As we have seen, the popular culture refers to public nudity as "becoming comfortable with your body." Huge numbers of girls have accepted that interpretation and brazenly disrobed for Playboy, for movie producers, for soft-core and hard-core pornographers, and for anyone else who offers to pay them. It is another form of prostitution, of course. Some teenage girls seeking attention receive no compensation in return. In a transmission called "sexting," they send nude or sexually explicit photographs through their cell phones or the Internet to boyfriends, who download the images. The guys can then distribute the pictures widely for decades to come. More than 20 percent of teens have engaged in this activity.Whatever happened to the voice of conscience that told generations of young women that disrobing before strangers was wrong and cheap? It has been perverted by a popular culture that instead condemns modesty and morality, urging girls to get comfortable with nudity.
Everywhere teens turn, they hear versions of the same party line. I am reminded of the enormously successful movie Grease, which subtly helped to weaken what was left of traditional morality. It was released in 1978 but set in the 1950s as a fluffy, glitzy, relatively tame musical about teenage love. The film starred John Travolta as Danny Zuko, a big man on campus who made the girls swoon. Olivia Newton-John played a cute little blonde named Sandy who was a newcomer from Australia. Clearly, she didn't know the ropes. She was a "good girl" who usually dressed in white or pale yellow. Every other girl at Rydell High seemed to be having more fun than she was, and in fact, her new friends were concerned about Sandy's embarrassing innocence. They invited her to a sleepover to toughen her up.
Sandy's virginity was the focal point of the party. When one of the girls, Frenchy, offered to pierce Sandy's ears, another girl handed her a "virginity pin" to penetrate the lobe. Get it? the blood was symbolic of the loss of virtue. The girls introduced Sandy to wine and smoking, which sent her scurrying into the bathroom to throw up. While she was inside, the brashest member of the clique, Rizzo, said, "Little goody two shoes makes me wanna barf." Then she put on a blonde wig and began to sing, mockingly:
Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee, lousy with virginity.
Won't go to bed till I'm legally wed,
I can't, I'm Sandra Dee.
The lyrics went on to lampoon Sandy's good-girl image. The relationship between Sandy and Danny continued to go sour in the days that followed. He took her to a drive-in movie and gave her his school ring. "That means so much to me," she said. "It means you respect me." Then Zuko made his move. He tried to touch Sandy's breast and then pinned her down on the front seat of his car. Sandy screamed and struggled free, then stumbled from the car. The incident frustrated Zuko and caused a rift between them, after which they drifted apart. Sandy was very confused by what was happening.
Then a drag race was staged at the Los Angeles River, pitting Zuko against his rival. Sandy is seen sitting in the distance and thinking about what had gone wrong in their relationship. Suddenly, it hit her. She realized she was altogether "too good." That led her to sing Rizzo's sleepover song sadly,
Wholesome and pure, of so scared and unsure,
A poor man's Sandra Dee.
The last words of the song are, "Good-bye to Sandra Dee." Remember that Sandy was said to be "lousy with virginity." That was the big problem.
Sandy knew exactly what she had to do. She asked Frenchy to oversee a makeover, and in the next scene a vampish-looking Sandy emerged wearing a leather jacket, skintight leather pants, and spike heels. She saw Zuko and said, "Tell me about it, Stud." They pranced through a dance number at an all-school carnival, at times moving their hips toward each other symbolically to the beat of the music. Then they got into a futuristic car and soared into the clouds while the students at Rydell High danced with glee.
I have described this entertaining movie in detail, not because it is the worst movie that has ever been produced. It is actually rather tame and quite funny. I have singled out Grease because it subtly and convincingly destroys virginity as a virtue. It illustrates precisely the point Shalit and Liebau make in their books. Being "wholesome and pure, oh so scared and unsure" is how girls are told they will feel if they are too virtuous. ... Girls today, like their predecessors, look to Sandy's character as a role model who teaches them why they also need to get rid of their lousy virginity. Today's girls are warned that they'll never get the attention of guys if they continue to look and act like Sandra Dee.
Excerpt from Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson. Copyright 2010 by James C. Dobson. Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. The excerpt was taken from the hardcover edition of this book, which was a gift to me. The excerpt is from pages 158-60.
Bringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women by Dr. James Dobson