CNS photo/Paul Haring
By Drew Dillingham
Catholic News Service
(Twelfth in a series)
ROME — In this week’s blog, I will take a break from writing about my courses at the Gregorian to discuss an interesting experience I had last weekend.
My wife and I decided to take a trip out to an Italian theme park. Before we left, we were aware that the park called itself “family-friendly.” What that meant did not completely sink in until after we arrived.
Upon queuing at the entrance, we realized that family-friendly meant that the median age of park attendees was around 9 or 10 years old. This did not bode well for us in terms of how many rides would be enjoyable for adults.
Nevertheless, the spirits of my wife and I were lifted by the joyful energy of the children around us as well as the smiles on the faces of the parents who accompanied them. So despite the fact that only a couple of rides looked very exciting to us, Kim and I happily entered the park alongside (well a few long meters away from) the frenzied mob of children and their parents as they rushed through the turnstiles at the park entrance.
The Observation Wheel at an amusement park in Budapest, Hungary, in 2013. (CNS photo/EPA)
My joy was quickly replaced with incredulity when the park’s dance team came out to greet everyone as they passed through the main gate. As all the little children gathered around and placed their full attention on the team, music for the song “Baby Got Back” started playing. The dancers — who were adults — were gyrating to the repeated lyrics of “my anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hun.” The lyrics in themselves may have not had much of an effect on the children considering they were in English and not their native Italian. But the fact that the dancers were making sexually suggestive movements and we could all see their underwear must have, at least subliminally.
I understand that the dances were probably meant for the viewing pleasure of adults; however, children were still present. As both a future parent (God-willing) and someone who works in the field of child and youth protection, I was disturbed by this display because of the messages this sends to children in terms of sexuality.
First, as a potential (Read More)