Vol. 3 Issue 26 | June 30, 2017
Three Things This Week
1. Wild Thoughts
Why it's persuasive: Though produced, arranged, directed, and written by men, the song features an “empowered” woman vocalizing her “wild thoughts” (note: language). It’s similar to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” which was derided as “rapey” and objectifying, yet is coincidentally devoid of criticism. Is it because a woman is giving voice to illicit sexual behavior instead of a man? When men objectify women, they should be held accountable, but what about when women do it? In many ways, this is far more pernicious for teens because, as a woman, Rihanna is implicitly giving permission to objectify not only herself, but every other woman as well. Ask your teens: Is there a difference between this song and “Blurred Lines”? Why/why not? Do you think it was an intentional choice to use a woman? How would it change things if it was intentional? How could singing along with this song subconsciously impact you?
What it is: Appropriately, this older ad (note: coarse language & imagery) from Care Norway recently went viral, opening a discussion about the effects of a culture driven by sex, stereotypes, and pornography.
Why it's interesting: As hard as it is to watch, it’s eye-opening because it depicts how seemingly harmless behaviors and attitudes can contribute to a culture that demeans, diminishes, and uses women. When appropriate, watch the ad with your teens, then listen to their reactions without judgment. How do your sons respond? How do your daughters respond? Ask if they’ve ever experienced some of the behaviors in the ad in person. Then ask if they’ve ever witnessed similar behaviors online. Though many would never dream of uttering some of the things in the ad, they may be more willing to type such things. Ask them if they’ve ever considered the larger ramifications of doing so.
3. iOS 11 & Uptime
What it is: Both Apple and Google made new products available to the public this week.
Why it's important: Apple released a beta version of iOS 11, the newest mobile operating system, which means new features to know about. Though there are many upgrades, two notable changes that will affect teens are a screen recording function—meaning Snaps can be covertly recorded, further eroding the illusion of privacy—and an augmented reality function in the camera, which will be open to all developers. Meanwhile, Google made its experimental app Uptime available to anyone. The app turns watching YouTube videos into a social experience, meaning the temptation to waste hours watching cat videos, makeup tutorials, and Let’s Play videos will be even greater for digital natives.
To the Bone
Netflix’s trailer for To the Bone (note: language), a movie about anorexia releasing July 14, is receiving backlash. Critics say (note: language) the film glorifies anorexia—images from the trailer are already being used as “thinspiration” on pro-anorexia websites—and will be a trigger for those struggling with anorexia or bulimia.
Yet others are applauding Netflix for tackling this difficult topic, commending them for turning the media spotlight on mental illness and eating disorders (EDs), especially in ways that are constructive or open the door for conversations. Both the director and the star of the movie have responded to the backlash, mentioning their personal struggles with EDs and how they wanted it to “serve as a conversation starter about an issue that is too often clouded by secrecy and misconceptions.”
Up to 30 million Americans and 70 million people worldwide are affected by EDs, and the number of diagnoses has been increasing every year since 1950, so we shouldn’t be surprised that filmmakers decided to broach the subject. But that doesn’t make it any less controversial: On one hand, the film could help humanize those who suffer from EDs, as well as bring more awareness, resources, and empathy to the conversation. On the other hand, as this therapist points out, it could become a “how to” manual for those struggling with anorexia or offer unhealthy ways of overcoming an eating disorder.
Watch the trailer (note: language) and think, read, and pray about how to discuss the movie with your teens. You know them and their struggles best, so only you and the Lord can best devise a strategy. However, even if your teen hasn’t directly struggled with an ED, that doesn’t mean he/she doesn’t know someone who is struggling. Here are some stats on teens and EDs, as well as the warning signs that someone is struggling.
As Christians, we know that mind, body, and soul are all connected; we can’t treat one without treating the other. EDs are often an outward manifestation of a deep, inner wound. Remember, everyone is struggling with something, so be compassionate. Because if we “do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.”
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