Why We Need To Pay More Attention To What We're Teaching Young Girls

Recently, I came across a docu-series in which the mother of a 10-year-old girl was looking to start a movement. Although I am not yet a mother, I felt complete empathy for this woman and her frustrations about how we are bringing up our daughters.

This docu-series explored the journey of two different mothers who employed completely different parenting techniques and had two different outcomes. I am not saying either is right or wrong, but it really struck a nerve with me about how certain techniques were justified.

One mother allowed her 10-year-old to “discover” herself and learn to grow into a woman on her own. She “played” and experimented with real makeup, posed -- in what I felt was a provocative manner -- in photos and seemed to focus heavily on the fact that this was all in good fun.

The other mother argued that she was way too young; she should not be exposed in that way and she was exploiting and incriminating herself as she entered womanhood. Of course, whenever any parenting style gets criticized or attacked, defenses come out swinging.

What mainly inspired me to write this is how I have felt and currently feel as a woman coming into her own at 28 years old. I have spent most of my life down-playing the reality of this until recent situations made it a certainty. I like to believe that our society functions differently, but truthfully, the evidence is everywhere.

It just seems to me we are instilling the wrong message in our young daughters. Behaviors, attitudes and beauty that are not real are all being celebrated. Young girls live in a world where they will be automatically sexualized.

What we say to them at such a young age will define their worth. Selfies? Clothing? Dancing? Posing? Beyoncé? The Kardashians? All of these images add up to what young girls are putting out there. They will spend the rest of their lives as women fighting that battle.

We live in a world where women across the globe would die for the freedom and rights of Americans, and our girls are getting their confidence from “likes” and “comments” from photos on the Internet.

As much as we want to place blame on the men, they are not the problem. The problem is what they have access to; we all are the problem. We know better and need to teach our daughters better, together, as a team.

This is for their protection. This is for their dreams. This is for their worth. We cannot take that away from them any longer. Let’s take back our daughters and teach them what they really have the potential to do in this world.

I know what I look like in a push-up bra. I know what I look like in full hair and makeup. I have spent most of my life struggling with how others see me and how I see myself. I know who I am and I am comfortable with it. Others have seen me in certain ways and think that it is how I should be all of the time. It seems that many people do not realize what they are implying.

I am certainly not saying that there is anything wrong with doing what makes you happy and what makes you feel beautiful. However, a woman should feel beautiful and powerful. Isn’t there a level of responsibility that we have, as grown women, to show our daughters the difference?

We are absolutely sexual beings, but collectively, we are realizing it at way too young of an age for any of us to handle. The positive feedback needs to be addressed. There should be other ways that, as a society, we can build up our daughters’ identities. 

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It