Friday, February 13, 2009

Nothing Says Love Like...What???

Back around Christmas time, Matthew Archbold had this terrific post up about his children seeing lewd window displays at the Mall, and the call he made to complain about it.

The Dallas monument to tacky excess in consumer spending known as the Galleria has, I'm afraid, gone even further than the scanty panty ads the Archbolds witnessed back in December, with a truly ugly Valentine's Day display:
At the Galleria and NorthPark Center, large hearts made of packaged condoms are on display, part of a Valentine's Day promotion and a national AIDS/HIV awareness effort.

The hearts, each made of more than 200 condoms, are in the windows of Armani Exchange stores across the country. In other cities, they've come under fire from critics who found them tacky, intrusive and offensive.

But at the Galleria this morning, most shoppers walked by without even pausing.

Many thought the condoms were just red circles or small, colored tiles.

“Until you said something, I didn’t even notice they were made of condoms,” said Wenda Blankenship, 54.

“I do think it is inappropriate though. Sex is meant to be private. It doesn’t need to be on display.”

But AIDS awareness groups say the hearts convey a strong message to adults and youths alike.

“It raises consciousness about the issue,” said Fernie Sanchez, a supervisor at AIDS Arms Inc., based in Dallas.

“At the very least, they are talking about it, whether they agree or disagree with the campaign.”

Still, Sanchez said he understood why some parents might be upset.

Frank discussions about sex and disease are needed, he said. Many times, though, "parents would rather do that on their own time in their own homes.

No, really? And what about parents whose religious beliefs cause them to find condoms morally abhorrent--you know, like Catholics (the ones who accept church teaching, not the "personally opposed" variety the media treats like trained monkeys, trotting them out to give their completely ignorant and unformed-conscience opinions whenever sexual issues are in the news, that is?). Should they be forced by a "conscience-raising" ad campaign to explain their opposition to prophylactics to their curious kids, all because a day at the mall turned into a head-on collision with the dominant immoral culture?

It's bad enough to have to teach children to shield their eyes from posters of nearly-nude models adorning the entrances to the tawdry lingerie stores. But parents should no more have to protect their children from public displays of condoms than they should have to protect them from public nudity. It may be true in the twisted minds of morally infantile adults that love is synonymous with condom use, but this sick message doesn't belong anywhere near the purity and innocence of children.


Kristen said...

I find it interesting that everyone is in such an uproar over this because of the sex issue. I have 8 younger siblings, and I hear my mother sigh every time she has to deal with sex and “where do babies come from” questions when we are at the mall and see a breast feeding mother with no modesty. I also find it interesting that so many Christians have problems with the "lies and abominations" of the world being shown to their children, when they do the same to my family. I’m sure that you would have no problem with information supporting God and Jesus on posters being displayed around town,yet my parents are trying to teach our family that these are lies, that lying is wrong, and that people live their lives believing in a lie and letting a book rule their lives. While I don’t necessarily support the condoms being on display, I do support awareness for aids and HIV, and I think there are more important issues in the world than rather or not some book says condoms are “wrong”. I don’t see anyone caring that my family (and those around us) feel that belief in a god is wrong, but Christians (and other religions for that matter) expect the world to bend over backwards to support their beliefs.

Anonymous said...


why would a breastfeeding mother (even one with "no modesty") necessitate a sex talk? No need to go that far! It's the opportunity for a biology lesson, sure, but more along the lines of what makes mammals distinct from other kinds of animals!

I do not think that displays of religion or atheism are on the same level as the condom display and here's why. It is objectively in the best interest of children to have their innocence respected and preserved. The psychological evidence for this is pretty astonishing. You don't have to be either a Christian or an atheist to realize this.

Another point I'd like to make though, is that displays of atheism or Christianity (whatever side you're on) are not exactly "lies." A Christian who believes in God but says there is no God is lying. An atheist who disbelieves in God but says there is a God is lying. A Christian who says there is a God is telling the truth, based on his evidence and experience. An atheist who says there is no God is telling the truth, based on his evidence and experience. This is not to say that either one is right, or that we can't know the truth. We can know the truth. But the atheist could be wrong without being a liar, and the Christian could be wrong without being a liar. I'm a faithful Catholic, but I don't think that atheists, Buddhists, or Muslims are liars. They believe differently, and they have reasons. I think they are wrong, and I pray for them, but I would not have a problem explaining this stuff to almost any child old enough to read.

--Elizabeth B.

Scott W. said...

parents are trying to teach our family that these are lies, that lying is wrong, and that people live their lives believing in a lie and letting a book rule their lives.

We all believe things with less than full evidence as Elizabeth alludes to, and in the question of what is truth, I would suggest the one who can't distinguish error from lie is the one who needs to think it through a little more.

As far as being ruled by a book, there is a saying that goes, "scratch an atheist, find a fundamentalist". Which is to say that Catholics are not "Scripture Alone" (Sola Scriptura) but rather the Bible is a remote rule of faith. I invite you to study the issue further so that future comments don't seem like third-hand caricature.

Ellyn said...

The whole thing boils down to being in a culture in which nothing (ie. childhood innocence) is sacred. I've been on a bit of a rant since coming whom from Walgreen's on Thursday and having found TWO separate KY tingly stuff displays among the Valentine candy. Right next to the conversation hearts in the bulk packs for kids to buy for giving to friends!!! I thought they'd have to take me out of the store in a straitjacket! The manager I spoke with said he'd "look into finding a better place" but I think he was puzzled by my chagrin. I hope the people at Walgreen's corporate complaint center are a little more attentive. Gotta go...I'm starting to foam at the mouth again. Time to lie down with a cool cloth on my head.

Anonymous said...

The previous blogging discussion is too far above my head, but my instinctual response is that if a person doesn't recognize that the display is made from condoms then what is the point, and the presenter is showing great rudeness if the viewer does recognize the public display is constructed with condoms in full view of children. And, unsolicited distastefully presented nudity is a form of pornography. I'm all for education in the appropriate venue, and for the parents that try do their best to provide wholesome objectivity in light of a culture or society that looks to the greater good shouldn't be subjected 24/7 to visual assaults. (I really don't see why anyone should find breastfeeding a baby offensive, with decorum.) We're trying to teach self-respect and honor the body God gives us, not get into devilment of voyeurism and giggling in the corner, so why make a joke of it all, especially where kids have NO need to be involved in pornography or any situation where other people provide unprovoked smut and dirtiness?

Hannah said...

I think it ultimately comes down to how you explain these things to children. My parents are both art professors, and I grew up running around an art college full of life drawings - so my understanding of nudity or semi-nudity as a child was that it was something aesthetic, and so when I saw displays of lingerie, etc. I perceived them in very much the same way - no one had ever pointed at a display of naked or semi-naked people and said it was "bad" and "naughty" and that I shouldn't look. so I never thought about it. When eventually I began to ask about where babies came from, I was very matter of factly given a biological explanation, much in the same way I would be given an explanation of why we pooped - again, it wasn't this huge taboo subject, and therefore not very interesting to me as a child, just a bit gross. When other children giggled or got excited about "adult" things, I was never that interested. Because they had gotten the idea that it was "bad" and "naughty" (and therefore, of course, highly interesting), whereas they were more incidental for me. This meant that my parents could explain the moral side of things to me in their own time.

And look on the bright side - at least you don't live in the UK. Here, we have a chain of sex shops called Ann Summers on the main street of most towns! Their window displays are often a bit harder to explain away...

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