Friday, February 13, 2015
Fifty Shades of Objectification: Protect Your Teen's Heart
Protecting Teens' Minds and Hearts
Protecting our teens' minds and hearts is a big job, but one that's well worth the time. Our children don't outgrow our need for guidance once they hit the teen years. In fact, providing a strong, steady voice and presence in our teens' lives, while allowing them have some independence, makes all the difference in their future.
Valentine's Day, Love and Media Hype
It's almost Valentine's Day, and Fifty Shades of Grey will hit the theaters to kick off the celebration of love. Yet, Fifty Shades of Grey has NOTHING to do with love. In fact, the book and movie could well be renamed Fifty Shades of Objectification. Still, teens old enough to get into R-rated movies will flock to this show, wanting to see what all the media hype is about. And you can be sure that your teen knows all about this movie. It's plastered everywhere teens go. Namely: social media.
When I saw a recent article about this movie pop up in Dr. Lynne Kenney's social media thread, I was compelled to click through.
Nothing Sexy About Being an Opportunist
On a psychological level, there is nothing sexy about Fifty Shades of Grey. This article, A Psychiatrist's Letter to Young People About 50 Shades of Grey, by Dr. Miriam Grossman, outlines the reasons why. I hope you talk to your teens about this movie...and share the reality of what's behind an opportunist relationship where one human being objectifies another. Nothing good comes of relationships like this. When teens see or read these sorts of things, it becomes part of their schema of what is "normal", what is "right".
It's Not About Sex
This isn't about the sex, it's about objectifying human beings. Make sure your teens know the difference. I can assure you they are talking about it. If you are uncomfortable discussing this with your teen...make sure to share the article by Dr. Grossman with them at the very least. This is not a prudish, puritanical argument against the content in this book/movie...it's about being human...and making sure teens understand what HEALTHY, LOVING relationships really look like. Hopefully, we've all modeled that well.
This glorified version of objectification is disturbing on many levels. Add teens to the mix...and it becomes downright confusing. This psychiatrist echoes what mental health clinicians know to be true. There is an inherent imbalance of power in the unhealthy relationship portrayed in this book/movie. The good doctor outlines why in her article.
This topic is so important. Your teens' view of what constitutes a healthy relationship is at stake.
Educate your kids...or someone else will. I promise you!
What do you think?