Beware. I am going to talk about something many might consider to be a hot subject, and I’m going to be blunt, but you are duly warned, so here goes.
Have you ever heard anyone say, “How could her mother let her step out of the house in that?” Do you think anyone has ever said that about you? Are you allowing your daughter’s desire to be popular and “well-liked” to override her ability to be respected and honored?
These are hard questions and the answers are not drawn with clear, well-defined lines. Instead they are muddled and clouded on a constant basis by television, billboards, magazine ads, CD covers, music videos and movies. How is a young girl going to figure out the complex meanings of a woman’s appearance when adults can barely make sense of it all?
Girls yearn to be women - now. They think it is a power, and they are right. But the power does not arise merely by donning tight fitting or revealing sexy clothes. This is a power, yes, and they sense this because it is blasted at them from all directions. But this power is ephemeral and ultimately of very little meaning. A woman’s true strength and power reside in her ability to lift those around her up to a higher level by her example, her personal accomplishments and the investment of her energy and interest in others.
All young girls fall prey to the same dangers when the powerful biochemicals of adolescence begin to surge - both in them and in their male peers - and when the current fads and fashions seek only to emphasize this preoccupation a parent’s job is made all the more difficult.
Of course, we also want our girls to feel attractive and valued. Achieving this end while balancing current fads and prevailing fashions and still protecting a girl’s self-respect and honor is made more difficult by our modern times. I won’t torture you with what I see twelve and thirteen year olds wearing at the mall. Besides, you’ve already seen it.
Modesty, style and grace are the key words. Pick an icon: Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Onassis, Princess Diana, Taylor Swift . Each demonstrates an individual style that is at once beautiful and honorable. They do not beg for our attention with flashy gimmicks or shocking outfits - and behavior. One automatically responds to ladies such as these much differently than to, say, Britney or Paris, who might seem to get a lot of admiration and attention, but at what price? And how far will they have to go to keep getting that attention? In the end, are they truly admired - or just gawked at? Their power is ephemeral because it is based upon the whims of public attention instead of their own sense of personal value and self-respect. Let us work together to help our girls see their true values - “the wonderful workings of their minds, their humor, their kindness and their moral courage.”* •GMS
*Quoted from Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott