CULTURE DIGEST: Sexualization of girls combated in new campaign
NASHVILLE (BP) -- A new campaign called "4 Every Girl" has been launched by the Parents Television Council to combat the sexualization of girls in American culture.
In recent years, PTC research has documented troubling trends on primetime television in which underage girls are more likely to be sexualized than adults, Tim Winters, PTC's president, said.
"There is a dramatic rise in the number of teenaged girls who are depicted as victims of violence -- especially sexual violence," Winters said in a news release. "Frankly we're tired of reporting such depressing data and we want to help do something about it."
The goal of the 4 Every Girl campaign, online at 4everygirl.com, is "a sharp and swift reversal" of those statistics by advocating for a media environment in which girls are honored, valued and represented by healthy, respectful images, PTC said in October.
"According to the American Psychological Association, the three most common mental health problems for girls -- eating disorders, depression and low self-esteem -- are linked to the sexualization of girls and women in media," Winters said. "We hope 4 Every Girl will bring increased awareness and concern and a new light to the work of other organizations in the fight for healthier media images of young girls."
A public service announcement is available for viewing on the website, as are recommendations for how to raise a "powerful girl" who is secure in her self-image and who makes positive choices for her own life and does positive things for others.
BALE HONORS FORCED-ABORTION FOE, CONDEMNS PRACTICE -- Actor Christian Bale finally met Chinese forced abortion foe Chen Guangcheng and presented him with a human rights award.
The star of the latest "Batman" movie franchise also decried coercive abortion and sterilization in the process.
Bale honored Chen, a blind lawyer, at Human Rights First's annual awards gala Oct. 25 in New York City. During the presentation, Bale recounted Chen's advocacy on behalf of women who had been forced to have abortions or sterilizations under China's "one-child" policy. Prior to a one-year home detention that included torture, Chen served more than four years in prison on what his supporters describe as trumped-up charges by the government.
"He had exposed a program of forced abortion and sterilization in Shandong," Bale said of Chen. "A program of forced abortion means that women are being dragged from their homes against their will. They are being forced to have abortions, sometimes late-term -- imagine that -- with some women reportedly dying in the process.
"Now this is true horror. And in this insane world, this man, Chen, who was helping these women -- who was living by some of the most simple, brave and universally admired values -- values that we teach our children every day -- and helping our fellow man -- for this, this man was imprisoned and beaten for over four years," Bale said.
Bale made the presentation to Chen 10 months after he, accompanied by a CNN television crew, tried to visit him in his home but was barred and roughed up by guards. Bale, who was in Beijing for a December movie premier, told CNN after the failed effort, "What I really wanted to do was to meet the man, shake his hand and say what an inspiration he is."
Chen escaped home detention in April, and his family and he were able to leave China for the United States in May.
Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, praised both men. She described Chen as "a towering champion of human rights," adding Bale "has become a human rights champion in his own right."
The attack by the Chinese guards when Bale sought to visit Chen "brought visibility" to Chen's treatment and "greatly helped the international effort to free Chen," Littlejohn said. "And Bale is brave to condemn the practice of forced abortion in China."
Women's Rights Without Frontiers works to combat coerced abortion and sexual slavery.
PARENTS SAY DISABLED DAUGHTER CREATED FOR GOD'S GLORY -- The little girl is her parents' joy. Pearl Joy Brown was born with a rare genetic disorder that caused her brain to stop developing after her first few weeks in utero.
But her parents Eric and Ruth Brown consider her a gift from God, "fearfully and wonderfully made" as He intended.
"God has designed Pearl the way he wanted, for his glory and our good," the Nashville Tennessean quoted Pearl's father Eric as saying.
The couple had their daughter against the advice of doctors, who recommended they terminate the pregnancy after discovering the baby suffers from alobar holoprosencephaly, a fatal condition. Doctors said she would probably die in the womb. Pearl turned 11 weeks old on Oct. 12, according to the Tennessean report.
The Browns said they never considered abortion, and were encouraged after seeing Pearl's beating heart on the ultrasound.
"If there is a chance, you say yes to that chance," Eric Brown said. "The only thing I know about parenting is that you say yes."
Pearl's brain never divided into two hemispheres. She has a cleft upper lip, suffers daily seizures, has a weakened immune system and has required frequent visits to the hospital. Doctors now say she'll live less than a year, the Tennessean reported.
"When she is done here on earth, she is not done for good," Ruth Brown told the Tennessean. "Heaven will be easier for her."
Nancy Guthrie, a Nashville mother who lost two children to a fatal genetic condition, was quoted as saying such conditions never overcome the love and joy parents experience.
"One of the things we learned is that great sorrow and great joy can coexist," Guthrie said. "Because life in the image of God is so precious, there is great joy in having this one you love with you, even while there is great sorrow in knowing that this child might not grow old with you."
RESEARCH MOVES TOWARD 3-PARENT CHILDREN -- New research in which scientists created embryos with genes from two women and a man means three-parent children are one step nearer, bioethics specialist Wesley Smith said.
Researchers at Oregon Health & Sciences University reported the results Oct. 25 in the journal Nature, saying the method could keep children from inheriting incurable diseases that include such symptoms as dementia and blindness, according to the Associated Press.
"[P]reventing illness is just the key that opens the door to many of the Brave New World technologies," Smith blogged at National Review Online. "Eventually -- given the way things go these days -- if the procedure ever becomes doable, it will go quickly from the 'medical' to the 'consumerist,' e.g., facilitating lifestyle choices and personal preferences. That's what happened with [in vitro fertilization], after all, which is no longer restricted to treating the infertile. Indeed, if we ever normalize polyamory, one could see the technique as a way for three partners to have biologically related children."
While the scientists said they do not intend to produce children from the embryos, the embryos actually are human beings in their earliest stages.
"Certainly, new human organisms were [made] -- and as an experiment," Smith wrote. "That is a big moral deal."
The technique involves taking nucleus DNA from a female patient to replace the nucleus DNA from a donor who has healthy mitochondrial DNA, AP reported. About one in 5,000 babies inherits a disease resulting from defective mitochondrial DNA.
The Oregon scientists transplanted DNA into 64 unfertilized eggs from healthy women and produced 13 embryos that developed after fertilization, according to AP.
Compiled by Tom Strode, Erin Roach and Diana Chandler of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).