A couple weeks ago, I blogged about the oversexualization of young girls in our culture. I referenced a few situations I had read about/seen recently that showed me that as parents, we really need to be diligent in monitoring what our children are exposed to from a young age till they are adults.
Apparently, I have more to say.. so here we go:
I said a couple things that I want to clarify. A good friend pointed out to me that I had said, “What freaked my husband and I out the most about this girl was how sexual she was.” My friend reminded me that it is not wrong for this girl to be sexual- in fact, we are all sexual and that is a good thing. What do I mean by sexual? Well, in our humanness, we are sexual beings- we are male and female. We desire intimacy, we have reproductive organs.. we are sexual beings, and it’s imprinted in our hearts and in our bodies. The fact that we are sexual beings is a beautiful thing- beautiful and powerful. The expression of our sexuality is what is key- as women, do we use our sexuality to fulfill our desires to know we are beautiful? Do we teach our daughters the same? In the situation I referred to in my previous blog piece, the little girl was using her sexuality to get attention- because she had been taught by the culture that this was the purpose of her femininity. That her femininity should be used to get something- not reveal something beautiful. When art is covered up, it is not because the painting doesn’t matter.
The opposite is actually true- it is covered up because the work is such a masterpiece, that revealing it is a big friggin’ deal. So too is it with our sexuality.
As a young woman myself who misused her sexuality for selfish gain, I understand the power that it has, and I think this girl did too. Unfortunately, as the wise PowerRanger Jessica Rey pointed out in her recent video, using your sexuality to boost your self-esteem, actually does the opposite to women- it has objectified them more than we can possibly ever understand. Rey points out that wearing revealing clothing has not acted as a powertool, but rather, has left women defrocked and dehumanized. If she does not show, through her dress, that she values her sexuality (her very being), then how are others suppose to give her the same respect?
Think of it this way: If you come into my house and see that I have dishes everywhere, you might think to yourself “I guess having dishes everywhere doesn’t bother Ruth..”. Maybe you think it the first time. Maybe the next time, we have lunch, and you leave your dirty dish on the table. Maybe after that, you spill something on the floor and don’t think I care. Before you know it, we’re trashing the joint. Why? Because I communicated I didn’t care, and you justifably responded by also not caring. If I don’t care about my stuff, why should you? Instead of addressing the issues of why I don’t value my stuff, our culture addresses the issues of why you don’t respect my stuff. By putting the attention on the wrong issue, this gives me the unfortunate freedom to keep throwing my stuff around and never addressing the key issues. By addressing the issue of why you don’t respect my stuff, it validates my behaviour and asks you to accept something wrong. Something that is not helping me grow. Something that continues to perpetuate my brokenness.
Why are videos, pictures, etc etc of people acting sexual so powerful? Because sexuality is powerful. And what do we do with powerful things? We hold them close, we protect it. Remember what happened to Frodo when he was too free with the ring? BIG problems.
So what was it that really bothered me about that girl’s behaviour? It was that she was using her sexuality to gain something, instead of to reveal something cherished and beautiful. THAT disturbs me. That at such a young age, she knew the power she held within, but instead of being taught to cherish it, she had been taught to use it. There is nothing wrong with a woman knowing the power of her sexality- in fact, every girl should know how beautiful and important her sexuality is. It’s what we are taught it is for, how we are taught to use it, Why it matters, why it is beautiful, why it should only be revealed in the safest, most cherished, most solemn of places that are key things to teach ourselves and our daughters.
What can we do about this as mamas for our children?
Came across these articles this week.. food for thought-
your actions have a huge effect on how your children see you, themselves, and others: