The sexualization of young girls in our culture is wrong. I think everyone can agree with that.
But our society tends to respond in two vastly opposite ways to this: One is by teaching girls their bodies are dirty and to place the blame on them (not how men react to them).
This approach (usually from a religious framework) attempts to deal with this problem by covering the girls from head to toe, in let’s say a burka and a veil, and hide their dirty, shameful bodies behind layers of clothing to conceal their sinfulness.
Another approach swings the pendulum in the completely opposite direction, teaching girls that their sexuality is powerful and should be used to express their individuality. This approach overemphasizes female sexuality and under the guise of “empowerment” tends to fuel the over-sexualization of girls in our culture.
This approach has become a billion-dollar industry and it is on display in the clothing departments of large retail distribution chains like Target, Walmart, etc., and in music videos, films, media, advertising, magazines, etc.
So, what is a young girl to do? What are her options? Does she listen to her religious parents who want her to hide behind her burka and accept the idea that her body is filthy and evil? OR, does she listen to her friends who dress provocatively to fit in with the culture and tell her that her body is beautiful and powerful?
Either way, the girl loses. She’s either treated like a piece of garbage by her religion, or she’s treated like a piece of meat by her culture.
This is the conversation we should be having. This is reality for our sisters and daughters RIGHT NOW.
If you want to cancel your Netflix account, please do. If you want to scapegoat a film you’ve never seen as if it alone is the problem, that’s up to you. But, please understand that what I have just written above is the plot and point of the film you’re raging against.
I understand that those clips you’ve watched are offensive. That, believe it or not, was the point. They were MEANT to make you, the viewer, feel uncomfortable in hopes that you would be just as concerned as you should be about our culture at large and how it offers very few options to young girls today.
The solution is not to eliminate Netflix or blacklist a specific film. That won’t solve the very real and very serious problem we have today as a society created and perpetuated.
Even if you manage to bankrupt Netflix and eradicate every copy of this film from the planet, the problems our girls struggle with will still be there and we will still have provided no thoughtful, reasonable or helpful solutions to them.
They will still have those 2 options: Feel dirty and filthy OR play into the oversexualization and commoditization of their bodies.
What other options can we offer them? That’s what I would like us to talk about, please.
Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang's “Tell Me Everything.” After leaving full-time ministry over 11 years ago to start a house church in Southern California that gave everything away to the poor, Keith and his wife recently moved to El Paso to embark on their next adventure with Peace Catalyst International.