Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hillsong helping girls "discover their value and created uniqueness"

This makes me feel physically ill:

From the SMH - Hillsong hits schools with beauty gospel

You know what? Even if you take away any religious connotations the mere fact that there is a course being taught IN SCHOOLS, purportedly to boost teenagers' self-esteem, which includes teaching
"a range of skills including how to put on make-up, do their hair and nails, and walk with books balanced on their heads"
makes me furiously angry.

14 comments:

Dina said...

Wow.

At first I didn't think it was so bad because I thought it was an optional class.

My feeling is if a girl WANTS to be that, then let her take a class. Superficial beauty is a hobby. Some girls like movie-making and computer programming. Some like cooking. Some like make-up and hairspray.

Whatever floats your boat.

But it sounds like they're making the class required and that's incredibly disgusting.

It's totally sending out the wrong message.

What next? Teaching girls how to fake an orgasm???

Lisa66 said...

I am so angry after reading that article I can barely type.

It's completely inappropriate in so many ways.

Let's NOT discount the religious implications for a minute. In this country, public schools are supposed to be free from religious bias. There are loads of religous schools, where parents who want their kids to be brought up (indoctrinated, perhaps?) with a certain belief system or faith can have their kids educated. That's fine. But public schools are for everyone and I certainly wouldn't want my kids being taught 'values' by people with a specific religious bias.

Then there is the issue of teaching young girls that their worth lies in their appearance. The ultimate message being (if we are totally honest with ourselves) that their worth is tied up with their sexual attractiveness TO MEN - because really isn't that what they were put on earth for? to please men?

I can't believe this is happening in Australia and I'm not going to sit by and do nothing about it. Just give me a minute while I think about what we can do.

I think I'll start by placing this article on my blog and sending it on to some friends in the education system here.
Thanks for posting this, Mim.

Mim said...

Yeah, there's a reason why that post is so short, I was feeling pretty incoherent with rage.

The intrusion of religious indoctrination into public schools really gets my goat too. I have enough problems with the "scripture classes" that send your kindy kid home telling you that the houses in your street were made by god, something like this makes my skin crawl.

Ariane said...

*Waves hands furiously trying to type through rage*

WTF? How did anything produced by Hillsong not set off massive alarm bells?

Christ, take the vulnerable girls, and tell them they aren't pretty enough? And after all, that is all that matters? Argggg....

Who's the education minister? A letter might be in order. Maybe I should get Crash to write it! :)

I could just about go with a self esteem program that focussed on you being great just the way you are, and perhaps helping out a little to show girls how to find clothes that work for them (to put the emphasis on the clothing, instead of on their body). It would have to be damn carefully constructed, and having NOTHING to do with any religion.

Hey, if I ever get my psych degree, maybe that's what I could do with it...

Ariane said...

Actually, to put my Google where my mouth is John Hatzistergos is the acting Education minister. I wrote.

http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/members.nsf/0240929c2194f31cca256e7b00219cca/99596198bbd639a74a256763000dac7a!OpenDocument

Lisa66 said...

Good move, Ariane.

I'm wondering, seeing as this affects several states whether a letter to the Federal Minister for the Status of Women might be in order. As well as the Federal Education Minister?

Will look into this and put something together later.

aussiehen said...

"Through skin care, natural make-up, hair care, nail care girls discover their value and created uniqueness,"
WTF?????

What have the last 100+ years of feminists fought for?
and it's not just the girls attending these classes but the boys being given this message as well.
Grrrrrr this makes me so angry.
I'll do some angry letter writing

Shrinking Tardie said...

Hmmm...perhaps not actually looking at the post will be better for my blood pressure?

N

Eve said...

AAArgh...WTF....so angry, all that time teaching my daughter that her self worth should not be tied totally to her appearance.

BTW re weightwatchers check out my sisters experience at http://melipop-babyblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/gout-diabetes-and-sleep-deprivation.html

says it all really.

suze2000 said...

*studiously avoids reading quoted article*

What you wrote about it and the comments are enough to make me see red.

Meanwhile, I have to go out, fulfil a traditional female role and buy fixins for chicken soup for my sick husband!
...but I'm not wearing any makeup, and will prolly stick a hat on to cover up my undone hair!! ;)

Eve said...

I just tagged you for a meme if you're interested?

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

That makes my stomach turn.

Andrew said...

Wow ladies!

How your blood must boil every time you turn on the TV, see a billboard, open a magazine, see a football cheerleader . . . .

Seen in the context of the values our society feeds on all the time, what is reported of the Hillsong program is pretty mild, and dare I say relatively harmless? (quaint, old fashioned, a bit retro even which might explain a perverse interst from the non-scripture crowd)

Hillsong seem to have gone to ground in the face of criticism so it is hard to assess all the content of the program but what I can find of their broad aims of the program are summarised as:
"Shine does not seek to present a neat, black and white answer but rather by accompanying girls on a journey of discovery, and giving them permission to uncover the value that lies within them, girls are finding their answer for themselves. They are valuable; created one-of-a-kind; able to affect the course of their own life; have purpose, significance and much to offer."

Now taking out "created" what do you object to? And if you do take out "created", how do you justify to any man or woman that they actually are valuable, unique, have purpose, significance and talents?

What does the secular research say? Educational Psychologists (which I have just studied) don't seem to like the term self-esteem. They talk about a concept of self which includes 3 main components: Self concept, Self efficacy and Self esteem. Each are interrelated.

Self concept is a persons idea of what they fundamentally are, or what an ideal person should be, or what they would like to be. This is their worldview formed by family, peers, media. For every self concept, there is a corresponding "other" concept. I.e. what you think of other people.

Self efficacy is view of yourself as competent. It doesn't have to be everything, but it is very important to people to feel that they are good at something, that they can contribute. Thats why teachers give the problem child a job, a responsibility and why praising strengths is so much more effective motivator than criticising weaknesses.

Self esteem or self worth or self belief is how you view yourself, but it cannot occur in a vacuum. You measure your self worth against your Self concept and your self efficacy. As an example, it has been noted that bullying is not as popularly thought, usually associated with low "self esteem". It starts with the worldview and values. They think that it is a competitive world where the strong survive and the weak die out, so stay up by pushing others down, it's ok to find pleasure at other's expense, and it reinforces to them that they are better at something (self efficacy).

So back to the Shine program (which I had never heard of before today) Help me out as a bloke. How do you plan activities for troubled adolescent girls in a variety of contexts and environments, that they will want to participate in, that they can develop skills and demonstrate competence in within the available timeframe, serve others and take a physical action to care for their person to reinforce the concept that they are a valuable person?

Mim said...

How your blood must boil every time you turn on the TV, see a billboard, open a magazine, see a football cheerleader . . . .

Actually, yes, it pretty much does. Which is one reason I watch very little TV, read very few magazines (New Scientist, Australian Geographic and the occasional beading craft magazine) and avoid watching most sports like the plague.

quaint, old fashioned, a bit retro

Or regressive perhaps?

And if you do take out "created", how do you justify to any man or woman that they actually are valuable, unique, have purpose, significance and talents?

I have no trouble whatsoever in seeing people as valuable, unique etc without invoking the concept of them being created beings. The first does not depend on the latter.