By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister
Every once in a while, EYC devotes a few nights to discussing “Things we don’t talk about at church, but probably should.” For two weeks in October, we discussed how women are portrayed in the media.
In Jr. and Sr. EYC, we devoted sometime to the topic of Women and Beauty, using a video from the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. In Sr. EYC, we complicated things further with a few clips from the 2012 documentary, Miss Representation about how women in powerful positions are portrayed (i.e. Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin).
Week one, we divided by guys and girls to discuss. Week two, we grouped back up to discuss with each other.
How might these portrayals of women affect young women?
How might these portrayals of women affect young men?
How do we, as Christians, respond?
Youth: “It’s false advertisement. That’s not even a real person.”
Mentor: “That’s easy to see here and now. Is that how you normally respond to images like this?”
Mentor: “Where do you see images like this?”
Youth: “Internet. Magazines at the grocery store. Billboards. TV. School. Movies.”
Mentor: “How do you think it affects us to see images like this so often?”
Mentor: “So even if you become educated about images like this – even if you know they’re false, does that solve the problem for you? Does that make these sorts of images harmless for us?”
These were not smooth conversations (Youth: “Um… that’s awkward.”), but youth and mentors were both engaged and seemed to know something was at stake here. Something was wrong with this, even if we could only articulate parts of what seemed wrong as a whole. And there didn’t seem to be an easy way out or an easy way for us to avoid these sorts of images. So what were we as Christians supposed to do?
We began to explore a Christian response, but only just began. What about you: how do you, as a Christian, respond to portrayals of women like this?