Say Goodbye to the Girl Next Door: The Sexualization of Our Youth

Say Goodbye to the Girl Next Door: The Sexualization of Our Youth

I ran across an article today blasting Disney movies for perpetuating the expectation for women, especially young girls, to act with a certain decorum (like a princess) or risk being shamed. Has anyone opened their eyes recently? All you have to do is look at a recent homecoming photo to see that this is simply not the case at all. Girls are not expected to be the ‘girl next door’ anymore. They are expected to be Playboy bunnies. Skimpy dresses, stripper heels, two inches of make-up, and that all too familiar duck face have become the new expectation for teenagers. The nice girl is no longer the aspiration of little girls. Just turn on any Disney Channel TV show and you’ll see the main female protagonist blatantly disrespecting her parents while canned laughter plays in the background. She’s cool, she’s spunky, she gets the guy in the end, and all it takes is sneaking out to that party and ignoring her parent’s advice (and all with a snarky attitude). Shows like Pretty Little Liars and Secret Life of the American Teenager show sexually active teens as the norm. These shows are being watched by middle school and elementary school girls and their stars have become their idols.

With Miley Cyrus, Kei$ha, and Lady Gaga as today’s ‘role models’, I don’t see the ‘girl next door’ coming back anytime soon. In fact, Miley Cyrus’ pre-life crisis only shows that the more scandalous you are, the more attention you get. What a lovely lesson to be teaching our youth. So despite the supposed feminist fight for women that is currently the trend right now, women are being more and more scrutinized, sexualized, and objectified. All the ‘nice girls’, like Nancy Drew and Cinderella, are now seen as a threat to the empowerment of women with the ‘traditional’ view of women being deemed as ignorant and sexist. Even the Girl Scouts of America have jumped on the band-wagon and have begun passing out brochures and guides that celebrate masturbation and feature tips like the ‘Top Ten Reasons for having an Abortion”. Girls are being encouraged to explore their sexuality and to embrace a more free and progressive lifestyle. Ellen Page, the actress famous for her role in ‘Juno’, has recently become outspoken about her support for the female porn industry, saying “that feminist porn is crucial” to society and the empowerment of women. And media isn’t the only force preaching this message, the clothing industry has begun to catch up with culture. Stores like J.C. Penny’s are selling padded bras designed for 7 to 9 year old girls. American Apparel has been using the sex-as-marketing approach for years with 1970’s playboy pin-ups lining their walls. Victoria’s Secret launched a new line of underwear including thongs targeting 15-16 year olds and featuring phrases like “call me” and  “dare you” on the crotch. The CFO explained that ,“[15 and 16 year olds] want to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college, and that’s part of the magic of what we do at Pink”. This is the message retailers are sending and teenage girls are buying.

So no, I don’t think women are under some harsh expectation of innocence and naivety. In fact, I wish they were. I wish it was socially acceptable for little girls to act their age and for girls (and guys) to become sexually active upon marriage. I wish they would stop making make-up for 4th graders and that retailers would ask to see an ID before they sold you a pair of 6 inch heels. I wish that it was still considered inappropriate to show your mid-drift and wear booty shorts. And I wish the world had the ‘finger-tip’ rule when it came to the length of your skirt. I wish that no little girl would be caught in a comprising position with a webcam or have her sexting photos used as blackmail. I wish little girls found their self-esteem in their personalities and their brains and not the size of their jeans or their boobs. I wish they had role models that encouraged them in their femininity, preaching that they are made in the image of God to be man’s perfect compliment not his property or his superior. But we don’t. So if the morals of Disney princesses are all we have right now, then I’m all for it.

Remember the Ladies?

Remember the Ladies?

For the past couple months, I have been reading posts about the supposed “War on Women”, how current politicians are so out-of-touch with the modern woman, and how women’s rights are being threatened. The primary concern at the moment is healthcare and the woman’s right to control her own body. What the world doesn’t realize is not all woman are on the left side of the argument. I for instance, do not support abortion. Yes, I have the right to my own body and my life but the life inside my womb belongs the little boy or girl I will carry one day. By giving me the right to abort a pregnancy, you are denying the right of the future generation to their’s. So please stop grouping me into your “War”. But let’s put the pro-life/pro-choice issue aside for a second. I think we, as a culture, are missing an even greater threat to women: the growing animosity between us. Women were designed by God with attributes and talents that differ greatly from our male counterparts. He made us relational, loving, and nurturing beings. Now not every woman feels like she encompasses these qualities, but whether you think so or not, it is at your very core. Women throughout history have raised the heroes of wars and the leaders of nations. We’ve banded together in support of Patriots and rallied together for the right to vote; but recently, we’ve been creating a divide between us that will have a detrimental effect on the next generation, if it hasn’t already.

We’ve suffered abuse and discrimination in the past and desperately want to be seen as the equals we are. We want to prove to the world that we are valuable. So we created the feminist movement in an attempt to show the boys that we’ve got what it takes, demanding to be taken seriously. But instead of cultivating a society of women in support of each other, we’re tearing each other apart. As we try to ‘beat the boys’ and prove our worth, we put each other down in the process. We call each other ‘ugly’ and starve our bodies to fit into some made-up image of the ideal woman. Inside, we’re empty shells of femininity. Instead of praising the uniqueness and beauty that every woman possesses, we point out each other’s flaws in our race to the top of the list of America’s Hottest Women. We chastise the world for objectifying woman and we turn around and use our bodies for personal, financial, and political gain. We play ‘stupid’ for attention and laugh at the women who study hard. We prey on the weak to make us feel strong. What has happened to us?

We’ve risen through the corporate world with much success, which is truly something to be proud of. We have women CEOs and entrepreneurs, even Secretaries of State. But while successful in that realm, we’ve put down the ladies who have chosen to stay at home, caring for our children. We call them ‘traditional’ and blame them for keeping us back instead of affirming them as they toil day after day in arguably the toughest job on the planet. All we gain from this is a larger divide between us. We’ve even botched the term “feminist”. We’ve perverted a word that was intended to bond us together and turned it into a word that divides us, tearing a hole in our collective heart. Proverbs 14:1 says, “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down”. Our ‘house’ is the world we live in and we’re tearing it down brick by brick.

We’ve lost sight of who we are: a being designed by God. Perfect in every flaw. We’ve let our insecurities rule our lives instead of finding our security in our Heavenly Father. And we’ve tried to find our value in temporary things and based on mortal standards instead of recognizing our value lies in Him alone. Let’s stop the real ‘War on Women’ and start loving each other. Let’s become something our daughters can be proud of.