Paul and Morgan and Girl Defined are two YouTube channels that believe they’re giving life advice by telling their followers their views on dating and sex. Most people are blissfully unaware of them, but these two YouTube channels are growing in popularity because of their cool appearances that make them relatable to young adults.
But, despite their seemingly accepting exteriors, what these two channels are really doing is stigmatizing women’s rights and the LGBTQ+ community, and they’re dangerously misrepresenting important matters such as birth control and mental illness treatment. Anyone seeking advice from them would be better off looking elsewhere.
Paul and Morgan
Paul and Morgan Olliges are a young married couple that are nearing 100,000 YouTube subscribers, and they don’t shy away from controversial topics. When a Christian blogger went viral for saying that all men find debt-free virgin women more attractive, both Paul and Morgan agreed that it’s not fair for her to make such generalizations.
Paul sympathetically says that tattoos are “more dependent on personal taste,” and Morgan agreed that it’s not “really fair for her to say all young men would prefer women without tattoos.” But perhaps this is because Morgan is someone with tattoos, because when it comes to other issues, the couple doesn’t have any problem making such broad judgements and telling their viewers how to live their lives.
Forget politically correct, how about Biblically correct
— Paul Olliges (@PaulOlliges) September 27, 2018
They say they’re “speaking the truth, in love,” but what they’re really doing is spreading false and dangerous information and judgments based on their own personal opinions.
Paul and Morgan have posted more than one video where they claim to have researched birth control, but when they advise their viewers on the topic, they make alarmingly untrue statements.
Morgan falsely tells their viewers that birth control is “literally one of the worst pills women can ever get on,” when encouraging viewers to trust God to be their birth control. Most people know that if they have unprotected sex, no matter how much they trust God or don’t trust God, they could get pregnant at any time. Not only does the couple seem unaware of this fact, but they misrepresent birth control as dangerous.
Like any medication, birth control can have dangerous side effects, like blood clots, but it is a beneficial medication that is used for even more than contraception, such as preventing painful periods and even reducing the possibility of ovarian cancer. That is why it’s important for women to talk to their doctors about birth control, and Paul and Morgan’s many viewers should beware of the false claims they are making.
Paul and Morgan make similar false claims when it comes to abortion. The couple and two friends sit down to talk about abortion in a live video on their channel. Morgan tells their viewers to “really do the research,” because she believes anyone who would be pro-choice in the first place are people who just don’t know the facts — like when you can first hear a baby’s heartbeat, but it’s Morgan who has to ask when the heartbeat first develops, and no one onscreen can answer her — they have to wait for the live audience to comment with an answer.
Paul and Morgan and their friends are clearly the ones who don’t know the facts about abortion and need to “really do the research,” as Morgan put it. But even though they haven’t educated themselves on the matter, they still use this video to spread misinformation.
When their friend states in the video that doctors are now saying it’s “safer, if a woman is in danger, to have the baby than to abort it,” Paul and Morgan nod along, and they continue to agree with her when she goes on to say that abortion is dangerous and can make it harder to have kids in the future, despite the fact that neither of these statements are true.
According to the World Health Organization, “The vast majority of women who have a properly performed induced abortion will not suffer any long-term effects on their general or reproductive health. In modern times, the risk of death from a safe, induced abortion is lower than from an injection of penicillin or carrying a pregnancy to term.” Paul and Morgan act educated on this matter, but they don’t even know the basics, which makes the information that they’re spreading even more damaging.
In a video addressing mental illness, Morgan tells their viewers that depression is a sinful temptation from Satan, and she refers to mental illness as “spiritual warfare.” This idea that mental illness is the fault of the person experiencing it is implied in another of their videos, when Paul unapologetically talks about how he viewed Morgan’s need for medication as a red flag when they were dating.
These are harmful views that are getting propagated to a growing number of vulnerable young adult viewers who are looking for answers. Mental illness can develop for many different reasons, but one thing is certain, and that is that it’s never the person’s fault. However, it can be hard to ask for help or seek treatment, especially if you think it’s your fault, and many people feel that way because of the unfortunate stigma surrounding mental illness. Unfortunately, that stigma is exactly what Paul and Morgan are broadcasting to their viewers.
Paul often posts videos with his guy friends about what guys want in a girl, and Morgan occasionally posts videos about what girls want in a guy, but even though they’ll have you believe these are your typical videos on dating tips, Paul and Morgan inundate their viewers with the toxic view that women are responsible for men’s actions.
There are a few videos where Morgan and her sister or her other friends talk about what girls want in guys, but there are countless videos of Paul and his guy friends telling girls how to dress and act if they want to get a godly guy; from “Things Guys Wish Girls Knew — Honest Preferences,” “First Things Guys Notice About a Girl (Q&A) — Ask Christian Guys” to “6 Things Guys Are Most Attracted To.”
In a video titled “First Things Guys Notice About a Girl (Q&A) — Ask Christian Guys,” Paul’s friend says, “I think if you are trying to wear something to draw someone’s attention in a way that may be impure, that’s what you really have to analyze.” In another video titled “Christian Guys on Modesty — Bikinis?” Paul and a friend tell their viewers that women’s modesty and men’s actions are “a shared responsibility,” but Paul goes onto agree with his friend when he asks women to think about whether or not what they’re wearing would “possibly be a stumbling block” for men, putting all of the blame on women for what men do.
Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal of Girl Defined are sisters with almost 150,000 YouTube subscribers, and they invite everyone to watch their videos. They say, “If you don’t hold to a Christian worldview, that we invite you to stick around.”
With upbeat music and empowering video titles like “The Power of a Strong Sisterhood,” they try to cultivate an open-minded façade to draw viewers in. In a four part series where the sisters promote their recently released book, “Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart,” they talk about how sex shouldn’t be looked at as a bad thing, and how it doesn’t change a person’s worth.
But Bethany and Kristen’s accepting nature is just for show. Kristen tells viewers that everyone deals with “sexual sin,” but specifically, “every single woman struggles in some way because of sin.” It quickly becomes clear that they only deem a specific type of sex and sexuality as worthy, and if their viewers don’t adhere to that standard, then Girl Defined will guide them on how to change for the supposed better.
When explaining God’s design for sex and sexuality, Girl Defined explains that he “so intentionally created a male and a female.” It’s obvious how they view anyone who isn’t straight or planning to enter into a heterosexual marriage, but due to backlash from viewers, Girl Defined and Paul and Morgan have removed all videos where they directly address their thoughts on the LGBTQ+ community and gay marriage.
Girl Defined mostly avoids the topic in their videos, skirting around their opinion and making vague statements about men and women, but they encourage their viewers to check out their blog, where they guilt their viewers for their natural desires and emotions by telling them things like, “No matter how long you’ve struggled with same-sex attraction, it does not have to define you.”
In the book that they continuously promote on YouTube, there are multiple passages where they refer to women as “sexually broken” if they don’t identify as straight. For example, Kristen and Bethany unapologetically refer to anyone who is LGBTQ+ as having an “inner struggle with same-sex attraction,” and they guide their readers on how to handle this “sinful desire.” It’s clear that their thoughts haven’t evolved or changed like they would have their viewers think in their videos.
Girl Defined removed a video where they referred to sexual abuse victims as sexually broken, and they uploaded a response video where they said that “sexual abuse is never okay.” They appeared to hear people’s concerns on the sensitive topic.
But it seems that their views haven’t changed much, because they continue to promote their book as wonderful dating and sex advice to their young viewers. In this book, they list the types of supposed sexual brokenness and sins that women deal with, and they include sexual abuse in this list.
At the end of this list, which includes same-sex attraction and lust, both of which Girl Defined believes makes a woman impure, they say that all of these women are dealing with brokenness, whether it’s because of their own sins or sins committed against them, but they don’t make it clear which ones are which, and including sexual abuse in a list of sexual sins makes it look like Girl Defined is telling victims of sexual abuse that they are sinful for sex that they didn’t consent to.
The idea that any kind of sex makes a woman less pure is a damaging notion in society that needs to be put to rest. But Girl Defined is taking it a harmful step further by perpetuating the idea that non-consenual sex makes someone “sexually broken” or sinful.
Perhaps this isn’t how Girl Defined meant to come across, but it’s how they did, and it’s hard to believe that they meant it any other way when they also continue to tell girls that they need to be much more careful about how they dress. Kristen said in one video, “Our outward beauty as Christian girls should never be used in a way to entice, lure in, distract, and seduce or arouse the people around us. We need to be careful to not use our beauty in a way that selfishly causes people to give us attention and glorify us rather than glorify our creator.”
But it’s not just the LGBTQ+ community and sexual abuse victims that Girl Defined tries to shame for what they believe is sexual immortality. They’re targeting any and all women, telling them that they’ll be sexually broken and impure if they watch not only pornography, but if they read erotic material, and if they have any kind of sexual thought or emotion.
In their video “Sex and the Christian Girl (Part One)”, Kristen acknowledges that we are all sexual beings. She sounds accepting when she says this, but in the same video, Bethany disapprovingly reads the message of someone seeking help from Girl Defined that reads, “In the past, I’ve struggled a lot to keep my thoughts pure,” and in another video, she specifically asks their viewers, “Does erotic content help us to create that pure heart within?” As if these thoughts and desires are something that diminishes someone’s worth.
If you are reading about or even thinking about sex and you’re not married, then according to Girl Defined, you are impure.
Paul and Morgan and Girl Defined Need to Relax
The advice and misinformation that Paul and Morgan and Girl Defined are giving out on their channels are dangerous to their viewers and to society as a whole. Among other topics, Paul and Morgan are choosing to perpetuate the idea that treatment for mental illness is shameful, and Girl Defined continues to humiliate LGBTQ+ youth for their identity. These continued stigmas are why millions of people aren’t seeking the mental health treatment they need, and why LGBTQ+ youth are three times more likely to contemplate suicide than heterosexual youth.
These two channels need to take a breath, educate themselves and look at how the content they are putting out is affecting their audience. Unfortunately, the chances of that happening are small, considering that the two channels recently collaborated with each other, where they agreed that women’s modesty standards need to be stricter than men’s dress standards, among other topics.