Returning to the subject of true femininity and the unique strengths of women, I find myself having a "conversation" with a modern-day young woman I've named "Ms. S". I have a long laundry list of things I'd like to tell her, as well as a few things I'd like to smack her upside the head about.
First on the list: "Ms. S, would you please put some clothes on? I really don't want to see your lingerie, or your bosom falling out of your teensy-weensy little top. You have a mind and a heart and a talent that has nothing to do with your breasts or your rear end, yet you have reduced yourself to only those two things. How sad."
What infuriates me even more as a mother is how this overtly sexual behavior is being pushed on little girls. Even clothing for six year-old's is becoming revealing! And stop marketing High School Musical to my kindergartener!
"Ms. S, I am trying to raise daughters who know their own inner strengths, their talents, their value as human beings, and their significance as women. These things are not wrapped up in their bodies or their "sexiness", and seeing you parade around half undressed sets a very bad example. Not to mention the harm you are doing to yourself. You are more than sex! No man in the world will be motivated to treat you with respect if you don't respect yourself enough to be a lady."
So how do you counter the culture of sex in your house? How do you help teach your daughters about modesty and propriety? What concrete things can we do as mothers to help our girls hang on to their innocence for as long as possible?
For me, a few things are obvious. No High School Musical anything in my house. No Hannah Montana. No Bratz dolls. No toys of any kind that portray girls in skimpy clothing with snotty looks on their faces.
Also, my own manner of dress is crucial. I decided a long time ago to forgo the strappy tank tops and deep V-neck shirts. Short skirts are also deep-sixed. And bathing suits.... oh, don't get me started! I would gladly be the chairperson of the campaign to eliminate bikinis from the planet. I don't know a single woman who would venture out in public in her bra and panties, so somebody please tell me, what's the difference?? How does the fabric make it okay to walk around in front of people (other men!) like that?
My girls' swimsuits this year are skirted on the bottom, and sleeved on the top. Modesty and great sun protection in one pretty package, thank you. My bathing suit is the same.
I can't expect my girls to appreciate modesty and respect their bodies if I don't model those qualities for them, and the way a woman dresses plays a huge roll in teaching virtue. Attractive doesn't have to mean revealing. Modest doesn't have to mean boring and frumpy. I love cute clothes as much as any gal, but I won't trade virtue for fashion.
What are your thoughts?
(Part two of my conversation with Ms. S coming soon! So many more things to talk about!)