Vol. 3 Issue 19 | May 12, 2017
Three Things This Week
1. Blue Whale Challenge
What it is: A virtual contest that encourages participants to self-harm for 50 days and culminates in suicide.
Why it's dangerous: Named after the blue whale, which supposedly strands itself in order to commit suicide, the game was started in Russia via social media and has slowly been spreading to different countries. At least 16 deaths have been linked to the game, and apparently there was an app for iOS and Android, though both have been removed. The man behind the challenge is now in prison and has admitted to emotionally manipulating young girls to self-harm, but he claims that he was “cleansing society” from “biological waste.” Students immersed in 13 Reasons Why could be more susceptible to experimenting with the challenge, so be aware of the signs of self-harm, depression, and anxiety.
2. I’m the One
What it is: DJ Khaled’s (sounds like “salad”) latest single, featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Lil Wayne, and Chance the Rapper, debuted at number 1 and has amassed 100+ million views on YouTube in 2 weeks..
Why it's important: With so many celebrated artists, it’s no wonder the song is popular. The misogynistic lyrics (note: profanities) make the case for why a girl should want to be with them: They’re rich. The video opens with an invitation from Khaled to his crew to come over and “celebrate life, success, and our blessings”. And what are those “blessings”? Girls. Chance the Rapper’s sexually explicit verse is bound to cause confusion, who along with Bieber, claims to be a Christian. Ask your teens if they notice the disorienting version of Christianity that allows these artists to profess Jesus with their mouths while continuing to live the way of the world? Bonhoeffer called this “cheap grace,” and Jesus’ question continues to reverberate down through time when He asked, "Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
3. France Bans Thin Models
What it is: A law banning the use of unhealthily thin models in the fashion industry went into effect in France. It also requires models to be certified by a doctor as healthy and digitally altered photos to be marked as such.
Why it's good: This is another step toward reclaiming beauty standards and promoting body positivity. Though there’s still a long way to go (similar laws in the US, perhaps?), France is at the forefront of fashion, so this could be the catalyst for major change within the industry. But we don’t have to wait for the fashion to change in order to foster healthy beauty standards within our teens. Here are some great tips for cultivating healthy body image, and our upcoming free Parenting Teens Summit has several interviews with Christian experts about this topic.
Join us for our next parent webinar: https://axis.org/webinar-registration
Ever wondered why Facebook has so many gender options or what any of the letters in LGBTQQIP2SAA mean? The initialisms are as varied as the community they represent, and keeping up with the changes or what they mean can be hard. Yet knowing them can better prepare us for interacting with and ministering to the community, as well as for discipling teens through the issues they present.
Here are the official definitions of the 11 types of people represented by the letters. (Keep in mind that many consider “sexual orientation”—what sex/gender one is attracted to—as distinct from “gender identity”—what gender one identifies with.)
- L = Lesbian, a female who is sexually attracted to other females.
- G = Gay, a male who is sexually attracted to other males; also used as a general term for homosexual attraction.
- B = Bisexual, someone who is attracted to both males and females.
- T = Transgender, someone who identifies with a different gender than the one they were biologically born with.
- Q = Queer, an umbrella term for anyone who doesn’t identify as cisgender or heterosexual, but who also may not identify as lesbian or gay and therefore prefers this broader, more ambiguous term.
- Q = Questioning, someone who is unsure about their gender identity and/or their sexual orientation.
- I = Intersex, someone whose sex characteristics (chromosomes, gonads, hormones, genitals) do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies (aka hermaphrodites).
- P = Pansexual, someone is attracted to anyone of any sex or gender identity (aka “gender blind”).
- 2S = Two-Spirit (used by some indigenous North Americans), someone who has both male and female spirits within them
- A = Asexual, someone who lacks sexual attraction/desire to anyone.
- A = Ally, someone who identifies as straight and cisgender but still wants to support those who don’t.
Other terms to know:
- Cisgender = someone who identifies with the gender into which they were born.
- U = Unsure, someone who is unsure of which gender they identify with or which gender they are attracted to.
- C = Curious, someone who’s willing to explore their options.
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