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Protect Your Girls' Girlhood

Sometimes we are so immersed in our culture, that we fail to see the harmful messages that society is broadcasting.


Everywhere you look in our culture, you will see little girls being promoted as sexual objects:

On Facebook you will see friends and acquaintances flaunting photos of their daughters in sexy poses, beautiful girls being groomed for beauty pageants...but what else are they learning?

On YouTube you see find 7 year olds wearing lingerie, shaking their booty in sultry hip-hop dances.

Reality shows like Toddlers & Tiaras feature little girls from as young as two, made up to be miniature beauty queens with all the sultry moves of their adult counterparts. Parents spare no expense including voice coaches, make-up artists, regular spray tans, hair extensions, acrylic nails and even made-to-measure fake teeth for their pageant princesses!

On kids' cartoon movies, the heroines are all sexy, long-legged, Barbie look-alikes and even the little girls have tiny waistlines and budding breasts.

Then you get the padded bras and g-string underwear and swimming costumes aimed at 7-10 year olds...and T-shirts with slogans like "hot chick", "flirt" and "future trophy wife"!

What are we thinking?

What happened to little girls being innocent little girls?

Most readers would agree that pornography and prostitution degrade women to mere sex objects, yet the way society portrays and dresses young girls is not much better.

"Research links sexualization with three of the most common mental health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression or depressed moods."1

Persistent exposure to media images that sexualize girls affects how girls perceive femininity and sexuality.

"Girls who more frequently consume mainstream media tend to accept sexual stereotypes that depict women as sexual objects. They also place appearance and physical attractiveness at the centre of a woman's value." 2

Why have parents uncritically accepted these sexually immoral messages marketed at their children?

Are we completely numb and desensitized to what is happening?

The following information should be quite alarming:

The original Barbie, 1959

"Everyone knows something about Barbie, the most famous doll in the world. Big-breasted, narrow waisted and long legged, SHE HAS HELPED SEX INTRUDE INTO CHILDHOOD...Several decades ago, Barbie's creator, Ruth Handler, saw a Swiss doll called Lilli, voluptous, wearing heels. She was just what Ms Handler wanted for a blockbuster new doll. Ignoring traditional marketeers - shocked by Barbie's breasts - she began an uphill battle in California to manufacture this sexy creature, so unlike cuddly baby dolls. What she did not know, was that Lilli was BASED ON A PROSTITUTE IN A GERMAN ADULT CARTOON AIMED AT MEN."
(The Economist - 05/05/2007)

"But, whereas the German Lilli is rather a - how can I say it delicately - strumpet*, her American twin, Barbie, is the wholesome girl next door - if you ignore her 'teenage' 36-26-36 measurements and her sleek, Cleopatra-type exotic eyeliner. Handler named the American bombshell doll - who walked into American history wearing nothing but a sexy black-and-white one-piece swimsuit - after her daughter, Barbara." 3

(*Strumpet = A female prostitute or a promiscuous woman.)

... so half the world gives their daughters a doll modeled on a prostitute as a role model!

... and then we dress up our little girls like mature teens, with padded bras and thongs in T-shirts with flirty slogans and we call it "cute".

We teach our girls that their value lies in their sex appeal and then we freak out when they have issues related to body image, low self-esteem, are not respected or worse, are violated!

Steps to restore and protect innocent girlhood:

  • Teach your girl that her value comes from who she is, her character and what is inside her, rather than from her appearance.
  • Help her to understand that the images of women in the media are frequently immoral, and usually unrealistic. Photos are usually photoshopped and even actresses use body doubles as their figures are not 'perfect'.
  • Limit the exposure of young children to movies that perpetuate false body images.
  • Don't buy clothes that have sexual connotations or slogans - not for your girls or for your boys.
  • Speak to your children about issues of concern in TV shows, music, movies, clothing or dolls. Explain to your child what your objections are and don't expect her to necessarily to like your opinion or agree with you. She too has already been conditioned by her peers and the culture she lives in. But you are the parent, be big enough to say, "No."
  • Support campaigns, companies, and products that promote positive images of girls.
  • Complain to manufacturers, advertisers, television and movie producers, and retail stores when products sexualize girls.
  • Teach your boys to value girls as friends and sisters, and to treat them with respect, rather than as sexual objects.
  • Remember to be an example to your children. How do you dress and what do you watch?

Women and girls need real protection and respect. Let's promote innocence, rather than the opposite.

1&2 http://www.christianaction.org.za/articles/BringBackBiblicalGirlhood.htm
3 http://vastinebondurant.blogspot.com/2012/05/hardboiled-and-loaded-with-sin.html

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