March 2, 2005: Headlines: COS - Cameroon: Journalism: Speaking Out: Madison Capital Times: Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Girls' sexuality overhyped

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Cameroon: Peace Corps Cameroon: The Peace Corps in Cameroon: March 2, 2005: Headlines: COS - Cameroon: Journalism: Speaking Out: Madison Capital Times: Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Girls' sexuality overhyped

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Friday, March 04, 2005 - 9:44 pm: Edit Post

Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Girls' sexuality overhyped

Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Girls' sexuality overhyped

Cameroon RPCV Margaret Krome says Girls' sexuality overhyped

Margaret Krome: Girls' sexuality overhyped

By Margaret Krome
March 2, 2005

I went to our son's middle school talent show recently. It was an explosion of creative talent, from juggling, piano and singing to rock bands and dramatic skits.

But this year's Follies were most distinguished by the number of acts where clusters of girls came on stage to bump and grind. It was, with one exception, entirely about strutting their stuff. Even the group with real dance training choreographed their dance around sexual displays. What the rest lacked in skill, they made up for by sexy moves and outfits.

I didn't think I had illusions about our culture, but I hadn't realized how toxic the message to girls must be until I saw how many girls evidently think their principal talent is how well they market their sexuality.

Don't misunderstand me. Girls aren't bad, nor are boys, for expressing interest in sexuality, and I don't see sexual identity as a taboo topic for creative expression. Girls and women are the usual targets of hostility when governments or other authorities in eras of sexual repression try to curb rights. My wish for my own children is a healthy and exuberant appreciation of sexuality between vigorous people with an appetite for discovery and creative expression.

But this presumes active cultivation of non-sexual competence and exploration. When a middle school talent show generates a spate of girls' sexual exhibitionism, it strongly suggests a lack of leadership in helping girls identify creative expressions that aren't tied to their function as sexual objects.

Research studies report conflicting results regarding the relationship between sexually explicit images and violence against women. There's little doubt, though, that a constant message about the importance of being sexy limits what girls think makes them important.

Sexuality isn't the issue; the limited presentation of women as objectified sex objects is. The opponent of sexual censorship, Marcia Pauly, wrote in 1993, "Being an object of sexual desire is demeaning only if that is all one is. As part of life, as a piece of experience, it is a boon." This is true only if girls see examples of successful alternatives to that role.

I found that a number of other people at this year's Follies were appalled by these dances. Some said they wonder if they're being prudes or just an older generation shaking its finger at the "youth of today."

I'm definitely not shaking my finger at the girls; this exuberant display was understandable for many of them. It was likely the first, big blast of power they've known. All their lives they see sexy images held up in countless commercials and other ways as a standard of successful and powerful womanhood. Suddenly, without having to try, they hit puberty and win the lottery. They're sexy and exulting in it. It may not be talent, but it's valued.

So the people at whom I'm shaking my finger are those who foster the message that sexuality is a girl's greatest asset. It's those who gratuitously market virtually any product with a sexual woman angle, but also parents, schools and the greater community for failing to help girls excel in talents over which they have actual mastery.

Schools are important not only to teach cognitive skills but also social ones, including how to navigate the sexual feelings that grow wildly throughout middle and high school. Is it helpful to girls to showcase them as sexual objects in talent shows intended to communicate what's creative and interesting about a person?

Certainly it's unfair to criticize schools for social ills over which they have no control. But schools do set cultural standards. In a world where many students' standards are set by commercial TV, it's important to show healthier models of success.

Next year I hope the school will set guidelines so girls' dances display more talent than breast and bottom. More important is to help girls develop other skills and talents that justify true public displays.

Margaret Krome of Madison writes a semimonthly column for The Capital Times. E-mail:

When this story was posted in March 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

The Peace Corps Library Date: February 7 2005 No: 438 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in over 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related reference material in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can use the Main Index to find hundreds of stories about RPCVs who have your same interests, who served in your Country of Service, or who serve in your state.

Top Stories and Breaking News PCOL Magazine Peace Corps Library RPCV Directory Sign Up

March 1: National Day of Action Date: February 28 2005 No: 471 March 1: National Day of Action
Tuesday, March 1, is the NPCA's National Day of Action. Please call your Senators and ask them to support the President's proposed $27 Million budget increase for the Peace Corps for FY2006 and ask them to oppose the elimination of Perkins loans that benefit Peace Corps volunteers from low-income backgrounds. Follow this link for step-by-step information on how to make your calls. Then take our poll and leave feedback on how the calls went.
Coates Redmon, Peace Corps Chronicler  Date: February 26 2005 No: 457 Coates Redmon, Peace Corps Chronicler
Coates Redmon, a staffer in Sargent Shriver's Peace Corps, died February 22 in Washington, DC. Her book "Come as You Are" is considered to be one of the finest (and most entertaining) recountings of the birth of the Peace Corps and how it was literally thrown together in a matter of weeks. If you want to know what it felt like to be young and idealistic in the 1960's, get an out-of-print copy. We honor her memory.

February 26, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: February 26 2005 No: 454 February 26, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
Folk-Singer Steve Schuch releases "Trees of Life" 26 Feb
Christopher Bartlett maintains Marine Protected Area 25 Feb
Joseph Frey uses amputation experience to help others 25 Feb
James McCann concerned by maize in Ethiopia 25 Feb
Sen. Obama says PC can help improve diplomacy 24 Feb
PCVs help remove batteries in Belize 24 Feb
Jimmy Carter praises mother's PC service 24 Feb
Craig D. Wandke's lunar passion began in Honduras 23 Feb
Char Andrews discusses her experience with cancer 23 Feb
Beverly Seckinger tells stories through film 23 Feb
J. Tyler Dickovick: As Togo goes, so may go Africa 23 Feb
Andres Hernandez searches for PCV for 40 years 23 Feb
Bulgaria is now like second home to Aaron Wills 22 Feb
Bernadette Roberts to serve as diplomat in Albania 22 Feb
USA Freedom Corps downgraded at White House 22 Feb
Tom Skeldon seeks to control pit bull trade 21 Feb
Gabriela Lena Frank writes music on Dad's PCV service 21 Feb

Make a call for the Peace Corps Date: February 19 2005 No: 453 Make a call for the Peace Corps
PCOL is a strong supporter of the NPCA's National Day of Action and encourages every RPCV to spend ten minutes on Tuesday, March 1 making a call to your Representatives and ask them to support President Bush's budget proposal of $345 Million to expand the Peace Corps. Take our Poll: Click here to take our poll. We'll send out a reminder and have more details early next week.
Peace Corps Calendar: Tempest in a Teapot? Date: February 17 2005 No: 445 Peace Corps Calendar: Tempest in a Teapot?
Bulgarian writer Ognyan Georgiev has written a story which has made the front page of the newspaper "Telegraf" criticizing the photo selection for his country in the 2005 "Peace Corps Calendar" published by RPCVs of Madison, Wisconsin. RPCV Betsy Sergeant Snow, who submitted the photograph for the calendar, has published her reply. Read the stories and leave your comments.
WWII participants became RPCVs Date: February 13 2005 No: 442 WWII participants became RPCVs
Read about two RPCVs who participated in World War II in very different ways long before there was a Peace Corps. Retired Rear Adm. Francis J. Thomas (RPCV Fiji), a decorated hero of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Friday, Jan. 21, 2005 at 100. Mary Smeltzer (RPCV Botswana), 89, followed her Japanese students into WWII internment camps. We honor both RPCVs for their service.
Bush's FY06 Budget for the Peace Corps Date: February 7 2005 No: 436 Bush's FY06 Budget for the Peace Corps
The White House is proposing $345 Million for the Peace Corps for FY06 - a $27.7 Million (8.7%) increase that would allow at least two new posts and maintain the existing number of volunteers at approximately 7,700. Bush's 2002 proposal to double the Peace Corps to 14,000 volunteers appears to have been forgotten. The proposed budget still needs to be approved by Congress.
RPCVs mobilize support for Countries of Service Date: January 30 2005 No: 405 RPCVs mobilize support for Countries of Service
RPCV Groups mobilize to support their Countries of Service. Over 200 RPCVS have already applied to the Crisis Corps to provide Tsunami Recovery aid, RPCVs have written a letter urging President Bush and Congress to aid Democracy in Ukraine, and RPCVs are writing NBC about a recent episode of the "West Wing" and asking them to get their facts right about Turkey.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Madison Capital Times

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Cameroon; Journalism; Speaking Out



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.