I have listened to friends lament the hyper sexualization of our society for years. I have seen it myself in the media, but turning the TV off or choosing not to go to a certain movie never seemed like such a burden. Carefully selecting activities and putting limits on clothing for my kids is something I’ve never had a problem doing. I have been content to mostly let society do its thing, however self destructive I think certain behaviors may be.
The description read something about relieving women from the burdens of unwanted pregnancy. Sigh. Ok, I told myself. I mean, the atomic bomb made the list too and that is not a positive invention. The exhibit isn’t 101 Inventions That Changed The World for The Better. Move on, Heidi, I told myself.
Unfortunately it is the thinking of this 1956 invention that lead me to finding this ad in a festival program another museum visitor left behind.
I mean, what kind of slogan is “Show him you care. Make an appointment today.“?
What exact message are they trying to send here. Show him you care enough to sleep with him? Show him you care enough to abort your baby? Show him you care enough to relieve him from the burdens of responsible behavior? Show him you care so much about his physical comforts that you are willing to take drugs to “fix” a part of your body that isn’t broken?
And Planned Parenthood is supposed to be this voice for women’s health care. Tell me which part of this message promotes a woman’s health? Which part supports the woman as an empowered, capable, and thinking person?
I can’t even wrap my mind around it.
Now, if you go back to the first picture, you will notice in 1952 the introduction of the Polio Vaccine also made the list. No debate there, my grandma was a nurse during the polio epidemic who worked extensively with iron lung patients. I’ve heard many, many stories and the polio vaccine has certainly had an undeniable positive effect- eradicating Polio from our continent. As I mentioned before, however, each display in the exhibit gave slightly different perspectives on the same general invention. Further on in our tour, I noticed this little box.
Say what? A vaccine available for less than 10 years, with questionable safety, and minimal effectiveness gets the same recognition as the polio vaccine?
Maybe it’s that this represents the impact of a certain 1956 invention? You know that whole perceived consequence free sex thing? I mean, he deserves it ladies…. that’s the message Planned Parenthood wants to send us.
I think its fair to say my blinders have been fully removed. My naivety crushed under the weight of what this all says about our culture. I want to scream and shout and cry that I want something better for my kids- both the boys and the girls.
I want them to know that their sexuality is uniquely theirs. A gift from our Creator for a specific purpose… and that purpose is beautiful. It is not a tool or a negotiation. It is not a burden.
I want to scream to all the young people I know.
GIFT! GIFT! GIFT!
Not just a gift to themselves as teens or young adults, but a gift to their future selves and their future spouses.
This is our burden now. It has always been there, but it seemed so simple before. Just stay away from certain influences and everything will be ok. It is now abundantly clear to me that avoidance is not likely to be enough. We will need to continue to teach our children and surround them with family and friends who share our faith and values. Teaching them how to live, show, and share that faith.
I am blessed to have this realization now, I think, while my oldest is just shy of 10 and not yet aware of all of these cultural influences other than knowing there are certain things we won’t let him watch on TV and certain clothes we don’t allow. We haven’t had any sort of “talk”.
Tomorrow I may go back to blogging about homeschooling, life, and my adorable little family but today I’m talking about this. Today I am putting it out there for all to see.
This family will not settle for what culture has accepted.
This family will not embrace what this culture has embraced.
Heidi is a convert to Catholicism, confirmed with her husband in August of 2011. She is a teacher turned homeschooling mom to five children on earth and a beautiful baby girl named Kenna who was stillborn in 2007. You can read more about Heidi and her family at Work and Play Day by Day.