1. The Post-Roe Generation
What it is: The annual March for Life pro-life rally drew tens of thousands to the National Mall in Washington D.C. on January 22. Many of these participants were teens or college-aged.
What it means: The pro-life movement has always included people you might not have expected in their ranks. But would you have expected that many of the most fervent pro-life activists at Saturday’s rally would be 21 and under? The countdown to the Supreme Court’s summer ruling, which is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade and return abortion rights decisions to the state level, has brought excitement about a post-Roe America to a fever pitch. It isn’t just the court ruling that has these young people excited, either: members of Gen Z, often called the activist generation, understand that real change is happening on a grassroots level.
2. The Slim Thick Fixation
What it is: A small study in the journal Body Image indicated that women suffered from physical dissatisfaction with their appearance whenever they compared themselves to “body-ideal” imagery, regardless of what the body ideal was.
Why it’s worth knowing about: This newly published study only has a sample size of 402 female undergraduates, but the results showed that participants felt bad about their bodies whenever they were exposed to “body ideal” imagery, regardless of if that imagery depicted athletic bodies, thin bodies, or what’s being called the “slim thick” ideal (think: Kardashians, et al). This is important to understand because while extreme thinness isn’t glorified the way that it once was, now a certain curve ratio, equally unattainable, is being fetishized. Young women are just as inundated (if not more so) with messaging that they need to look “slim thick” as a prior generation was by diet culture. Just because being skinny isn’t as celebrated as it once was, idealization and comparison are still triggering body dysmorphia — in fact, an unhealthy fixation on the “slim thick” ideal might be harder to detect as it might take the form of an intense workout regimen and supplements rather than a crash diet and extreme weight loss.
What it is: The word “trauma” is absolutely everywhere, and has taken on a variety of different meanings. Experts wonder if the word “trauma” has become diluted by overuse, to the point where it means almost nothing at all.
Why mental health specialists are worried: The scope of what should or should not be considered “trauma” seems to grow more and more amorphous, leaving people who really have experienced trauma feeling like it’s not a serious enough word for what they have gone through. According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is an emotional reaction to a terrible event. It can be the result of an accident, a natural disaster, or harm done to you as an adult or a child. Of course, the term “terrible event” is a bit subjective; what some would deem terrible, others might see as not being all that bad, according to a variety of different value judgments. The #trauma tag on TikTok currently has over 6.7 billion views, and we’d wager a guess that many of those posts wouldn’t fit the definition of what most of us would consider trauma.
Slang of the Week
unalive myself/yourself: tongue-in-cheek way of talking about dying by suicide; sometimes used as a way to evade cyberbullying filters on social media sites that would block suicide content. (Ex: “There was no way I was going to pass the chem test today but we got three extra days to study so I don’t have to unalive myself just yet.”)
Translation: The Post-Roe Generation
Part of why so many Christians see the fight against abortion as a cause worth championing is because of verses like Proverbs 31:8, which says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Although such verses obviously aren’t only about unborn children, the unborn certainly qualify as among “those who cannot speak for themselves”.
There is a difference between teaching from a Christian worldview and teaching a Christian worldview. Someone might teach from a Christian worldview and speak out against abortion, but teaching a Christian worldview also means teaching how to think and not just what to think. Whether or not Roe v. Wade is overturned, the Christian worldview will still insist that every human being—no matter their size, level of development, environment, degree of dependency, race, gender, or whatever other qualification we want to throw in—is made in the image of God, and is therefore deserving of honor, dignity, and protection. Being pro-life means more than just being pro-birth, but it by definition includes it. As the Psalmist puts it beautifully in Psalm 139:13-14, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
But part of addressing the issue of abortion also means recognizing how some environments lead young women to think of abortion as their only option. We should ask ourselves: if someone in our community got pregnant out of wedlock, would our community be willing to help take care of her and the child (or encourage her through the process of adoption)—or would we ostracize her? Would she believe she could be honest about her pregnancy, or would she feel compelled by shame to cover the evidence with an abortion?
There are numerous angles we don’t have space to cover here—including how reliant Christians should be on governmental policy, whether premarital sex should be considered a foregone conclusion, and the importance of grace for women who have already had an abortion. But for now, all we hope to do is spark conversation—so here are some questions we hope might do that with your teens:
- Were you surprised to hear that so many teens were at the March for Life? Why or why not?
- Do you think your generation as a whole cares about abortion? Why or why not?
- Why do you think protecting the unborn is politicized as a “right-wing” cause?