Peter brings up an ugly truth about the web--type a search for "girls"
(or "boys") and you'll get tons of porn sites. However, that's a truth
not confined to the web.
Look around at media and marketing everywhere, and you will find =
thousands of examples of girls being objectified to sell anything from =
cars to computers. In my mind, objectification is soil in which =
So, what can Peter and the rest of us do in response? I think, Peter, =
that you are on the right track by talking directly to your daughter =
about issues of sexuality and in wanting to find a way to talk and =
educate about porn. But, I believe that talking about it at home or in =
the classroom isn't enough.
The nonprofit group Dads and Daughters talks about the notion that =
sending the right messages about equity, opportunity and sexism to our =
daughters at home is necessary but not sufficient. They say that doing =
the right things at home ONLY is like vaccinating our daughter and then =
promptly sending her out into a neighborhood overrun with the germs or =
poisons we're trying to protect her from.
In other words, we have to back up what we tell her at home with action =
outside the front door.
Peter, do talk to her about what pornography is (objectification, =
soul-stealing) and what its function is (money-making, oppression, =
corrupting notions of desire for females and males). Make analogies to =
other images and instances of injustice that she cares about and =
Then, I think Peter and the rest of us need to demonstrate to =
Peter's daughters and all girls what it means to resist those awful =
images and to create a culture that nurtures and celebrates and listens =
Those actions can be simple and powerful. Let's encourage fathers to =
raise hell about ads for strip clubs that are common in newspaper sports =
pages. Suggest writing to the paper and the strip club to say something =
like, "I know sports are good for my daughter and I want her to read the =
sports section (and I want to read it, too), but how can I let her read =
it when there are these garbage, anti-women ads in here? Stop it now."
We can make the connections in lots of places because, sadly, there are =
so many places to see these corrosive messages. Has anyone else seen the =
Maidenform bra billboard that reads, "Inner Beauty Only Goes So Far"? =
Imagine how you'd feel if someone said that to ANY of your children. =
Well, we should react as if it is being said to each of our =
children because it is.
So yes, point out the good and the bad and what it means when we're at =
home. Then, act on the good and bad (and invite her to participate) out =
in the world. Wouldn't it be great to see a picket line of fathers and =
daughters protesting Maidenform's ad or the way web search engines =
relate the word "girl" with porn? And wouldn't it be great to see a =
rally of fathers and daughters outside ABC/ESPN cheering them for giving =
so much play to the World Cup matches (and while they're at it, =
challenging the network to refuse crassly sexualized ads from their =
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