Her rebel yell, “Moore, Moore, Moore”, “Russelling” up a secular edition

In my posts about Russell Moore  (one parsing his Ephesians 5 derived message, and the other demonstrating  the possible cumulative effect of the churchian experience on a young woman’s life) there is a contradiction between what we should expect, and what we are told. That flavor of contradiction is not limited to, nor has it originated from the church. The church is handily following the secular machinations on raising boys and girls.

I’d been provoked to write something about child raising based on reading a comment a woman left at Cane’s place. Lucky me, the venerable Family Circle has offered up a condensed illustration of the cultural frame that exists in America. This is a natural outcome of being steeped in the pedegogy Cane’s too clever by half commenter made.

Writer Salley Shannon writes in Family Circle,  “Too Sexy Too Soon”. The title suggests a revisit of the Jon Bennet Ramsey tragedy, or in reality TV terms, Honey boo boo, both painful and disturbing for different reasons, but both for what they reflect of our culture. The opening paragraph confirms the topic.

Alaena Punzi is determined. She wants to shave her legs, wear makeup, and get her eyebrows waxed. Her fashion tastes tend toward miniskirts and trendy tees. None of this would be a terribly big deal — except that Alaena is only 10.

But why waste a perfect opportunity to go only partially into Moore’s area of examining problems with girl’s self esteem

One reason is in-your-face obvious: the omnipresent ads, television, music, and videos blasting a “you have to be sexy to be popular” message

when one can step fully into said circle and point back to boys?

1. Your son buys a T-shirt with a sexual image or message on it

He may be trying to impress his male peers and feel more macho.[ ] “Insecure boys are feeling they have to wear these slogans to prove their masculinity.”

2. Your tween daughter wants to shave her legs and tweeze her eyebrows

“Young teen girls are terribly self-critical,”

3. Your son downloads a sexually crude screen saver

“It’s about claiming that he belongs in Boy World.”[ ] Then talk with him about objectifying women — explain how sexy photos of women show that they have only one thing to offer, that they aren’t to be taken seriously. It would be great if his dad could have this discussion with him. [ dad may not, but it would be great]

4. Your tween daughter comes home from school wearing mascara, liner, the works

She’s trying to look older, like a big sister, a girl at school, or a teen star.

6. Lately when you go shopping, your daughter has been begging for low-rise jeans, thongs. and push-up bras

“From about fifth grade on, if you don’t have the right clothes, you’re scorned. And for kids in this age group, nothing is as important to psychological health as having friends.”[ ] “Have her show you pictures of clothes she likes,” says Wiseman. “Then compromise on the items you can live with and veto the ones you can’t.”

See the pattern? Girls and self esteem, boys and too much testosterone and of course, objectifying girls.

Family Circle and Moore have prescriptions and proscriptions that point in the same direction.

25 thoughts on “Her rebel yell, “Moore, Moore, Moore”, “Russelling” up a secular edition

  1. This is why in the increasingly common narrative about fidelity the wife is basically told that while it is a sin for her to stray from her marriage that she only did it because her marriage was unhappy, where the husband has committed a sin so unforgivable that he has to have the attitude that he must pay for it for the rest of his life. This is why when men say they want to be treated with respect they are apparently demanding worship and enslavement, but when women say they want to be listened to and have their feelings taken seriously that they can say any crazy nonsense they want to.

  2. McScribe, the poster, ospurt, recommended a book, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of Quick Fix, Edwin Friedman, and because of a paragraph ospurt pasted, I got the book. There is an entire chapter on empathy, and it fits into what you just said, as well as to lots of what we say.
    I have not read the whole book, but I have read the chapter where he dissects empathy. Its worth looking into, and explains “having feelings taken seriously”

  3. I’ll check out the book.

    BTW: I was disappointed in what Cane wrote in his blog. It could have been handled way better than that. Obviously he loves his family and wants to do the best for them, but his actions were in my opinion bullying. His chief rebuttal is that his family loves him. So what? I’m not one of those people who believes that making mistakes makes you a villain–I leave that to people like feminists. But I do believe in the motto of this blog. If I had witnessed that, I would have said the same thing to his face as I said on his blog.

    This is important to me–both the post above and his blog post–because we need examples of fatherhood very badly in our culture. My concern was not that he disciplined his daughter. Looking at the confusion in the quotes above, we badly need more discipline. My concern is that it seemed to come with poor examples, poor information, and the use of shame and contempt instead of instruction and clarity. It doesn’t bother me that there was a confrontation, being sent from the table without supper, etc–those things are irrelevant compared to the fact that the kid clearly doesn’t know what she’s doing and yet is expected to somehow know because she’s been given general instructions.

    How would that be applied here I wonder? Like the ironic Family Guy cutaway where Ronald McDonald is chastising his daughter for wearing too much makeup? It has to be better than that. It can’t be the soft ice cream approach in the examples above, because we all know it’s ineffective. But it has to be by showing the daughter, for example what she should be doing. The idea of just letting kids largely make their own choices is insane, bu tit is equally foolish to have them maintain standards without real instruction.

  4. @SScribe

    those things are irrelevant compared to the fact that the kid clearly doesn’t know what she’s doing and yet is expected to somehow know because she’s been given general instructions.

    She was lying. She knew what she was doing. You’re making the same basic mistake that fathers make about their daughters when it comes to dating, sex, etc.: “She didn’t know any better–it’s that man’s fault!” The female psychology is such that when, for example, when a woman becomes sold out on being in love–she really believes she is, and can hardly even recall a time before. In the same way: once a woman has decided to rebel, she becomes similarly sold out.

    Again, it was a story. I didn’t dissect everything that was said. I did, however, include a prelude talking about her conscious dropping of “sir” from our interactions, as a clue to her choice to rebel.

  5. You are inferring that I have said that it is the man’s fault, which I am not doing. What I am saying is that as you were disciplining her that you are using tactics I believe are wrong and which I disapprove of. I have already said that I believe that the problem is not that you disciplined her but how you did it.

    I had a stepparent who talked like you seem to be. . She assumed that if I didn’t do what she said exactly as she said to do it that I was lying and being defiant towards her and rebellious. I genuinely didn’t understand, but she couldn’t conceive of the possibility that i didn’t, and she treated me exactly the way that you are treating your daughter in that particular case. Any ability I have in life to deal with problems I certainly do not owe to her; I had to achieve them on my own. I have no idea what you normally do, but ask yourself this: what would it cost anyone either you or your wife to go in the kitchen with her and give her instructions from another approach altogether?Why not, when you see her coming out with an inadequate dinner, simply explain it to her without the contemptuous remarks and confrontational attitude of your own?

    If you are paying attention to what I’m saying here, I am NOT saying “don’t provide instruction, leadership and clarity”. I am not saying “don’t correct errors and misbehaviour”. The aim here should not be to teach her what not to do but to teach her what you should do.

  6. @SScribe

    what would it cost anyone either you or your wife to go in the kitchen with her and give her instructions from another approach altogether?Why not, when you see her coming out with an inadequate dinner, simply explain it to her without the contemptuous remarks and confrontational attitude of your own?

    I didn’t count what it would cost me, but her. And the confrontational attitude was a slap because the instructions had been repeatedly ignored. You’re making a lot of assumptions–as any reader of a story must. The problem seems to be that they’re not informed by the story, but by your memories of a stepmother. I have four children, yet I only complained of one of them–the next to oldest and midway through her teens–of not following directions. I was explicit that this happens when she’s lazy, but doesn’t when she’s not.

    I’m certainly not your stepmother. My daughter is not you. Those two facts are important aside from their obviousness distinctions because the sexes matter in these things. Men are much more disposed to consider how they have failed their leaders than women are; though they usually take less pleasure from the pleasing itself. Women are more concerned with pleasing their leaders, if my dichotomy makes sense to you. When a woman has decided to NOT please her leader then she thinks everyone else should just let her be–including the leader.

  7. So in other words you are absolutely certain you handled that well. Then why even talk to me about it? You already feel you are absolutely right, that no one could even offer an alternate opinion without being uniformed at best or a fool at worst, so just go and read the approving comments in your blog. You don’t need my opinion one way or the other.

  8. No, just confident that I handled it fine.

    I’m not here for your approval. I’m here because you we’re talking about me, and I wanted to give you more insight, as you’re obviously interested.

  9. I don’t agree with you, that you handled it fine. I think from the sounds of it that you could have handled it better. The fact that you got a ‘yes sir’ at the end and a ‘daddy will you eat with me’ doesn’t impress me. That as I said merely says that your daughter loves you. It looks ike bullying to me, even if you are absolutely 100% convinced you were right to do it. It is not a method I agree with.

  10. I’d like to respond to the specifics of some anecdotes from Empath’s post: the 10 year old girl who wants to dress sexy, the tween girl who wants to shave her legs (the horror!), etc:

    In my experience girls prior to about the age of 13 are far more influenced by other girls than boys when these things come up. When I first began to experiment with makeup behind my parents’ back, it was because my girl friends were wearing makeup. I was not trying to impress boys.

    When I wanted to wear shorts too short, it was more about being like all the other girls than attracting boys. I was 14 before that registered. I remember what turned on the light of understanding and I recall feeling conflicted going forward about what I should and should not wear. Not so much that I was willing not to fit in, but I thought about it much more.

    Girls are very interested in fitting in. Most of the time, even the desire for a boyfriend is more about everyone knowing she is wanted than it is about sex. As parents, we do our girls a grave disservice when we teach train our girls to view themselves as sinless princesses, easily manipulated.

  11. The first time I shaved my legs was at the swimming pool locker room with my friends, it had nothing to do with boys and everything to do with them telling me they looked ugly. I wasn’t allowed make-up until twelve and then I was sent back upstairs if they could “tell” I was wearing it, and no dating till sixteen. I’m having the exact same rules for my girls even though I know they are going to fight me on them.

  12. Did you read the three posts and see the point(s) being made by ballista and others including me, here?

    I have 2 girls, 1 is 22 the other 7. For some reason my 7 year old has, well, she has lots of body hair like arms and legs and I am certain she will need to shave her legs very early. Those rules were the norm here too, but there were boys coming to my house before 16. Kids dont date anymore, maybe you dont have any old enough to realize it. My college kids, the 22 yr old girl and 19 yr old buy, have had BF/GF’s, they all still live here at home and commute to uni, they go in groups to places, never “dates” per se, its a weird dynamic compared to the traditional couldnt wait to get her alone stuff of my youth.

  13. My husband’s rule was blanket and across the board: Nothing before graduation. My girls can shave their legs and wear clear nail polish to keep their hands pretty. But no color, no makeup, no boys, no nothing before they finish high school. Period.

    My father was only slightly less militant about the makeup but was even more strict about dating.

    We have one out of high school now and two more graduating this spring. Things will probably get interesting around here since they will all be living at home while attending college.

  14. I’m sure everyone’s guessed by now, but I have a two-foot length of water hose that says “MAKEUP REMOVER” on it.

    … What?

    Ok, fine. The Caldo Girl Rules are as follows:

    No earlobe piercings until 12; no other piercings at all.

    Dresses to church, and no bare shoulders.

    I don’t want to see knees in skirts, or thighs in shorts.

    Makeup from the age you talk mama into it…but only in the house, until age 16. This includes lip gloss. For special occasions we make special exceptions…for lip gloss.

    I reserve the right at any time to send them back to try again.

  15. Oh yeah…shaving. That’s totally Mrs. Caldo’s discretion. Hair growth won’t listen to me. All the girls tried it the first time without asking–like we wouldn’t notice shiny legs. The youngest cut the knuckles on her toes pretty good, which is still cracking me up as I write this.

  16. but only in the house

    Pictures Cane-ette in full EMO (you know me, takes one to know one), henna tats all over, Cane reaches into cabinet for water hose…finds a spatula covered in pancake mix instead.

    Wakes screaming,layered imagery disturbs him or days

  17. They’re scared to death of tattoos. I’m free with words like “tramp stamp”, and “slag tag” (which makes Mrs. Caldo tsk me a frowny-face), but it’s effective. Look, I don’t make the rules, people–I just live here. Plus, I told them that they really do hurt–which took all the fun out of it for the oldest two.

    I will be surprised if one of the girls doesn’t try the henna thing, because they’re my kids, and technically I haven’t made that rule…I have to go home now.

  18. Pingback: Links #4 and Comments | The Society of Phineas

  19. What, Caldo? No sundresses or tank tops at all?

    No, I don’t think that’s too strident, it’s just not one of our blanket standards. Spaghetti straps however, are not allowed.

  20. @Elspeth

    What, Caldo? No sundresses or tank tops at all?

    At church? Not without a sweater, shawl, etc; no bare shoulders in church. No shorts for boys, either…obviously no tank tops for boys.

    I’m stealing a bit from an upcoming post (think of this as a trailer!), but it really gets interesting when I let one of them slide, or circumstances happen (like a mad-dash to Wednesday night choir practice): the other girls get incensed. “Why does she get to wear a tank-top?”

    They are greedy for their iniquity.


    Did you delete comments?

  21. Cane….yes I deleted two comments, mine and yours. I should not put info. like that in comments. Yours was collateral damage because it was related.

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