My title is stolen from a blog post I read over at Silver Spoon, Paper Plates the other day. Rachel and I have never (and probably will never) met, but I truly value her parenting philosophies... and see a lot of my self in her brainy-reading-researcher-type-A personality.She raises some good points about the early sexualization of children. Honestly, it's disgusting. I read an article on MSNBC that stated some other good points. I find it absolutely heartbreaking that young girls (and boys) are being bombarded by images of "perfection" at an earlier and earlier age.
When we found out we were pregnant, I began wrestling with God and begging for a boy. I was a messed-up heap of self-image issues as a teenager... and honestly, looking back, as a very young girl. I remember as a first grader realizing my legs were thicker than cute little Laramie Moore's. The kids on the bus teased me because my nostrils flared when I laughed. Throw in a relationship with a jerk who said the most defeating things to me day in and day out, and you have a 17-year-old whose warped thinking never sees a skinny girl in the mirror, even at 5'10" and 150 lbs.
I told God that I couldn't raise a girl. I mean look at me, Lord?! I'm such a mess of self-consciousness and worry, I was afraid my precious little girl would grow up just like me... and that scared me to death. In my current Beth Moore study on the book of Esther, the tagline is "It's tough being a woman" and each week Beth reads real women's statements on what's tough about being a woman. One lady said that it's tough hoping that your daughter will want to grow up to be just like you and wondering if you're worthy of such an honor. After the study that night, I cried my eyes out to God on the way home. I knew that if our sweet baby was a girl, God was going to equip me with the skills I needed to be the best example of confidence, strength and faith she'd ever see.
Praise the Lord we're having a boy! :) I'm kidding. Honestly though, at first I breathed a sigh of relief because I thought I was off the hook. A boy wouldn't pick up on me complaining daily about my weight, he wouldn't notice me changing clothes 6 times in the morning before work, he wouldn't get his cues about self-esteem and self-image/value from me... but, oh, he will! When that little boy looks at me, he'll see a beautiful mom who works her hardest to love him and provide for him. When he says I'm beautiful and I shoot down his compliment, I make him second-guess what he sees. Perhaps most importantly, what he sees in me may very well be what he deems "normal"... oh my, is that not scary!
My sweet hubby came into marriage thinking every women shaved her legs everyday, made amazing pork shoulder on the grill, could mow the lawn, feed the cows and still dress to the nines on a date with her husband. And then he married me- a woman who has no desire to learn how to run a zero-turn mower (or perform any kind of manual labor, for that matter) and thinks I'm doing pretty good when I shave twice a week. :)
God is showing me very quickly that being a parent is tough, no matter the sex of the child. I have been given the responsibility of training him in the ways of the Lord, instilling in him a love of scripture, serving others and loving his family. When he watches Tevie and I he will learn how a man should treat his wife and how to be a leader in his household. And, I pray, when he looks at me he sees what a godly, loving momma looks like... I'm terrified and excited at the same time.
Watching Tinker Bell's hemline get shorter and Bell's waist get curvier infuriates me not only because my son, if I don't teach him otherwise, will grow up thinking that's normal, but because there are six precious little girls whose purity and self-image I value and I hate that the enemy is already trying to take that away from them. It's also infuriating because the images the media put out are unattainable. No one looks like that in real life. Cindy Crawford is quoted as saying she wished she looked like Cindy Crawford.
I'll leave you with this quote from Rachel at Silver Spoon, Paper Plates:
"Ultimately those unnaturally airbrushed ads are not so innocent attempts to steal our girls. To steal their confidence and to steal their potential. Let me be clear to the advertisers who create it, to the designers who put tragically thin models on the runway, to the society who finds beauty in this madness: when it comes to my daughter [my son or the little girls I love], you can't have her."