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Foundations of Society

economics, intact family, MARRI, marriage, religion, sexuality 2 comments

By: Pat Fagan, MARRI Senior Fellow
     Avery Pettway, MARRI Intern

It is natural to measure the success of agriculture as an industry by its harvest, but a farmer’s harvest is more of the result of good farming, rather than the source of it. In order to understand the cycle of growth and health upon which a farm’s prosperity relies, we must look first to how the farmer sows and even how he prepares to sow.

Just like the farmer, society must invest in its own future by ‘sowing seed.’  At MARRI we attempt to diligently demonstrate the need for people to take care of their future harvest—the health and even the very existence of the coming generations—by sowing and cultivating good seed in the present time.

When the families in our nation delay marriage and reduce the frequency of childbirth, and when communities and leaders are encouraging such behavior, we fail to lay the proper foundations for a successful harvest and a continuation of a healthy, robust society.

We see this happening in other nations—Greece, Italy, Spain, and Japan come to mind—where the decline of demographic health is linked to lessened fertility and marriage. These countries have seen their average family size shrink and their economies sputter for want of young families … the growers of the next crop, the next generation. As the family goes, so goes the economy. Unfortunately, we see evidence that our own nation is headed the same direction:

But the economy is not the only institution that suffers when the sowing (sexuality) goes wrong.

It is the task of MARRI to show the United States how intrinsically interconnected are our fundamental institutions of government, marketplace, education, and religion with what is the most fundamental institution of all—the family.  We believe (and the data illustrates) that the thriving of the three “person-forming institutions”—the family, church and school—is key if the other two (marketplace and government) are to thrive and hold a sustainable and competitive role in the global arena.

So what is the ‘good seed’ we ought to sow? Philosophers through the ages have dealt with this question, most foundationally Plato and Aristotle.  How are we to rightly prepare for a harvest of health and societal growth?  The focus of this blog from here on will be to present the evidence from the social sciences that cast light on the road to strengths and weaknesses.  In particular we will examine the sexual trends, for that is where it all starts (where people start and are brought into existence).  Are they helping or hurting our families, thereby helping or hurting our basic institutions?

We will explore what has become our basic thesis—as all the data of the social sciences mount over the decades—that the main task of society, of individuals, of families, and of communities is to grow the young, intact, married family that worships God weekly.  If that is done, all the problems of society diminish in size and intensity and all its strengths grow.  It is a thesis that the social science data—but not too many social scientists—seem to uphold.  Therein lies the future excitement of this blog: a good public discourse on the fundamentals, and on the predictions and cautions to which the data point.

The State of a Woman’s Union

abstinence, Christianity, cohabitation, feminism, intact family, marriage, religion, sexuality, teen pregnancy, women's health No comments

By Lindsay Smith, Intern

Dear Florida,

I heard that you are spending $45,000to research women’s sexuality within your borders.  Apparently, this information is quite valuable to you.  I know you are offering gift cards if women will complete surveys on this topic.  Good news, I think I can provide you with some answers to your search – no gift card necessary. 

Abundant research has shown that disruption within a family structure increases the likelihood of sexual debut for children. “Women whose parents separated during childhood are more likely to have an out-of-wedlock teenage pregnancy, and men with divorced or separated parents are more likely to father a child with a teenage mother.”  As expected, women from intact-married families have the lowest risk of teenage sexual debut, and fewer partners.  Marriage positively affects not only the children, but also the man and woman in the union.  Since your survey touches on a woman’s emotional well-being in relation to sex, you really should know that married couples find their sexual relationship more satisfying than cohabiters do.”

Based on your survey’s questions, I see you are curious about religious affiliation.  You were wise to ask.  According to MARRI’s publication “The Benefits of Religious Worship,” females who attend religious worship weekly are less likely than their peers to sexually debut as a teen, have a premarital pregnancy, or abort their first pregnancy. The Christian abstinence program “True Love Waits” produces similar effects for its participants.  The American Journal of Sociology’s article “Promising the Future: Virginity Pledges and First Intercourse” reports that, on average, pledging decreases the risk of sexual debut even for those in a dating relationship. 

Combining regular worship attendance with an always-intact family bolsters these effects.  As seen in diagrams here, hereand here, MARRI research verifies that teens attending weekly worship with an always-intact family are least likely to sexually debut as a teen or have a premarital pregnancy. 

Florida, you mentioned your hope “to design the state’s service offerings, including pamphlets and counseling,” based on the survey’s findings. How about offering marriage counseling to strengthen families?  What if your pamphlets included the benefits of an abstinence pledge? 

Well, I hope this letter has helped.  In case you find the survey a bit superfluous now, it is almost Christmas, and gift cards make great gifts.

Student Debate: Taxing Conscience

conscience, contraception, sexuality No comments
By Alex Schrider, Intern
September’s Values Voters Summit included a “Student Mixer” that featured a debate between Blake Meadows, a student at Patrick Henry College, and John W. McCarthy, Chairman of Catholic University of America’s (CUA) College Democrats.  The debate focused on the HHS contraceptive mandate, against which numerous Christian institutions (including CUA), and even states, have filed suit, arguing that it infringes on the “free exercise” clause. 
Mr. McCarthy claimed two major things: 1) the Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception is something with which good Catholics can disagree, and 2) the fact that the pope made his decision contrary to the recommendation of his council of advisors somehow cheapens the contraception teaching of the Catholic Church.
The primary argument against the HHS mandate is that it compels individuals and organizations to act against the established teachings of their religion, a point that Catholic institutions have emphasized. But if the Catholic contraception position is optional, as McCarthy suggests, then on what basis can an institution “force” that position on its employees? Even a church couldn’t be exempt if that were true, as the matter becomes a question of personal choice, not religious doctrine.
Of course, this might have been a moot point if the robust conscience provisions left in place at the end of the Bush administration had remained in place. Instead, those provisions have been attacked (and, for the most part, gutted) by the same administration which is now mandating contraception coverage. Without an appeal to religious doctrine there is little left to protect the interests of objecting individuals, and nothing left to protect objecting institutions…even places of worship.
Except for one thing: Mr. McCarthy is wrong in his representation of Catholic teaching. The teaching of the Catholic Church (fecundity) is clearly laid out in its catechism, and is beyond contestation by the faithful (sec. 891 and 892). To compel a person or organization to be an accessory to an act contrary to deeply held religious belief goes against the core of American tradition. This trespass of government shouldn’t energize only Catholics, but every individual who believes in moral truth, particularly when the “benefit” from such a measure is undetectable.
As numerous individuals, including FRC’s Jeanne Monahan, have pointed out, the “need” for increased access to contraception is non-existent: there is already substantial government funding, many insurance companies already cover it, and it is readily available and affordable. So why the zealous push for an intrusive mandate?
MARRI has documented the effects of widespread contraceptive use: when birthrate decreases, the average age of a population increases, eventually leading to population decline. An aging and declining population is associated with economic problems, not the least of which is the substantial burden placed on the shoulders of the smaller, younger generation, which must provide for the disproportionately large elderly generation. There is no long-term economic benefit to be derived from coercing contraceptive use.
Beyond the cost-benefit analysis, however, it boils down to a question of principle and tradition. Until now, American government has generally erred on the side of religious freedom, and never has moral and religious conscience been taxed…until this administration. A fundamental shift in regulation of conscience has occurred: the traditional freedom of individuals to “practice what they preach” should be curbed to facilitate sweeping partisan policies.
I don’t know about you, but I would rather have the option to conscientiously disagree with the ruling party – without being fined for it.

Tolerance vs. Love

Christianity, divorce, marriage, prejudice, sexuality No comments
Sarah Robinson, Intern
“Some say tolerance but we say love. That is a much higher standard. Love does not accept anything that is disruptive in a person’s life. We love them too much to leave them that way.”

So said Congressman James Lankford at the Values Voters Summit last week. However, little did the attendants of the Values Voters Summit realize that when we took our break for lunch that afternoon we would be face to face with living out this phrase from Congressman Lankford. Protestors lined the sidewalk chanting, “Homophobe,” amongst other untrue and judgmental names towards those attending the Summit. We were being deemed intolerant by these protestors.
Homophobe by definition is a person who fears or hates homosexuals and homosexuality. Personally, I do not hate homosexuals nor do I fear homosexuality. There are individuals in my family whom I love dearly that live this lifestyle. But that does not mean I condone or seek to advance their lifestyle choices. I love them enough to not tolerate things in their life that are disruptive to their well-being. The side effects of a homosexual lifestyle trouble me deeply and I do not want my loved ones to have to face the consequences. The CDC has discovered the average homosexual man has hundreds of sexual partners in his lifetime, and the number of STDs that are acquired due to promiscuity is troubling.
It does not bring me satisfaction to report these statistics, and it is not just about “ammunition” to use in a debate on the sanctity of marriage. It breaks my heart. My heart is broken for family members, friends, and fellow Americans who have opted for this lifestyle because of the risk that goes along with it. However, I am the one deemed as being intolerant because I will not morally comply with their choices. The motives for my stance on the issue of the sanctity of marriage are not hate, but rather love. Ultimately, I wish to live my life in such a way that homosexuals and heterosexuals alike would see radical love emanating from me that would ultimately point them to the love of God. I may be accused of being intolerant, but may I never be accused of being unloving. The two are not synonymous.
However, “what not to do” is only one side of this cultural discussion. The bigger, more important side focuses not on what to stay away from, but rather, what to embrace! Marriage is a beneficial good to all of society. For example, according to MARRI research, 52% of girls who grew up in an married-intact family had sex before the age of 18 compared to 79% of girls engaging in their first sexual encounter who grow up in a single parent home. The effects of divorce on children can also be detrimental. Also, according to MARRI research, 12% of adolescents had sexual intercourse at 14 years of age or younger who grew up in a married intact household compared to 25% of adolescents having their first sexual encounter at 14 years of age or younger who grew up in divorced-single parent households. I can’t help but wonder how much stronger we would be as a society if we were intolerant of divorce and stood for the sanctity of marriage. Strong marriages develop strong families which in turn produce a strong and thriving society.

“I had a nice time. Let’s have sex.”

culture, marriage, sexuality, youth 2 comments

Maria Reig Teetor, Intern

“We must try before we make a commitment.” “Are you sexually compatible?” “How good is he/she in bed?” “Have you had sex yet?”These have become normal questions asked when you meet up with friends, go out to a bar or dinner party…abstinence is not in the vocabulary.

We live in a sexualized society, where life is measured by our emotions, feelings and sexual behavior. You only have to flip through the pages of Cosmopolitan or turn on your TV and watch L.A. Complex or Gossip Girl to understand that sex is what’s expected of you when you go out on a couple dates. 
When talking about abstinence or waiting for marriage to have sex, you think of your high school counselor, who talked about abstinence because as a teenager you aren’t ready to take up the consequences of what sex may entail, but once you’re in college or in the labor force, you’re immediately expected to sleep with your dates. 
This recently hit me, as I was sharing a drink with this attentive young man I met through a mutual friend. We were sitting at a bar enjoying a casual happy hour, talking about work, hobbies, siblings, aspirations…when as the evening was coming to an end he mentioned, “Where to next, your place or mine? Don’t worry, I’ll let you sleep over afterward.” As if letting me sleep at his house after we had sex was the chivalrous thing to do. The young man was stunned with my polite answer: “No thank you, I don’t do that.” At that very moment I was so thrown off I did not have a solid explanation to why I was not going to have sex with him.
I then understood that a lot of factors went into this assumption he made – it wasn’t that he was some abnormally forward or disrespectful young man. Rather, it is what society, peer pressure or his upbringing has taught him is the normal way of conduct.  But he was so stunned he called me for a whole week to try and go out again. He was searching for an answer to my no: Is it that you don’t like me? I am weird? Unattractive? I thought we had a good time? And we truly did. 
The only consequences of sleeping around that people dare to mention are unwanted pregnancies and sexual transmitted diseases, like HIV; but those are soon resolved with the notion of “as long as were safe we’ll be fine.” Which means that as long as one uses the pill, condoms or any other contraceptive method, we’re all free to sleep with whomever we desire.
I went on to wonder, besides these more obvious facts, have young people ever thought of our emotional vulnerability or the psychological damages that sleeping around might have? And the advantages of creating a solid long lasting relationship  when you wait for marriage?  
So today I wanted to skim through a few reasons why we shouldn’t give in to new era of “I had a nice time, let’s have sex” that we may have to deal with as soon as we’re on a date. 
First of all, this over sexualized culture backfires as it confuses the true meaning of love with lust. It induces people to marry for the wrong reasons. The emotional bonding that sex brings to the relationship creates a false impression of closeness between strangers and it can blind their judgment, inducing them to believe that this emotional and psychological bonding is caused by their love for one another when it’s mostly induced by their sexual activity.
Once you engage yourself in an active sexual relationship without a strong commitment, it tends to overtake the vast majority of the relationship, which means that you end up learning how to express  your emotions and feelings through your body and don’t strive to create a personal and intimate friendship which is the solid base of a good marriage. On the contrary, when there is no sexual activity, the couple is forced to spend quality time with one another, learning about their hobbies, desires, aspirations. They also learn how to verbally communicate and express what they are feeling or thinking. This will help them build up the base of their relation and when hard times come, they will not “fix the problem” by sleeping together, but by communicating. 
Another reason worth mentioning is that this culture of “fun and sex” reduces the value of our human sexuality, because it uses it as an exchange of products: we exchange our bodies for pleasure. This type of behavior reduces human dignity to a more animal way of acting. This is not the purpose of our sexuality, which is there to express our capacity of love and self-giving. 
And finally I wanted to note how by living out abstinence you are loving your future spouse, even if you haven’t met him or her yet, because you’re saving not only your body, which is an expression of yourself, but all that defines you as a person, your unique self being. Once you give yourself to that one special person, the fulfillment will be far greater than expected because it will not only be an act of pleasure but an act of complete surrender, self-giving and spiritual bonding. 
So when asked that question again, we could say, “No, I will not sleep with you, as my sexuality is not there to give, just out of mutual understanding, affection or desire. But to preserve for one person who is going to acknowledge it for its final purpose, the surrender and the total self-giving out of love and for love.” This type of surrender reaches its meaning within a profound commitment such as marriage.

6 months. 40 cities. Millions of free condoms.

contraception, marriage, sexuality No comments

Amanda Brennan, Intern

A little more than two weeks ago the Condom Nation truck pulled up to the city of Washington D.C. to end its tour across the United States at the XIX International Aids Conference. The aim of the campaign was to encourage increased condom use for HIV/AIDS awareness and safe-sex practices. The effort included handing out free condoms, partnering with other organizations to offer free HIV tests, and calling for lower condom prices among retailers. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation sponsored the trip, which began in Venice Beach, California, on February 13th, 2012, which is International Condom Day. My first encounter with the campaign came while riding a Metro bus. When I looked out the window, I spotted a giant, American-flagged condom on a truck across the street. Normally, I am used to seeing an ice cream truck or something of that sort, but I guess times are changing…

The shocking image caught peoples’ attention across the country, but reviews about the campaign were mixed. Some agreed with AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s president Michael Weinstein: that “condoms are an essential part of preventing HIV and STDs” and that they are vital for “disease prevention and safer sex.” Others, like 14-year-old Shannon DeLuca of New Jersey, worried that the truck would give people the wrong idea: “I understand what they’re trying to do, but it’s not the message I’d send out to people. To people my age, they would think it’s OK to have sex.”

The young teen is on to something. Although those behind the campaign have an admirable goal in mind—preventing the spread of HIV and STDs—their methods of doing so may not be effective, beneficial, or harm-free in the long run. Yes, the incidences of gonorrhea, syphilis, and AIDS have decreased over the years, but cases of out-of-wedlock pregnancy and teen condom use have increased, as shown in theMARRI Annual Report on Family Trends.

Americans cannot depend on a latex sleeve to solve our country’s sexual and health problems. Condoms may help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and reduce the rate of out-of-wedlock pregnancy, but it cannot eliminate the consequences of sex for individuals and relationships. Rather than depend on “easy” solutions, individuals must come to a greater understanding and respect of human sexuality as it was intended by our Creator.


Safe Sex?

abstinence, contraception, marriage, sexuality No comments
Amanda Brennan, Intern 
When did sex become dangerous?That’s the question my theology professor, Fr. Dan Pattee, posed in class last semester about the well-known slogan, “safe sex.” Since when did the act intended to preserve the human race and to unite married couples into deeper union become unsafe? The answer is simple: when it was taken out of its original context and manipulated by man’s sensual appetites.
Now, the world faces an AIDS and STD epidemic along with a culture rampant with premarital sex, pornography, adultery, divorce, abortion, teenage pregnancy, single-parenthood, and more. Many believe the solution to sexually active adolescents comes with the launching of “safe sex” programs, while others think abstinence programs to be effective. This difference of opinion can be seen by the recent controversy behind the release of the “National Survey of Adolescents and Their Parents: Attitudes and Opinions about Sex and Abstinence.” Back in August of 2010 the study performed by an entity of HHS was only partially released until enough people complained and some even filed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Debate came after the survey, which reviewed 1,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 and their parents, found that 60% of teens believed only married people should have sex and 70% of adults believed their children should wait until marriage to have sex. Furthermore, 68.3% of teens responded that they would like a family member to educate them on sex, and 92.3% of parents agreed, wishing that they or someone in their family would teach their teens about sex. As Catherine Snow of Citizen Link explains, the study “does not support the administration’s objective – or that of vocal “safe sex” activists – of eliminating all abstinence-education funding.” So, what kind of sexual programs should be advocated, “safe sex” or abstinence?
In a perfect world, neither. But that really isn’t an option today. There is a disconnect between parent and child on issues of sex. For various reasons kids are not receiving sex education at home like once before, and as a result it has to be taught at school. MARRI research shows over and over the importance of an intact married family. A home where a mother and father are living out human sexual love is where healthy sex education is fostered. The breakdown can be seen in the following MARRI study: for women under the age of 18, first sexual intercourse occurs at 52% in an intact married family, while with single-parenthood it is above 70%.
The battle continues to decide which education approach will prevail, “safe sex” or abstinence, but the recent survey must not be overlooked. Sex is sacred and it should be explained in a sacred environment. That environment is within an intact married family. As demonstrated above, both parents and teens desire that sex education be nurtured in the family. Sex is not dangerous; it is blessed and beautiful within the marriage of a man and a woman.

The Sex Secret You Won’t Find in Cosmo

abstinence, MARRI, marriage, religion, sexuality, women's health No comments

Betsy Huff, Intern
Pick up the latest issue of Cosmopolitan magazine (or any issue for that matter) and you are sure to find a cover story on the “hottest new sex secrets.”  In fact, the aim of the publication seems to be to aid women in finding the most possible fulfillment in their sexual experiences and encounters.  There is a shocking, but not so new (in fact some may say ancient) piece of information that may change the way you view religion and sex.  
In February of 1999, U.S.A Today ran a cover story entitled “Revenge of the Church Ladies,” by William R. Mattox Jr., which revealed that some of the most sexually satisfied women in the country are religious women. It is no divine revelation that premature sexual activity has devastating effects on young girls, but a study that reveals in objective terms that religious women experience more frequent sexual responsiveness might come as a surprise.  Gone is the notion of the prudish, Victorian-minded and sexually repressed church woman the Sexual Revolution worked so hard to release! 
The study cites four factors that may contribute to sexual fulfillment in religious women. Sexual inexperience and lack of baggage from past sexual involvements contributes to a satisfactory sex life within marriage. Similarly, this lack of a sexually licentious past is related to less sexual anxiety due to guilt or fear of consequences from sexual promiscuity. Logically, sexual anxiety is a factor that inhibits sexual satisfaction.  Also, marriage in itself creates an environment for human sexuality to flourish.  The commitment and fidelity created by this relational union allows a woman to “let go” and thus experience more sexual responsiveness.  Finally, for religious women sex is more than just a physical act to meet a sensory appetite. The physical act is also spiritual and emotional; it is symbolic of a transcendent truth that the two are really “one flesh.”  
This is just one of many examplesof social science research supporting the way God intended and commanded humans to live. Other examples include evidence from MARRI research that supports the idea of an intact family as the best environment in which to raise happy, healthy, and successful children.  Other social science researchsupports these same ideas. As Dr. Pat Fagan of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute says, “The social sciences, done well, illustrate the way God made man.”

Why Marriage Really Matters

marriage, sexuality, youth No comments
Eileen Gallagher, Intern
Yesterday advocates of same-sex marriage opened a campaigntargeted specifically at young people. The rhetoric and marketing skills of the new campaign are brilliant.
The war over marriage is being fought furiously on both sides, but advocates for same-sex marriage use words as their weapon and it seems inhuman to contradict them. For example, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a supporter of the new campaign, said:
“We believe in equality of opportunity rather than outcome. Most importantly, we believe that the individual and the family are the central engines in our society… It is about equality for all with no exceptions.”
On the website“Freedom to Marry,” there is a page called “Why Marriage Matters” featuring videos and stories of supporters saying these things:
“We are not here to judge each other. We are here to love each other.”
“Marriage is about showing people you’re committed to one person.”
“We wanted to get married for the same reason as everyone else, because of love, family, and making that commitment to one another.” 
The words they use are beautiful. Everyone believes in equality, love, family, and commitment. These are the roots of American and family values.
The movement catches everyone’s attention by using emotionally charged words, and now they are concentrating their efforts on the right group of people. While the formation of beliefs is a lifetime project, young people, usually from the end of their high school years and into their 20s, are especially forming their opinions and deciding what they believe in. Often children assume the views of their parents, but some do not, and others change their views on specific issues.
Topics such as abortion, contraception, and same-sex marriage hit close to home in these years when many young people are “exploring their sexuality.” Those who are not themselves facing decisions about abortion or contraception certainly know people who are. This is the ideal time to try to persuade someone on these issues, because it is relevant to daily life.
The rhetoric and marketing skills of the new same- sex marriage campaign are brilliant, but their facts are wrong.
Young people are often drawn in by slogans, but they are captured by truth. Social science proves that an intact heterosexual marriage has the best results for children, and also for adults. The Marriage and Religion Research Institute shows, with social science, that there are 162 Reasons to Marry and states, “Marriage is the foundational relationship for all of society. All other relationships in society stem from the father-mother relationship, and these other relationships thrive most if that father-mother relationship is simultaneously a close and a closed husband-wife relationship.”
Hard data cuts through emotionally charged words and shows the truth about marriage. Now it is time for hard data to reach the same young people that the “Freedom to Marry” group is trying to reach.

Be careful what you wish for…

marriage, sexual revolution, sexuality, youth 1 comment

Betsy Huff, Intern

The issue of the oversexualisation of girls in our modern culture is one frequently written about in both popularand scholarlypublications.  It is a concern of parentsand psychologists alike.  In 2006 the American Psychological Association released a reportregarding this subject.  The report lists the many causes of the unhealthy sexualisation of young girls, most of them pertaining to media images in television, movies, and music. It also cites merchandise that is inappropriately suited for young girls, clothing such as thongs that are sold for girls as young as 7, toys that display scantily clad women, and advertising that creates an unattainable physical ideal. The APA encourages parents and teachers to be aware of the societal messages they are sending to their children, particularly in regard to physical attractiveness and self-worth.  APA reports that one of the most dangerous ways girls sexualize themselves is through self-objectification: “Psychological researchers have identified self-objectificationas a key process whereby girls learn to think of and treat their own bodies as objects of others’ desires… girls internalize an observer’s perspective on their physical selves and learn to treat themselves as objects to be looked at and evaluated for their appearance.” 
While I agree that the media can have toxic influence on women’s body image and sexuality, particularly young girls, I do not think it is the only place of blame. The sexual revolution has had a detrimental impact on sexuality in the nation as a whole; MARRI’s Family Trend Linesreflect some of these consequences. The sexual revolution has also caused the oversexualisation of young girls. The ideals it promoted,free love, sex outside of marriage, and the uninhibited use of contraceptives to allow for a lifestyle of promiscuity minus the physical consequences or risk, have not given women freedom in their sexuality, but have only created bondage.  Choice and freedom in sexual exploration have not gained women the respect and dignity as holistic human beings they desire, nor has it given them more power over their bodies and sexuality. Instead it has encouraged a hedonistic attitude toward sex. It has allowed men to continue objectifying women as nothing more than a source of sexual pleasure and women to objectify themselves in a feeble attempt to gain joy in their sexuality that only comes from the security and commitment of a monogamous relationship.
There are women who recognize this issue and are combating the oversexualisation of women in society particularly the media. Kara Eschbach, editor of the recently created Verilymagazine, speaks of the magazine’s vision for their particular audience of young professional women saying, “We are aiming to show style that respects our dignity, instead of compromising it; to explore our relationships, not just sex; and feature thought provoking articles, not just rhetoric.”  The solution to the objectifying of women in society is to promote and protect true femininity and sexuality in the framework of strong marriages and families.  Sexuality should indeed be celebrated, after all it was created and given to us by God, but it should also be protected and cherished in the sacred context in which it belongs.