Worth Reading - 4/29

1. The number of minors requesting genital cosmetic surgery has risen to the degree that it warranted a NY Times opinion article. They went far out of their way, however, to avoid discussing the root cause of the issue, which is pornography. The trend and their discussion is worth reading in light of the interaction linked in the second post below.

So many teenagers are seeking cosmetic surgery to trim or shape the external genitalia that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued guidance from its Committee on Adolescent Health Care to doctors last week, urging them to teach and to reassure patients, suggest alternatives to surgery that may alleviate discomfort, and screen them for a psychiatric disorder that causes obsession about perceived physical defects.
As for why there has been an increase in demand for the surgery among teenagers, physicians are “sort of baffled,” said Dr. Julie Strickland, the chairwoman of A.C.O.G.’s committee on adolescent health care

2. Samuel James interacts with the above NY Times article in a post at First Things. He digs into some of the damage that pornography, which is a part of the sexual revolution that has dealt its rotten goods the fastest and in the most empirically demonstrable fashion.

Of all the Sexual Revolution’s fruits, porn is arguably the one that has rotted fastest. It has defied the categorical wisdom of libertines by growing in users and extremeness, even as cultural mores against casual, commitment-free sex have eroded. Contrary to the predictions of many, porn has proven to be addictive and isolating. What was once promised as an end to slavish prudishness has instead ensnared millions in powerful neurological patterns, patterns that, if unabated, are conducive to the worst kinds of abusive and sadomasochistic behavior.
Despite much emerging data, including research on the psychological costs of addiction, it seems that the American left rarely talks about porn and culture. A celebrity iCloud hack or the firing of a schoolteacher tend to inspire a round of takes on body-shaming and feminism, of course. And occasionally a Game of Thrones episode will trigger a backlash against simulated rape. Otherwise, it seems that pornography is the pink elephant in the room for most mainstream liberals.

3. Conservatives are stupid. Or that's what many on the left seem to argue. The smugness of the left is being called out on Vox of all places. (Not that we don't all get smug sometimes.) It's a lengthy read, but it may be a sign that the Left is beginning to recognize that they contribute to the problem of an inability to communicate.

Knowing is the shibboleth into the smug style's culture, a cultural that celebrates hip commitments and valorizes hip taste, that loves nothing more than hate-reading anyone who doesn't get them. A culture that has come to replace politics itself.
The knowing know that police reform, that abortion rights, that labor unions are important, but go no further: What is important, after all, is to signal that you know these things. What is important is to launch links and mockery at those who don't. The Good Facts are enough: Anybody who fails to capitulate to them is part of the Problem, is terminally uncool. No persuasion, only retweets. Eye roll, crying emoji, forward to John Oliver for sick burns.
The smug style has always existed in American liberalism, but it wasn't always so totalizing. Lionel Trilling claimed, as far back as 1950, that liberalism "is not only the dominant, but even the sole intellectual tradition," that "the conservative impulse and the reactionary impulse ... do not express themselves in ideas, but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas."

4. Trillia Newbell discusses complementarianism in her experience as an African-American.

If complementarianism is defined solely by outward behavior and by certain societal standards for “a godly family model,” then many of us would be disqualified—including my mother. I grew up in a two-parent home and, though I wouldn’t say it was a Christian home, it was filled with love and laughter. My father owned a shoe-shine stand and took his role as husband, father, and leader seriously. My mother worked full-time and eventually, as an adult, finished college. We were a typical lower-to-middle class family. But to provide, my father needed the assistance of his wife. So she worked. This is the case for many families of all nationalities and ethnicities.
But some evaluating the African-American community might draw the conclusion that our sub-culture trends toward matriarchy. I’ve heard this stereotype many times in the past. The stereotype comes mainly from the large number of single mothers. In 2011, the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey reported a staggering 68 percent of black women who gave birth at the time of the survey reported as single parents. This is alarming. To put those numbers in perspective, ACS calculated 595,983 total births and 403,820 of them were from single mothers.

5. From Compassion, a slideshow of 30 kids bedrooms from around the world. This may be a good teaching tool for some American kiddos.

6. A recent post at Facts and Trends highlights the reality of human trafficking and what some Christians are doing to combat it.

Human trafficking occurs when those most vulnerable are exploited for financial gain, whether it be the young boy in Pakistan forced to work in brick kilns or the teenage girl in California being trafficked for sex by her boyfriend.
Forced labor and human trafficking make up one of the largest criminal enterprises in the world, generating $150 billion a year, according to the International Labour Organization. Roughly two-thirds appears to come from the commercial sexual exploitation of women, children, and men.
Although human trafficking is found in many trades, the risk is more pronounced in industries that rely on low-skilled or unskilled labor. In America, the high demand for cheap labor creates trafficking opportunities in such diverse places as restaurants, nail salons, oil rigs, agricultural fields, and garment factories.
If you think this can’t be happening in your town, think again. Trafficking occurs in all 50 states and in most zip codes, according to Polaris, an anti-trafficking organization.