Thursday, January 24, 2008

American Idol's Anti-Virgin Bias

By Jean M. Heimann

I am not much of a TV watcher. Other than EWTN and an occasional classical movie, the only program I really enjoy watching is American Idol. I am a music lover and like listening to the different genres of music presented on Idol, as well as having the opportunity to vote for the contestants. Recently, however, I was irritated by the Idol judges' reactions to 19 - year - old contestant Bruce Dixon.

Dickson, a contestant from Bostrop, Texas, at the American Idol Dallas auditions was asked to share something interesting about himself. He told the judges he had never kissed a girl. Catholic News Agency shares the dialogue:

"What?" Randy Jackson asked. "On purpose?"

“On purpose," Dickson said.

"On my wedding day, that will be my first kiss."

Jackson's advice to Dickson after the judges sent him packing: "Go kiss some girls."

Simon Cowell, eyebrows raised, told him: "Avoid Ryan (Seacrest) on the way out."

Seacrest himself ended the segment featuring Dickson with these words: "Maybe next year he'll come back less a boy and more a man."

Dickson told Cybercast News Service "A real man would rather wait than just do whatever with whoever."

Sarah Preston, a writer and editor for Playboy’s web site, spoke about Dickson’s decision on Thursday on the “Fox Report” television show, asking how he could compete in the contest without “sex appeal.”

"I'm not belittling Bruce's Christian beliefs, but I do think being in tune with one's own sexuality goes a long way in being confident with yourself," Preston said.

"Confidence is key, especially for 'American Idol.'” ”These kids become sex objects, thrust into the spotlight," she continued.

"And while I know they're all trying to stand out, especially during the audition period, using your Christian beliefs and the fact that you've never kissed a girl is not going to bode well for you while trying out to be America's next big sex object,” Preston said.

Dickson responded to some of the criticisms. "I respect women and don't think of them as a sexual object, and I'm the freak?" Dickson said to Cybercast News Service.

Dickson, the second eldest of six children, said his parents had challenged their children to practice abstinence. "It wasn't anything they forced on us," Dickson said. "It was something they talked to us about. Something they taught us the importance of."

Dickson wears a key around his neck, while his father wears a matching heart, which he wears for Dickson’s future wife. The jewelry signifies Dickson’s promise to remain abstinent until marriage.

The American Idol contestant won admiration from Jason Burtt, national director of the teen abstinence organization Silver Ring Thing. The organization promotes events and distributes rings for children to wear to symbolize their commitment to chastity.

"What we are all about is supporting kids like Bruce," Burtt told Cybercast News Service. "Most kids are mentally pushed through the media and pop culture that everyone is doing it. "

Bruce has said he's going to walk the hard walk, and instead of lifting him up and praising him, we're mocking him," Burtt said. "I think that's because when someone is up on a chair, it's easier for people to pull him down than to pull everyone else up off the floor. Maybe they feel bad they couldn't do it themselves.”

Dickson is working on a demo album and could return to audition for the next season of American Idol.

I certainly hope this young man does return next year (or that he is successful on his own) and I also believe that judges Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell should apologize to him for their rude remarks. I would like to add that there are many young women who would be happy to marry a man who saves himself for her and values the gift of chastity. As for Sarah Preston's remarks about being confident in yourself -- having sex before marriage has nothing to do with confidence. In fact, it's those teens who have low self esteem who tend to be sexually active before marriage. Getting pregnant or acquiring a sexually transmitted disease does little for improving one's self-esteem.

cross - posted at Catholic Media Review.

2 comments:

WM said...

My opinion of American Idle just went down the tube. How do I get in touch with them to lodge a protest?

Christine the Soccer Mom said...

"I'm not belittling Bruce's Christian beliefs, but I do think being in tune with one's own sexuality goes a long way in being confident with yourself," Preston said.

"Confidence is key, especially for 'American Idol.'” ”These kids become sex objects, thrust into the spotlight," she continued.

"And while I know they're all trying to stand out, especially during the audition period, using your Christian beliefs and the fact that you've never kissed a girl is not going to bode well for you while trying out to be America's next big sex object,” Preston said.

Dickson responded to some of the criticisms. "I respect women and don't think of them as a sexual object, and I'm the freak?" Dickson said to Cybercast News Service.


Exactly! I hope girls (and boys) took his message away from that episode rather than the message the hosts were giving.

Isn't it sad that he's supposed to be excited about being a sex object? Of course, this is coming from a woman who has convinced herself that it's okay. She bought into the lie that as long as you're doing it of your own volition, it's not being treated as an object. I grew up hearing that lie all around me (from society), and I believed it, too, for a long time.

Sad, sad, sad...