Body Talk: Beyond the Tween Abstinence Lecture
Getting an abstinence talk from a parent or youth pastor has become something of a rite of passage for evangelical teens. As evidenced by purity balls and promise rings, our subculture is deeply concerned with protecting youth from premarital sex. But I wonder if our focus on avoiding intercourse is too narrow—especially as today’s youth face a barrage of messaging related to their bodies, appearance, and sexuality.
Young people stumble into sex-conscious adolescence seemingly earlier than ever, thanks to a lucrative media industry bent on marketing sexiness to teens, tweens, and even children. A recent study found that “eight- to 18-year-olds spend more time with media than in any other activity besides (maybe) sleeping—an average of more than 7½ hours a day, seven days a week.” They sift through an ever-increasing onslaught of body-oriented material, from a lingerie company promoting their new adolescent apparel collection to Miley Cyrus’s ...1