Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sports Illustrated: Cover up Cover Girl

Ok first I just want to say I am not a prude. I may not have run out to see 50 Shades Of Gray, but I'm totally Ok with sex and sexy and see myself as pretty liberal in this department. But when I saw the Sports Illustrated cover this month I blanched. Beautiful woman in sexy bikini on cover of magazine. Ho hum. Beautiful woman in sexy bikini who is actively pulling down her bikini bottom in the most tantalizing and provocative way to the lowest pre-pubic hair point, Oy Vey!

Teen girls have it hard enough with boys pressuring them to show their hot body in a snap chat photo, but now boys have new ammunition. "You're just as hot as the model of Sports Illustrated, I bet you could take a picture just like that....ooh I'd much rather have a picture of you doing that, than some strange girl I don't know!"And if you are a teen girl, who likes this kind of attention from a boy she thinks is cute, why not go for it???

If you haven't seen the cover, you can google it, or click on this link. This is a great website that tries to counter the sexualized messages the media shares in abundance.

For the men and boys in your home who have bought the magazine, it's time for a talk. And for your girls, show them this cover and have a talk. Your teens don't need a lecture, they need an opportunity for discussion. Just saying what you think, is not going to get them to do their own thinking about this. And that really is what THEY need to do. They just need you to get the conversation going. Because of course you know that when they are oogling over this picture with their friends they will absolutely not be talking about the message this picture is sending, they will be talking about how hot this picture is, and this will be both boys and girls. So rather than lecturing, try asking some questions to get them thinking.

  • Why is sexy good?
  • What makes girls sexy?
  • Can sexy be something more than a hot body in a bikini?
  • What other qualities are important to you in a person other than sexy?
  • I get these kinds of photos give girls lots of attention, why does that feel good?
  • Are there other things in your life that give you attention that feel as good or even better than looking sexy?
  • Can you see any ways that these kinds of sexy photos could have unintended and unsafe consequences if you either got a girl to send you one, or you sent one to a boy?
  • What would you really think about that girl who sent you a photo like this, or what do you think boys would really think about you if you sent a picture like this?
I'm guessing there will be some eye-rolling here. But honestly teens don't have much opportunity to really think through these kinds of issues unless someone takes the time to engage with them about it. That would be you!!