Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Carrie Prejean Sex Tape: A Teachable Moment

I have avoided the Carrie Prejean sex tape dust up for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it just makes me uncomfortable. No, not because I did something of a similar nature in my misbegotten youth. It wouldn’t have occurred to me in my teens because, well, I am old enough that being a “good girl” was still highly valued and getting a “reputation” would ruin a girl back then. Things like this creep me out because I have a young granddaughter who is being raised in a society that puts pressures on young girls that I couldn’t have even imagined growing up.

Donald Douglas asks if Carrie Prejean can still speak for Conservatives to which I would give a qualified “yes”.

According to a nationwide survey, 20 percent of teens admit to “sexting”-send nude pictures and videos of themselves via cell phone. From that, one can assume that either one out of five teens is being raised in a “bad family” or that despite their parents best efforts, one in five teens succumbed to peer pressure. I’ll go with the latter.

It wouldn’t surprise me if at least one out of five adults in my age group occasionally have an “I can’t believe I did that” moment when reflecting back on their teen years. But as society has changed (devolved?) the definition of what constitutes a youthful indiscretion has also changed and unlike “back in the day” the advent of cell phones, with their capacity for video and picture taking, now captures the indiscretion for posterity.

Back in March, Stacy McCain wrote Mamas Don’t Let Your Daughters Grow Up To Be Downloads. Well now that Carrie Prejean has become a download, who better to talk to drive home to our young people the message that “it can happen to you”? The message to young people should be, if you think it is embarrassing for your ex-boyfriend to show his friends the nude pics of you now, how embarrassing would it be if ten years from now he sends them to your boss?

Teenagers are notoriously shortsighted. Prejean is in a position to talk to youth about how one impulsive act can come back to bite you years later. Prejean can still speak for Conservatives but she should speak more honestly going forward. Good roll models aren’t people who are flawless but people who have overcome flaws and use their experience to help others avoid mistakes. Our children, and particularly our daughters, are sexualized at a very young age. Prejean can give them a point of view that they will not get from their peers.

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