Rachel Campos-Duffy, a blogger on the Today Show’s “Moms” site, described Monday how watching the Super Bowl like millions of other families turned into a “parenting challenge” when the halftime show began.
That’s putting the performance of Beyonce and her similarly half-dressed dancers mildly. The hyper-sensual show left Mrs. Campos-Duffy’s kids with a quizzical look on their faces. The 8-year-old simply said, “She looks weird.”
If only all our kids were so confused. But sadly, so many of them are thoroughly familiar with sexuality packaged as music and performance. As Campos-Duffy wryly observed, “I half-expected a stripper pole to pop out of the platform, which was actually staged to look like a peep show.” Well, the commercial for the CBS sitcom “Broke Girls” that immediately followed half-time featured just that — a stripper pole.
I mean, this was the Super Bowl, for cryin’ out loud. CBS and the NFL knew very well children and families would be watching. And what they gave America with this performance and many of the commercials was another chapter in the ongoing sexualization of American culture — and of our kids.
And honestly, Beyonce’s salacious performance was pretty tame compared with what we might have expected from other performers, and not just the female ones. This is what our culture throws at young people every single day. And despite calls to protect kids from nearly everything else, we pretend overt sexualization will magically have no consequences at all.
In the name of our sacred sexual appetites, it’s as if we no longer consider quaint concepts such as “public decency” or that some fare may not be “appropriate” for children.
This is not just an American problem, either. British Prime Minister David Cameron recently appointed a special adviser on the commercialization and sexualization of childhood after some horrific incidents involving the sexual pressuring of junior high-schoolers.
But it’s more than isolated incidents. This is an unfettered, out of control social experiment, and the guinea pigs are our children.
As Cole Moreton, a mother and columnist for The UK Telegraph, said, “We need more research, the experts say. But to a dismayed parent, it seems like the horrific result of a massive experiment. Thanks to the Internet, our boys and girls are the first children to grow up with free, round-the-clock access to hardcore pornography.”
And they cannot handle it. Nor should we expect them to. It’s immoral. As my friend Tom Gilson wrote recently in an article on BreakPoint, ethics require informed consent from the subjects of social experimentation. But in our culture, adults — in the sacred name of absolute, unfettered “sexual freedom” — force young people, who have no say in the matter, to go along. For the life of me, I cannot see how it’s anything less than child abuse.
One church-run preschool in California recently shut its doors after parents discovered 4- and 5-year-old students performing sex acts on one another. Where do you think they learned this? Josh McDowell tells me that first exposure to pornography is now common for 6- and 7-year-olds.
This is a social justice issue. And to the hipster Christian writers so concerned with social justice who celebrated Beyonce’s performance as “empowering women,” shame on you. Beyonce is unbelievably talented. But using sexuality for power is not a triumph for feminism. It only leads to the objectification and victimization of women, especially young ones. I will tell you that wives, watching their husbands watch Beyonce, weren’t empowered.
Parents, like it or not, this is our culture. Julie Heramine, my recent guest on BreakPoint this Week, offered very helpful guidance from her book Guardians of Purity. Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary. We’ll link you to the show and her book.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.
Publication date: February 7, 2013