Everything changed the day I met the Devil
Critics charge that there are no real victims in our society’s headlong pursuit of the sexualization of teenage girls in the film and music industries. We ought to know better.
by Dale S. Keuhne, PhD • Author of Sex and the iWorld
My grandfather used to tell me, “Sonny Boy, the Devil is not very smart, just make sure you are not dumber than he is.” Those words have always stuck with me. Recently when it was fashionable to wear a WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) wrist bracelet, I resisted, not because it was an objectionable idea, but because the answers seemed somewhat beyond me. Rather, I often ask myself the question: “What Would the Devil Do?”
Maybe that is why I have always been drawn to politics. I’ve never shared this rather uninspiring mantra until now, because it was only recently that I saw the wisdom in it.
Having written a book about sex and contemporary culture, I now get invited to speak at various conferences under the assumption I understand the topic. Since I like to get out from time to time, I say yes and try to learn something wherever I go. Sometimes I learn what not to say. Sometimes I learn what not to eat.
But last month in Baltimore I learned about the Devil’s IQ.
I was speaking at Convergence, which is a gathering focused on understanding the impact of pornography, the sex-trade and sex trafficking in the United States. Convergence could be summed up as a conference that redefined for me the meaning of evil. I knew all of the above were bad, but I didn’t know the extent of bad. Why?
Statistics are not much use to me. To tell me that 300,000 young American women are caught up in sex trafficking every year doesn’t mean a lot – apart from the fact that I am in denial that sex trafficking is an American issue. These 300,000 women are merely statistics rather than someone’s daughter.
Meeting the Devil
Everything changed at Convergence, because it was there that I met the Devil. He was a pimp, who explained how easy it was to get young women into the sex trade and keep them as long as they had financial value.
It seems my grandfather was right. The Devil isn’t very smart. He doesn’t have to be.
All he needs to do is to go to shopping malls around 1:00 p.m. on school days. When he sees a young woman by herself, he can rightly assume she is relationally disconnected and looking for love on the shelves.
His approach is the same each time. He goes up to her and starts a conversation by saying, “You have beautiful eyes.” If she leaves, he lets her go. If she stays, he knows he has her. All he has to do is slowly romance her over the next few days or weeks. Buy her nice things. Constantly reinforce how special she is and how beautiful she is. He merely has to do what her father never did.
As soon as she emotionally attaches to him, the pimp seals the deal by making her so aware of the threat to her life and to those she loves should she abandon him, that he has her for as long as needed. Even if arrested, she will come back again, and again and …..
As I listened to the pimp speak, I could hear my grandfather’s voice. “Don’t be dumber than the devil.”
Dumber Than We Look
The only reason the Devil gets his way, the only reason the pimp gets the girl, the only reason the man has a prostitute to buy is because the rest of us are acting dumber than the devil. How could this multi-million dollar industry be undermined even if men continue to listen to the devil, and seek to buy what should never be bought? Have fathers let their daughters know in hundreds of ways the beauty of their eyes.
And for those young women that don’t have that?
We merely need to get together a team of people who will go to America’s shopping malls for a few minutes each day at 12:45 p.m. They simply search for the girls who are alone, walk up to them and tell them “You have beautiful eyes. God loves you. You are lovable. Come with us and find the love that cannot be found on the shelves.” We just have to find them before the pimps do.
What’s better is that the Devil has already given us the name for this new movement: “Beautiful Eyes.” It’s a movement that only requires us to be a little smarter than the devil.
The Devil has even given us the introductory line; we just need to provide a different dialogue.
You Don’t Know How Beautiful You Are
As Bono sings in City of Blinding Lights, “You don’t know how beautiful you are.” Indeed. There are thousands of young women who don’t know. We can do something about that.
“Beautiful Eyes” is a song we can sing in shopping malls across America, and beat the Devil. It won’t be hard. He’s not that smart.
Dale S. Kuehne (PhD, Georgetown University) is the professor of Ethics, Economics, and the Common Good at Saint Anselm College. He was the Founding Director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. He also serves as the vice-chair of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission of New Hampshire. He received a M.A.T.S. in Church History from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Theory from Georgetown University. Kuehne is the author of Sex and the iWorld: Rethinking Relationship Beyond an Age of Individualism. Follow him on Twitter: @dalekuehne.
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