Still, when the culture is constantly bombarding girls with the message that they have to dress sexy to get a guy's attention and everything from TV commercials to prime time television shows to movies and magazines apparently are on the same page in decimating that message, and selling self-expression more than self-respect, not to mention, social media, where friends are trying to outdo one another about how good they look and how much fun their lives are as a result, it's hard for some to decipher what's appropriate and what's not.
It's worse when they have a parent trying to relive their youth by dressing in skimpy fashion, which, fortunately, is not our case since I started wearing boxer shorts instead of speedos and polos instead of tight sleeveless muscle shirts when I hit the big 5-0! (Despite my wife's insistence, no more guns displayed at our house!)
In any case, it never seems to amaze me how many girls and young (and sometimes not-so-young) women objectify themselves every year during Halloween by dressing like porn stars; whether a sexy nurse, vampire, playboy bunny, pirate or anything else imaginable.
I guess it shouldn't surprise me because of what I just mentioned but it still leaves me shaking my head.
When I was in my 20's and out in the "meat market," it was fantastic but then came Monday morning, did they expect the same respect at the office?
Playboy Magazine's centerfolds became every man's fantasy of the ideal woman. And, by making it mainstream, with Playboy came the burgeoning and wide acceptance of the pornography industry, which is said to make more money today than the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL combined and, in the process, is wreaking havoc on the family and the moral fabric of society as a whole.
Weinstein and Hefner, like many powerful men in other industries, preyed on women who wanted fame, fortune and glory or were vulnerable because of necessity.
In the mid-to-late 1960's, there was a waging cultural war in society; the country was at war in Vietnam, the American Civil Rights Movement in full swing, the woman's movement, which started as a stance for justice in the workplace and was later hijacked by an aggressive pro-sexual freedom movement (See the writings for former Cosmopolitan Magazine reporter, Sue Ellen Browder) was in motion and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut making "The Pill" legal in marriages.
Amidst the turmoil and controversy over the pill, in 1968, Pope Paul VI released his much maligned encyclical Humanae Vitae, condemning artificial birth control and prophetically stating what its widespread use would lead to; moral decay.
The Pope wrote, "Let them consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings -- and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation -- need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires..." HV:17
By separating marital sex from it's primary function of procreation, and thus, making sex "free" with no strings attached among consenting adults and "as long as nobody gets hurt," which we know is a lie because someone always gets hurt, infidelity increased dramatically, divorce rates skyrocketed, the porn industry took a hold of the culture, which it has yet to let go, making women objects to be used by men, and leading to the legalization of abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973 (Because, if contraception fails, what do you do with all the unwanted pregnancies from infidelity?), and eventually paving the way to the redefinition of marriage between a man and a woman (Because once marital relations are about pleasure and no longer about fertility and the raising of kids, shouldn't anyone get married?).
The ruling, cushioned in the context of an aggressive women's movement and the explosion of pornography spearheaded in part by Playboy, opened the door for the sexual revolution where "make love not war" became the anthem and we are still feeling the effects today.
Sure, women were victimized before the sexual revolution but it worsened exponentially with the legalization of the pill, when women became easy targets with no consequences involved.
Interestingly, all Christian denomination condemned artificial birth control until 1930, when the Episcopal Church succumbed to cultural pressures, allowing it within marriage (see the Lambeth Conference). Soon afterwards, most Protestant denominations followed suit. The only one left standing, and is still standing, is the Catholic Church, which is one of the reasons (asides from its teachings on abortion, cohabitation and marriage) that it remains in the crosshairs of today's progressive movement.
Anyhow, now the damage is done. To reverse this degenerative spiral we're on as a culture is going to take a monumental effort.
In an Twitter exchange with a loved one, she suggested where it needs to start, "It gets flushed out with our sons."
Fundamentally, there's something to be said about raising boys to be honorable and righteous, which may be, at least, a partial solution for sexually abusive men. But, I think it's a two-way street. I truly believe promiscuity is something to discourage not encourage.
In fact, I want to raise my children to be chaste until their wedding day because without self-dominion, there can never be control over actions towards others.
I know it sounds old-fashioned and may seem improbable in today's sex-crazed society but I still like to think it isn't and I know young people and even celebrities, who are embracing chastity. It's a matter of understanding and reinforcing the true meaning of love, which lasts forever, as opposed to an imitation, which is driven by libido and is fleeting.
Despite what they may teach in public schools, teens are more than uncontrolled hormones waiting to explode and human beings are not like animals, driven solely by desires and instincts. Men and women have minds, which can be used for reason, logic and self-restraint, as well as hearts that long for authenticity and true love (which is a longing for happiness that can only be filled by God).
While lustful boys can become lustful men, and I am going to teach my son about respecting women, it must begin with women respecting themselves.
Venerable Fulton Sheen once said, "When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women."
Just as I'm hoping to teach my son to hold women in the highest esteem, I'm also hoping to teach my daughters that they are not pieces of meat and shouldn't degrade themselves by dressing like one for Halloween, or any other day for that matter, reinforcing an image that was long ago established for men's pleasures...