, honey. You are more than a body. And you don't need a g-string or a lacy push-up bra to make you feel beautiful. Because God made you beautiful. And you are smart and funny and strong and wise. And no g-string could ever add one ouce of worth to you, my dear, because you are already far above rubies."
Did you know that back in the days of chivalry, a man titled his hat at a woman for honor's sake? It was in honor because it showed that he wasn't looking at her chest or checking out her backside. He honored her by tilting his hat toward her.
Honor. Wow. What a beautiful lost concept.
We have a big job, my friends. I could go on and on with examples of how sexually obsessed and broken we are. But I don't need to. Because you live in the world too, and you know. And we all know that we must and should live in the world and yet not be of the world. And we all know that we cannot walk around with paper bags over our heads, although somedays it sounds appealing.
We must be salt and light.
So we must teach honor. At no other time has it ever been more important.
In a world of lust, let's teach honor.