I am proud to say that I was raised by a mother who turned around magazine covers in the checkout line of the grocery store.
I’ll admit, at the time, it seemed silly. I knew nothing about product placement or advertising. I didn’t know that profit-minded business people were behind the pictures and headlines—that each word and image were carefully chosen to grab the viewer’s attention to get them to buy. All I saw was pretty people, bright colors, and bolded words—most of which were foreign to me.
The creators of those magazines didn’t care about me—they just wanted to sell magazines. I’m not saying this to malign magazines or the business of making money. I’ve worked in marketing my entire professional career. I’m saying I didn’t know any better—I was a kid.
But my mom knew better. She knew that words and pictures have meaning beyond monetary value; they affect a person’s heart (Proverbs 4:23). When she saw content that was too mature for my young eyes in the checkout lane, she did what she could to protect me.
Recently, I read about some of the flack that Walmart received for removing women’s rag Cosmopolitan from the checkout stand in their stores.
If you haven’t already heard, in March, the store announced that the decision was partly due to “concerns” that were raised. While Walmart wasn’t specific about what concerns it was talking about, the National Center of Sexual Exploitation said it had been working with Walmart for months to remove Cosmo from the checkout lanes due to the “hypersexualized” content on the covers.
Liz Wolfe, in an article for the Washington Examiner, wasn’t a fan of the decision. “Perhaps organizations like [Walmart] should hark back to a more libertarian ideal: let people do what they want,” she wrote. “Provide full information, but don’t attempt to control or shame what people do in the privacy of their own homes.”
While this view certainly embraces the Cosmo spirit, it also proves Walmart’s point. If a magazine is designed to promote sex in explicit detail—an act that Wolfe says should be done “in the privacy of their own homes”—should that magazine be in the checkout lane in plain view of these children? Of course not. Walmart did the responsible thing, and frankly, should have done it a long time ago.
Those who are crying foul over Walmart’s actions are not thinking about children. Or if they are, they simply don’t care if young children are bombarded with sexual images and ideas. And I guess that’s not surprising—look at the graphic sexual education programs being peddled to our schools.
It’s gotten so bad that parents are staging a sit-out. On April 23, parents across the U.S. are participating in the “Sex Ed Sit Out” by pulling their kids out of school for the day to protest graphic sex-ed programs in our public schools.
In a press release about the protest, Elizabeth Johnston, better known as The Activist Mommy, said, "Why are our tax dollars going to pay for curriculums and resources that teach dangerous and promiscuous behaviors which most parents find morally abhorrent and the CDC has stated are a health risk?"
She’s right. The government has no business forcing its agenda and ideology on children. And this brave new world of “when it comes to sex, anything goes” is ideology. In fact, it’s the entire philosophy behind multi-million dollar groups like Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign—the exact groups that are creating and targeting our children with these types of materials in the first place.
We’ve long agreed that those in our society who attempt to sexualize children are causing great harm. How is this any different? A child exposed to graphic content is not an “informed” child—it is a child who has had a piece of her innocence ripped away by self-centered adults.
Parents, it’s time to stand up for our children. And while that certainly means protesting and staying informed of what your school board is doing and what new policies they are adopting, it also means educating your child and not shying away from the tough conversations.
Do you want Planned Parenthood, which commits more than 300,000 abortions a year, to be the first to tell your child about sex? Would it be okay with you if your child came home from school one day crying because they were taught that changing clothes could turn them into the opposite sex? Or that their brain could be trapped in the wrong body?
If you fail to educate your children about the important stuff, someone else will be more than happy to do it for you. And if the negative treatment of Walmart is any indication, you can bet they won’t have your children’s best interests at heart.