In 2008, M. Gigi Durham wrote a blunt book entitled: The Lolita Effect: the Media Sexualization Of Young Girls And What We Can Do About It. Durham is not at all writing from a Christian worldview, being a militant, secular feminist instead. In the book, she writes about several myths created by the media and the culture.
- The “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” myth: Fashion magazines and media urge girls to dress in a way that’s “hot” and as such sets up the danger girls will attract harmful sexual attention.
- The “anatomy of a sex goddess” myth: The runway model or the Barbie doll is projected as the ideal body, but both are unnatural. They are genetic anomalies.
- The “pretty babies” myth: “Ideal sexiness is about being young—very young it seems.”
- The “what boys like” myth: “The ideal spectator is said to be male and the image of the woman is designed to flatter him.”
Durham is definitely on to something, even if it serves her own and different agenda. She is not alone in the secular world, worrying about the unhealthy consequences of the sexualization of our girls, even at the youngest of ages.
Christian families, who believe and follow the Bible, already had these warnings in place. Consistently, God calls women (and girls) who profess godliness to reflect that by how they project themselves (cf. 1 Tim. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 3:3-4). Many preachers and Bible class teachers through the years have taken great pains to try and define and describe modesty, but what we have observed above would have been indisputably immodest in most people’s eyes in the world just a generation or so ago.
Too many parents, including Christian parents, have been swayed by the world’s fashion standards. Even girls being raised in a Christian home have at times been encouraged and allowed to dress in ways that can easily produce lust. Jesus says that those who lust after a woman are committing adultery with her in their hearts (Mat. 5:28). Men, young and old, have a responsibility to combat lust in their hearts, but Christian love would seem to dictate that women, young and old, would make that as easy as possible for them.
Fashions that are marketed as hot, sexy and daring, that reveal the body in a sexual way, are immodest! The world, even without the Word, sees and understands that. We dare not rationalize it! The world sexualizes everything from Cheetos to plant food and everything in between. God commands purity of His people, but His Word must inform our standard of purity rather than what we think is pure. Proverbs 30:11-13 says, “There is a kind of man who curses his father and does not bless his mother. There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes, yet is not washed from his filthiness. There is a kind—oh how lofty are his eyes! And his eyelids are raised in arrogance.”
It’s important for us to ask, “What kind am I?” Fashion choices and body obsession that say “if you’ve got it flaunt it” must be honestly examined and carefully avoided. God bless our homes which thoughtfully consider and decide with hearts set to honor Him.