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1. A Real Kicker

What it is: Harrison Butker, kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, drew ire after a commencement address where he defended the unborn and implied that for some women, life doesn’t truly begin until marriage and motherhood.
Why it’s on teens’ radar: Women have fought hard to be seen as equals in the workplace, paving the way for a generation driven to find the balance between family and work. But that balancing act might not always work out so well—an observation that Generations Z and Alpha often make on social media. Many younger women openly aspire to primarily be wives and mothers, rejecting the idea that these goals are limiting or unfulfilling. A petition to fire Butker from the Chiefs has 100,000 signatures and the NFL has publicly disassociated from his comments. With many pundits rushing to pile on Butker, there may be plenty of teens quietly wondering what—if anything—was so wrong with what he said.
Continue the conversation: Why do you think Butker got so much criticism for his comments?

2. Summer of Sabrina

What it is: Sabrina Carpenter has been on the scene for a long time, but her newest hit single, “Espresso,” poises her to be the artist of the summer.
Why it’s her breakout moment: “Espresso,” writes Vox, “effectively crystallizes the persona that Carpenter has been creating for herself: a proudly flippant ditz who is so much savvier than she seems.” The song’s catchphrase “that’s that me espresso” is grammatical nonsense, yet  has that stuck-in-your-head quality that defines the singer’s catalog. (“Espresso” also features plenty of innuendo and some explicit language.) The singer isn’t coming from out of nowhere—she started out as the star of Disney’s Girl Meets World, proceeded to have a covert-but-not-really war of lyrical words with Olivia Rodrigo, and has opened for Taylor Swift. [If you’re reading this and feeling totally out of the cultural loop, we’ve got you covered. Check out our Parent Guide to Summer 2024 for a debrief on all of the biggest trends this summer.]
Continue the conversation: What do you think the biggest song of the summer will be?

3. Best Dressed

What it is: The senior prom is still a huge deal to teens, though “prom” may look a little less fancy than it used to.
Why it’s changing: Teens in the 1980s and 1990s grew up with a wide range of teen-specific fashion brands to choose from, as well as dozens of hit movies that fueled the idea of what prom should look like in the popular imagination. But the retail landscape has flattened, and teen girls and young professional women have, in many ways, merged into one consumer demographic. Teens may hit the dance floor in short floral dresses with a corseted bodice and straps for sleeves or go for a satin slip dress in black or a neutral color. Of course, many teens may still prefer to make a grand entrance with a big gown, but it seems like teens can find a prom style they’re comfortable with on a wide spectrum of what’s seen as trendy or acceptable.
Continue the conversation: Do you think there’s still a difference between teen and adult fashion?

Song/Slang/Resource of the Week

“MILLION DOLLAR BABY” by Tommy Richman: Tommy Richman is an eclectic genre chameleon (language), dabbling in R&B, hip-hop, and punk. “MILLION DOLLAR BABY” capitalizes on this, being hard to pin down, genre-wise, while still feeling uniquely Gen-Z. It’s got a catchy beat, mumbled lyrics, and a keyboard part that wouldn’t be out of place in Wii Sports. Lyrically, it seems like Richman is using a romantic relationship with a girl as a metaphor for success, saying that he will clean up his act if he can make it with her i.e. if he can make it big.  For the lyrics, click here (cover art contains a vulgar gesture).

The Worldview of Pornography

During World War II, the United States created propaganda posters to portray its enemies as subhuman. These debasing and often racist posters were aimed at encouraging U.S. citizens to rally around the war effort. Anyone who created a poster like this today would likely get canceled. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an influential and dehumanizing propaganda machine still at work in our culture.

Pornography is not just sexual entertainment; it is a form of propaganda about what human beings are. In the same way that Scripture has a vision for humanity (that all people are God’s beloved children, worthy of honor and respect, with inherent dignity as his image-bearers), pornography also has a vision for humanity: that people (especially women) are objects to be gawked at, violated, and discarded at will. Porn offers a worldview, and like any other worldview, it shapes the way we think about what people are for—and how they should be treated.

“Pornography teaches us lies that we ingrain into aspects of our relationships and our lives,” argues Sam Black, Covenant Eyes’ Director of Recovery Education. These lies include the notion that we can’t live without sex, that sex equals love (or acceptance), and/or that what gives humans value is exclusively their sexual attractiveness. “Pornography warps our views of our relationships,” Black continues, “and we haven’t even realized it.”

We can’t afford to outsource the conversation about God’s (good, beautiful) intentions for sexuality, and the immoral distortion of pornography. Not even if we feel like our sons are good kids who would never be curious about porn, or we think because our daughters are our daughters they would thus be immune to pornography’s temptation.

For our full podcast interview with Sam Black, click here. For more on navigating the issue of pornography in our homes, click here. In the meantime, here are three questions to help spark conversation with your teens:

  • How often does the topic of pornography come up at school?
  • How do you handle negative emotions when they come up?
  • What do you believe the purpose of sex is?