Recently I had to go out of town for an extended business trip. One morning when I went down to enjoy yet another continental breakfast, I discovered that apparently there was some type of middle school cheerleading competition going on in the town. The dining area was crowded with young girls, covered in makeup and hair ribbons, all talking and laughing far too loud for 7 in the morning.
Far more disturbing than their presence and makeup and volume, however, was their clothing. Most of these girls were wearing some type of leggings or “sportsware” that was far too tight fitting and one girl even had her shirt tied up, reveling her stomach. Call me a prude if you want, I personally don’t find this kind of dress appropriate for adult women, much less middle school girls. More disturbing than that even, was the fact that all of these girls seemed to have their mothers with them, and apparently those mothers were perfectly fine with their children being dressed this way.
But most disturbing of all was that I saw there were at least four men, presumably fathers, step fathers, or maybe coaches, and not a single one of them seemed to object. Not one man in that group had the morals, ethics, or courage to take a stand for the modesty and virtue of those little girls.
Sitting there eating my breakfast, hoping for a new adult in the group to show up and say something, while trying not look like the creepy man looking at the little girls, I started to really wonder why this was bothering me so much. Obviously if these girls were going to a cheerleading competition, or gymnastics, or even ballet, they would be dressed very similarly then, and that is generally seen as acceptable. If they were at the beach or even the pool in that very hotel, they would most likely be wearing some type of bathing suit that would be even more revealing, and that is generally seen as acceptable. And the same could be said for girls even younger than them.
Without a solid answer to that, and still no one in the group taking a stand, I started to wonder what the appropriate action on my part would be. Obviously saying something to any of the girls directly was out, talk about coming across as creepy! Saying anything to the mothers also seemed to carry the creepy factor, plus the risk of setting off a momma bear and probably embarrassing the woman herself for her own acceptance or apathy towards it. I thought about trying to talk to one of the fathers or coaches, but that of course would have the creepy factor too, and might spark a physical altercation if the man had misplaced morals enough to be willing to face off with a stranger, but not enough courage to take a stand with the people he knows. And any kind of action on my part ran the risk that someone would bring it up to hotel staff, which of course could result in repercussions with my job, since I was there for business and they were paying for the hotel. And I still had to stay there for another week.
Ultimately I finished my breakfast and left without taking any kind of action myself.
I left still confused and now feeling more than a little cowardly and hypocritical myself, especially considering my recent call for a “new greatest generation.” I still believe that there is something I could have done, but I haven’t figured out what the right action in this kind of situation is.
Should God ever bless me with children I will of course do everything in my power to protect my daughters modesty and virtue when they are young, and hope and pray that the lessons sink in so that when they are older they will respect themselves enough to choose to do the same. I will do my best to teach my sons to respect women enough to not go looking for the ones that flaunt their bodies. I hope that I can teach them all the truth that their bodies are first a living sacrifice to God, and secondly only to be shared with a spouse. I fully intended to do everything I can to help my children understand the proper time, place, and role of sex in their lives. And if, because of them, I end up being a part of a group like this cheerleading team, I will say something to the coaches, other parents, and even the girls themselves.
But that is what I can do in the future, what I need to know is what can I do now …