Friday, March 22, 2013

Seven Things We Must Tell Our Daughters

I can remember in the days where I was pregnant and didn't know whether I had a girl or a boy growing in my tummy but had a sneaking suspicion that baby Mims was a girl. My pregnant dreams were telling me that I was carrying a bouncing baby girl and the initial excitement over bows and mary-janes quickly waned into fears of girl body image. How was I going to fuel her intrinsic value and protect her from the world's assault on women as being both sexual objects and never perfect. Imagine my relief when Isaac was pushed into the world. 

But this is still a HUGE deal! Maybe I don't have a girl right now, but this problem doesn't seem to be going anywhere except further into an ugly hole. What about the girls that Isaac will be around as he grows older?? What about the girls in our youth group or the women I work with? I got in touch with Kristen from We Are THAT Family earlier today and she gave me special permission to share with you guys her post, "Raising Daughters in a World that Devalues Them." Check out what she has to say.

I took my daughter shopping one night over Spring Break. It’s flip flop and shorts weather down here in Texas about 10 months out of the year, not to mention my girl gets taller every minute. She passed me up months ago.

Shopping with my teenager should be fun. And mostly it is, except for the actual clothes-shopping-part. It’s so hard to find modest clothes. My teen doesn’t even ask for the shorty shorts any more, even though it’s challenging to find anything but in the stores.

“Why do they do it, Mom? Why do so many stores sell such immodest clothes for girls?” She was frustrated. It was a question I didn’t know how to answer. I think about how girls are viewed in this world and in return, how they view themselves. How do I tell my 13 year old daughter that sex sells? But I do tell her. She’s a smart girl and notices that some stores sell padded bikini bathing suit tops to 8 year olds.

It’s time for moms to be offended and stand up to giant stores like Victoria’s Secret and the way they sell sex to our daughters. Their new tween brand is called, “Bright Young Things,” and includes lace black cheeksters with the word “Wild” emblazoned on it, green and white polka-dot hipsters screen printed with “Feeling Lucky?” and a lace trim thong with the words, “Call me” on the front. Source.

     “Our country is replete with an unprecedented number of young girls suffering from eating      disorders and body mutilation, while pushing the limits of sexual promiscuity. Is this racy underwear modeled by unrealistically thin girls really the best that we have to offer our girls? In this age when female sex trafficking is becoming a wide-spread crisis, reaching into the depths of our inner cities, is it really responsible for Victoria’s Secret to entice our impressionable young girls with this “come hither” message?
     Underwear that reads, “Call me” does nothing but cheapen a girl’s self-esteem while exacerbating the objectification of her God-given femininity. Our children are being objectified by retailers who see them as nothing more than a path to increased profits.”-Amy Gerwing
We live in a world that hates girls.
Too harsh? I don’t think so. Globally, did you know that more than 200 million girls in our world have been aborted or abandoned in what is being called a “gendercide?” Many who survive, face neglect, violence and most likely sex trafficking. We might feel detached from this epidemic on this side of the world, but we aren’t. The Super Bowl is the biggest day for sex trafficking in the world and most major cities including the one closest to me, is a hub for young girls to be sold into sex slavery.

Coupled with the pornography industry, when you consider every second, 28,258 Internet users are viewing nude images of somebody’s daughter, it’s more than disturbing. Source

Yesterday I read about a young girl who was raped. She was just six years old. I’ve heard of horror stories like these thru our work at Mercy House, but this wasn’t in distant Africa. It was in our county, 20-something miles away. I have an innocent six year old and I am sickened by the crime against this child.

And as if all that isn’t enough to turn a momma gray, the surge of aggressive girls taking the initiative with guys at a very young age, trying to lure them into sexual activity has increased dramatically :

What in the world is happening?
What is going on in the hearts of some young girls that causes them to be so assertive? I think there are several reasons for what we are seeing: (from Family Life)
  • First, the culture is supporting it.  Movies, television shows, commercials, magazines, books …  they all glamorize sex and intimacy and the right of young women to go after whatever it is they think will make them happy.
  • Second, we have a whole generation of young men who are confused in their own sexual identity. Are they supposed to be sensitive or aggressive? Leaders or helpers?  Many young men today are not being taught how to treat a young lady with nobility, dignity, and respect. Many are growing up without a father or male figure to provide guidance.  As a result, some of these young men have no idea how they should expect to be treated by areal young lady.
  • Third, the breakdown of the family has resulted in a whole generation of daughters who have been abandoned. And in the absence of a healthy, emotional attachment to their fathers and mothers, they’re trying to fill their emotional gas tanks with the opposite sex.
  • Finally, there’s little or no preparation for adolescence occurring among parents of preteens or early teens.  This may be the core problem.  When you ask parents of preteens how many of them would like their children to have the same experience they had in adolescence, there aren’t many hands that go up.  But those same parents often become increasingly detached as their children move into the adolescent years.

Seven Things We Must Tell Our Daughters:
  1. You are Valuable:: She needs to know she is important and so valued that you will protect her with rules and boundaries because you love her. There is safety and comfort within those restrictions, even when she pushes against them.
  2. Your Worth Isn’t Based on Your Appearance:: She needs to be told she is beautiful–not because she’s wearing a sassy outfit or new lipgloss–her worth is not found in her appearance, the opinions of others or herself. She is beautiful because she was created in the image of God. Her appearance has little to do with true beauty and her worth isn’t wrapped up in looking good or being perfect.
  3. You Don’t Need a Guy:: She needs to hear starting at a young age (but it’s never too late to start telling her). She needs to be told a boy doesn’t complete her, God does. Chasing or enticing or wanting a guy doesn’t make her attractive and it doesn’t make her a woman. The only guy she needs in her life for a long time is her Dad or a father figure until God brings her a husband if that’s His plan.
  4. You Are Amazing:: Our daughters need to hear we are proud of them. She is enough. Tell her out of all the girls in the world, you’d always choose her. Sadly, she will be tempted to spend a lot of time in life trying to prove her value to others. Create an atmosphere where she is loved, just like she is.
  5. You Don’t Have to Believe What You Hear:: She needs to hear your affirming voice in her head. Because there will be mean girls in her life, peers with pressure and adults in her world who will let her down and have low expectations of her. She needs to hear the opposite at home, your voice will lead her to Him and she’ll know who to listen to.
  6. You Have Me:: No matter what happens in life, the ups and downs that will come her way, the losses and gains, our daughters must know we are there for them. She needs to know she can talk to you about anything. Anytime.
  7. You Can Change the World:: She needs to know she can dream big and can accomplish whatever she wishes. She can do so with God by her side and she doesn’t need a boy or society to make it happen. She can be anything she want to be with your help. Stand by her, with her and watch her fly.
I’m raising two daughters in this world and my heart cries for Jesus to rescue us all. But until He does, I can’t always protect or shield them, so I will tell them the truth. I can’t  change this world, but I can prepare them for it.

“Our daughters are precious, intrinsically valuable and deserve better — they deserve to be cherished and protected.” -Amy Gerwing

Kristen is a mom, wife, and author of the blog We Are THAT Family. She and her family founded Mercy House, a non-profit maternity home in Kenya aiding pregnant girls living in extreme poverty. If that weren't awesome enough, she has written Don't Make Me Come Up There (a devotional for busy moms) and That Works For Me (a compilation of over 800 tips & tricks for everyday life). Go check out her funny, honest, and inspiring blog for yourself!

PS. Don't forget to enter to win some earrings!


Paige (The Last Doughnut) said...

I had no idea Victoria's Secret has a line geared toward young girls. Ugh!!!!

Crystal Green said...

This is such a great post!! I agree with you wholeheartedly. I've written similar posts on my blog. :)

Melanie Norman said...

Tears are in my eyes!!! This really, really blessed me!!! I have two girls, and I am going to print this and save it for them!

God bless you for this, such a life changing moment.

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