DISGUST OVER SCHOOLGIRL STRIPTEASE. As far as headlines go, those in the business will know they don't get much better than this! The perfect combination of scandal and drama, mixed with a little sex - who wouldn't click to read more.
And this is exactly what thousands of readers did with the recent news of a high school student stripping down to her underwear on a busy street with a 'Toot 4 Strip' sign held high. Initial reports said the girl was on a school sports trip and the striptease some sort of initiation.
The story was quickly picked up by New Zealand's major media outlets, sparking outrage across the country. To make matters worse, it soon emerged the girl's coach was in on the stunt. People took to social media to express their disapproval. One irate viewer even told ONE News they were "horrified" over the incident.
It got me thinking, why was this story so widely read? Even the reporter who first picked it up in small-town New Zealand never expected it to get so big. But it makes sense really - the one thing we love more than scandal is outrage. "Oh my goodness that's terrible.... "I can't believe she..."
Stories like these give us a chance to saddle up our high horse, and ride into town where we valiantly question the moral fabric of a society where this could happen. Ok maybe that's a bit dramatic but deep down we're all fairly quick to get outraged about things. And yet, in this instance, it was little more than a sports-trip dare! Sure it wasn't the girl's best decision and certainly a lapse of judgement by the team's coach. But what's that got to do with anyone outside of Rotorua - the North Island town where the incident occurred.
Don't get me wrong- sometimes we're called to be outraged. At times even Jesus got fired up leading to some pretty serious name calling of the religious leaders. Hypocrites. Blind fools. Whitewashed tombs. And all because of their oppression of others - they'd neglected justice and mercy.
Today there are plenty of things that demand our anger. Children going hungry. An epidemic of loneliness. Worker exploitation. Issues like these are worth getting outraged about but to simply rage is not enough.
It's not enough just to raise our voice and make a fuss. What good is anger kindled if it doesn't lead to change? If we're going to get upset and outraged about something it needs to be for a purpose.
It needs to fuel some sort of action. That doesn't necessarily entail single-handily tackling global poverty but maybe simply changing your buying habits or supporting a charity.
A nation recovers
Returning to our young striper- maybe New Zealand wasn't ready for this. Or perhaps it was simply her bad luck that someone called the local paper. Either way it's safe to say it was an incident that profoundly shocked the nation to our very sensitive core. But never mind - this week there's a new shocker and next week there'll be another. Perhaps the All Blacks will lose to Australia, heaven forbid.
Whatever happens, it's worth reflecting on what we're outraged by and what we do about it. Because the fact remains- there are greater evils in the world than showing off your knickers in public.
Struan Purdie is a 24-year-old kiwi lad who loves to make his own fun and is always up for an adventure. He's currently juggling an honors research documentary and a part time role at New Zealand's National Broadcaster, while stealing a few sneaky surf trips to keep him sane.
Struan Purdie's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/struan-purdie.html