Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

September 10, 2009

broken promises; so read this

I promised J I would post this week about the question she posed to us earlier this week concerning friendship between a man and a woman. But I have to break that promise, because I just don't have the energy tonight (and I've been writing so much today I don't know what I think about anything anymore). I promise. I'll post it on Monday.

Instead let me direct your attention to two fascinating articles:

1) EPPC Fellow Colleen Campbell wrote a great article about teen-idols and marketing to young girls. She dubs the problem the Britney Spears Syndrome:
Call it the Britney Spears Syndrome: A fresh-faced ingénue with a modicum of talent amasses a passionate following of pre-teen female fans. Parents, relieved that their daughters idolize this tame teen queen instead of her older, raunchier show-biz sisters, buy up the budding star's CDs, movies and themed merchandise. Then, just as they have given their daughters the green light to mimic her every move, the star morphs into a sultry vixen infamous for onstage exhibitionism, striptease photos and misadventures with booze and bad boys.

Given how often this syndrome afflicts young stars who get their start with Disney, it should have come as no surprise when 16-year-old Miley Cyrus, of Disney's "Hannah Montana" fame, appeared this month at FOX's Teen Choice Awards pole-dancing atop an ice-cream cart in micro-shorts and black leather boots.

The stunt was the latest in a series that have eaten away at Cyrus' squeaky-clean image, from her topless photo last year in Vanity Fair to risqué pictures posted on her MySpace page. Some parents have expressed astonishment at Cyrus' transformation from schoolgirl to sexpot, but it is a simple matter of economics. Sex sells. And the sexualization of girls -- from cherubic-faced teen idols like Cyrus to their legions of even younger fans -- is big business in America today.

The same marketing ploys that entice grown women to spend millions on anti-wrinkle creams, baby-doll dresses and fashion magazines touting boyish, pre-pubescent figures as a female beauty ideal are used to sell their preschool-aged daughters thong underwear, padded bras and pole-dancing kits. Grown women feel compelled to look like schoolgirls even as schoolgirls feel pressured to look like grown women. This phenomenon, known in marketing circles as "age compression," has been profitable for the fashion and entertainment industries. But it has had devastating effects on young girls.

2) Kay S. Hymowitz (who I've mentioned before) has another great article, this time on low-income fathers in the workforce:
For obvious reasons, poverty policy has concentrated most of its attention on single mothers and their children. ...Low-income men were another story. They became, in the words of social scientists, increasingly “detached” from the workforce—and increasingly poor. Work is key to keeping men out of poverty, just as it is for women, but by 2005, a mere 16 percent of men below the poverty line were working full-time and year-round, and the majority reported no work at all. Making matters worse, a large proportion of low-income men were noncustodial fathers. ...Yet welfare reform’s methods for encouraging moms to work don’t apply to dads, since, for the most part, they aren’t dependent on government benefits in the first place.

(Read the full article here.)

In the meantime, lets' continue to pray for Julian's friend, for his healing and safe return, for the comfort of his soul and for his family. And especially let us pray to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton patroness of the Navy, who sent two of her sons into the US Navy.

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