It must just be me….
Most days I just can’t figure it out. When did the world change? When did basic values like honesty, integrity, helping your neighbors and elders, modesty and the innocence of youth become “old school”? Most days, to keep from getting bogged down on the question, I tell myself, I’m just getting old. But, when I am still and quiet again, I know that temporary appeasement to that perplexing question isn’t the total truth. I know that we, Americans, citizens of world, all of us- we have changed.
I think I remember, vaguely, when it might have started. I remember when the color black became the “it” color for every occasion. Somewhere around that time the word sexy became the “it” word, for everything. Sexy, became the “it” style of dressing, the “it” way of walking, talking, thinking. Everything had to be “sexy” to be cool. Sandals had to be sexy, notebooks had to be sexy, and TVs and laptops had to be sexy. Even hamburgers and car washes had to be sexy.
Then gradually, the waist lines on our children’s clothing started to drop (far below the waist) and the bare mid-drift became the new clothing accessory. It became hard to find Mary Jane shoes for little girls without a high heel. In fact, it’s hard to find any clothing or shoes for little girls that are not- you guessed it- sexy. Leggings became actual pants. Then sports program commercials started advertising ExtenZe and other male genitalia enhancements, in broad daylight, mid-day, even Saturday mornings. The most recent and final straw for me was when the new Toy Story commercial had Barbie talking about Ken’s ass(cot).
Along with the expansion of our oversexed society, teen pregnancy, once on the decline (and viewed by society as undesirable) began to rise again and became somewhat…popular. Unwed teen mothers were highlighted and spotlighted with TV shows and the news stories covered a group of 12-13 year old girls who decided to get pregnant together so that they could be like the latest teen idol who was also an unwed 15-16 year-old mother. Meanwhile the male counterparts to these “teen pregnancies” remained largely unidentified and protected under the cloak of ambiguity.
Where all of this truly began, who knows? But we should definitely start asking where it will end. When will we, the adults, take responsibility for the world we’ve created and realize that our children are paying a deadly price? If you think the federal deficit is the biggest problem we’ve created for our children and grandchildren, then you probably aren’t aware of the rate at which AIDS is spreading among Americans under 18 years old.
Anyway, after I run through this mental exercise, nearly daily, I tell myself, the solution is not rocket science. The solution is so doable and not even expensive. The solution is you and me. Being conscious, being caring, and being accepting of the challenge to right a wrong, for our children’s sake. The solution is programs like Strong Women, Strong Girls. Young and older women helping younger girls make better choices. I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I put on my running shoes again.