Steph Martin

Stephanie Martin, a writer and editor in Colorado, has two teenage daughters.

In The News

Orem, Utah—A routine trip to the mall with her 18-year-old son turned into a modesty crusade for Judy Cox. While passing a PacSun store, the mother said she “stopped dead in my tracks” to see a window display of T-shirts with photos of nearly naked women.

Cox complained to the store manager, who said she’d have to contact corporate offices. Concerned about the children and young people who’d be seeing the provocative images, Cox decided to buy all the shirts in stock. She paid $567 for the 19 shirts, which she plans to return near the end of the 60-day return period.

“These shirts clearly cross a boundary that is continually being pushed on our children,” Cox said. “I hope my efforts will inspire others to speak up within their communities. You don’t have to purchase $600 worth of T-shirts, but you can express your concerns to businesses and corporations who promote the display of pornography to children.”

PacSun CEO Gary Schoenfeld indicated he takes pride in the offerings of the 600-store chain. The brands “deliver on the California lifestyle” and “take inspiration from a variety of influences including music, art, fashion, and action sports,” he said.

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The PacSun store manager at the University Mall admitted she was embarrassed to put up the display but said she was just following instructions. Cox was the only person who complained about the T-shirts, but when other parents heard what they did, they cheered her on. “I would help pay for it if I knew her,” one woman said.

If the shirts reappear after she returns them, Cox said, she’ll “go back and buy more.”

The motto of Orem, an ultraconservative town, is “Family City USA.” Previously, city attorneys have asked Victoria’s Secret to remove an image from their windows.

Sources: Associated Press, 4utah.com, theblaze.com

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Discussion Questions

How do you feel about this mom’s actions? Do you consider them extreme, or was she just doing what she thought was necessary? Explain.

If you were the store manager and felt weird about displaying the shirts, what would you do? Would you continue working at a store that violated your standards of decency? Why or why not?

What appeal does provocative clothing have for young people? Why do you think PacSun’s CEO is defending its products so strongly? If you were in business, would you want to be associated with provocative items—even if they earned you a lot of money? Explain.

What compromises do you think you’d be willing or unwilling to make as a Christian in the marketplace? What fashion compromises have you been willing or unwilling to make as a Christian teenager? Would you wear a shirt with a questionable or provocative message? If so, why?

What standards should families, schools, and communities have for how people dress? Do stores have a responsibility to protect young eyes from viewing objectionable material? If so, how can that be done?

When certain people or things cross boundaries that make you uncomfortable, how do you tend to respond? Why is it often difficult to speak up in such cases? If an initial complaint goes nowhere, do you tend to drop the matter or pursue other options? Explain.

Besides buying lots of T-shirts, what other steps can people take to restore modesty and dignity to their communities? Would you be willing to write letters to companies or politicians? participate in a boycott? rally your friends to change their behaviors? other?

Has anyone ever complained about your clothing or musical choices because they found them offensive? If so, how did you accept that criticism? What, if anything, did you change?

Scripture links: Joshua 24:14-15; Matthew 5:27-30; Romans 14:1-18; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Colossians 3:5-10; and 1 Timothy 2:8-10.

How service-minded are your teenagers? Take this short quiz to find out!

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