Monday, August 24, 2009

Naked Role Models

Sometimes I don't know whether I'm closer to weeping, heaving, or blowing a gasket. Like when I wrote this letter last week...

12 June 2008

The Walker County Messenger

Dear Editor,

Reading Ms. Martin's column about Flintstone native Ashley Harkleroad's decision to uncover herself for Playboy magazine, I was struck by several things.

The first was the comment that the nude pictures of his daughter "were done in good taste." The only time a woman (or a man) takes her clothes off in "good taste" is for her husband. Our sexuality is a gift we give to our spouses, not a commodity to be sold to paying customers (in this case to pornography king Hugh Hefner and by default to the readers - a strange term in this context - of Playboy).

Second, the opening line, which seems to say her father regularly picks up copies of Playboy illustrates a problem in our culture. To be fair, I think that the opening line is probably a rhetorical device and I hope her dad doesn't really read Playboy. But there is an important principle for us as fathers. Our daughters will never learn to treasure their sexuality until they see their fathers honoring women. We must teach our daughters that their appearances are not linked to their value. That means that we complement and encourage their creativity, work, service to others, and most of all, godliness. We protect them from people who would sexualize them, even in the way they dress. Mom may not realize how a man might look at a girl dressed a certain way. As fathers, we must speak up.

We also need to ask ourselves, what needs to go out of our lives and our homes? Do our internet services need a filter? Are there magazines in our closets that need to go? A racy movie or a copy of a swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated are not worth the message that we give to our girls that women are primarily objects for men's sexual desires.

Last, I was struck by the contrast between a gifted professional athlete who took off her clothes for money and Taylor Mullinax, the Gordon Lee freshman who took the initiative to make "chemo hats" for children with cancer. Taylor is "full of good deeds" (Acts 9:26), as was Dorcas in the Bible. In her service to children she she has adorned herself with "the hidden person of the heart." Ashley Harkleroad adorned herself with nothing at all.

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