AUSTIN, Texas (BP)–For those of us who are committed to raising our daughters to be godly, virtuous young women, we have a daunting task before us. My generation was subjected to its share of negative messages, but nothing compares to the constant barrage of negative messages our daughters endure today at the hands of television, movies, music, magazines and the Internet.
I am a collector of old magazines. I own quite a few Seventeen magazines dating back as early as 1950. It is amazing to compare the Seventeen magazines from the 1950s and 1960s, prior to the onset of the women’s liberation movement, to “Seventeen” magazines today. Sprinkled throughout the earlier magazines are multitudes of advertisements for Lane hope chests, engagement rings and sterling silver flatware. In one issue from 1960, I counted 10 ads for sterling flatware and three ads for engagement/wedding sets. By the early 1970s, the silver flatware and engagement set ads had dwindled to an average of one ad per issue.
Compare those advertisements to advertisements in current “Seventeen” magazines. One ad for a popular teen fashion line shows a girl waiting in line for a concert ticket with a very bare midriff and the strap of her underwear coming out the top of her low-rider jeans. Tucked inside the strap of her underwear is her concert ticket. A girl behind her, who is holding a ticket in her hand, is clearly miffed as a handsome boy unlatches a velvet rope and allows the young lady with the precariously placed concert ticket early entrance to the show.
In the older Seventeen magazines, most of the ads or articles peddled products such as deodorant, hand lotion or food. One of my all-time favorite “snag a man” articles had the title, “Make Him a Pie!” Yet another ad said, “Good date idea … Feed him delicious Date Corn Bread -– and he can easily see how nice you are!”
Perhaps the most shocking contrast between then and now is found in the magazine’s featured short stories. In the December 1948 issue of Ladies Home Journal, the featured short story is titled, “Security,” and the caption reads: “She said brokenly, ‘I don’t want to wait.’” Sound racy? Read on and you discover the main character is referring to waiting, of all things, to get married. Her father has forbidden marriage until the lad can find a steady and secure job.
Compare this to the featured short story in the December 2001 Seventeen magazine titled, “Seduce Me.” The caption below the title reads: “Mom’s dead. Dad’s dating Sylvia. What’s to stop me from sleeping with Sylvia’s son?” Later, the main character says, “My dad’s living the life of Fabio and I’m going to die a miserable virgin.”
Our daughters will be hard-pressed to escape the influence of today’s revised feminist ideology. What is the “revised feminist ideology”? It is an offshoot of the radical women’s liberation movement, minus the extremes. It is pro-career and antagonistic to stay-at-home mothers. It is sexual freedom with no strings attached. It is self-empowerment and independence. It tells girls and women to set their own rules and do whatever feels good because it is all about them.
The original women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s had women burning their bras in the streets and throwing out their razors. The revised version of today has women wearing scoop neck T-shirts and doing whatever it takes to make men drool.
Needless to say, I will not be surprising my daughter with a subscription to Seventeen magazine in her stocking at Christmas. My daughter will be taught that everyone has a huge, gaping hole in their heart that can only be satisfied by the perfect love of Jesus Christ. She will be reminded that Jesus liberated all women more than 2,000 years ago when He died on the cross for our sins. His movement never has been and never will be quenched. He doesn’t change the rules to match the time. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
My daughter will be encouraged to keep these truths in mind as she encounters other young ladies who have fallen prey to the negative influences of the culture and have attempted to fill the huge holes in their hearts with anything but the unfailing love of God. Wow, it almost sounds as if I am suggesting that Christian women need to start a new women’s movement.
Our girls are in desperate need of a new direction. The women’s movement has failed them. Our culture has failed them. They long for rest in their souls. We have the answer. We know the good way. It’s time for a new women’s movement. For the sake of our daughters, let’s not rest until we see it happen.
Adapted from “Your Girl: Raising Godly Daughters in an Ungodly World” by Vicki Courtney. Copyright 2004. Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, Tenn.