Rebecca Hagelin

One result of the MTV market research is the creation of a female and male character that are now seen in various forms in all MTV programming. The male image is known as a "Mook" to industry execs, and the female is referred to as a "Midriff."

Mooks are caricatures of modern teen boys. Sort of. They are models for them to aspire to. Sort of. They are wilder and bolder and ruder and cruder than the average teen boy, but they are designed to keep our sons hyper and addicted to watching the aberrant behavior so that ever more ads can be pushed their way. They are the obnoxious pro wrestlers, the death-defying stars of the "Jackass" TV show, and the guys on MTV's Spring Break specials belching and dancing crazily with scantily clad women they met 10 minutes earlier.

They exemplify perpetual adolescence living on the edge. They seem to say: We get away with it ? do what we do, look as we look ? and you can, too.

"Midriff" is the name given to the female icon created by MTV. The character is personified by the sexual bad-girl Britney Spears and dozens of other Britney look-alikes who dominate the airwaves. The "role-model" teaches even preteen girls it's time they embrace their sexuality and learn how to use it to their advantage; the message is that girls are sexual objects and their sexuality is their power. That's why America's little girls are now baring their bellies and strutting an attitude in malls and in schools around the country.

If you've fallen into the trap of letting Susie or Johnnie go to their room to watch MTV for hours on end, it's time to set your kids free from the machine that is using them. I urge you to start by ordering the "Merchants of Cool" and watching it with your kids. Showing them exactly how they are being manipulated is a powerful tool.

A final warning: You may be shocked by some of the images in "Merchants," but if your kids watch MTV, they won't be. Things have really gotten that bad.

Rebecca Hagelin

Rebecca Hagelin is a public speaker on the family and culture and the author of the new best seller, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.
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