Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Self Respect.

There's been some scandal in my town over the last few years with high school girls sending around topless photos. These pictures, which these girls took I'm sure assuming only "one boy" would ever see...have basically gone viral each time. I don't know the girls involved, been out of high school for 10 years, don't know the boys and even I received the photos. It's a big deal in a tiny town where very little ever happens. Naked photos. Goodness gracious. How things have changed even since I was in high school! (And not to mention, children. Naked pictures of 17 year olds is illegal. ILLEGAL. Taking them, being in them, sending them...illegal. Not. Kidding.)

That got me thinking...what is so wrong in these girls lives that they feel the need to strip down to nothing and show off in that way? Is it a self confidence thing? Do they feel a sense of power by showing off for guys? Empowered? Does it boost their self esteem to think that boys are enjoying these pictures? I'm not sure.

When I was in high school, I had an awful boyfriend. He didn't mean to be, but he didn't have great examples of how to treat women in his life. He could have treated me better but I could have broken up with him too. That's neither here nor there. The point is my self esteem in regards to boys and dating was so low, I didn't realize how bad things were.

As a mom of a son, the responsibility lies with me now. I need to raise Trace to respect GIRLS so much that he would never dream of asking a girl to take her shirt off. I would never want him to accept the invitation offered by a girl either. I'm using GIRL here rather pointedly. Young ladies in high school are GIRLS. Fragile, sensitive, easily manipulated girls. I know, I was one. I want my son to be the young man, the boy, who girls are comfortable around. I want parents of girls to encourage their daughters to think Trace is cute because they know he was raised to treat their daughters correctly. No shenanigans here.

As a mom of a daughter, the responsibility lies with me now as well. I need to raise Rory to respect HERSELF so much that she laughs in the face of any guy who asks her to get naked on the internet. I want her to be confident in her looks and her body, but know that she is special and unique. She needs to realize, from an early age, that self confidence doesn't come from a boy. That type of self confidence is false and crumbles faster than the weather changes. True and lasting self confidence comes from hard work, not the admiration of a boy or two. (Again using the term BOY instead of man on purpose...) I hope Rory is surrounded by teachers and friends in high school that lift her up, encourage her, praise her successes and help her learn from her mistakes and failures. I hope she knows home is a safe place.

Oh wouldn't it be so nice if I could control the future? Naturally, I know I can't. That doesn't mean I can't wish I could.

Girls, boys do not determine your self worth. Your self worth, your value, is determined by YOU. Your hard work, your education, you commitments, your kindness, your compassion. No boy can build up or tear down your self worth unless you choose to let them. Self confidence is a reward for hard work. Self esteem is found when you take the time to realize how great you are. Look at you! Look at the things you have accomplished. Did you pass a test that you had to really study for? Make a basket in your last basketball game? Complete a season of soccer without dying? Turn a triple pirouette at dance? THOSE are things that make up the building blocks of self esteem and self confidence, not flaunting yourself for boys.

Boys, the harm you do when you ask a girl to send you a naked photo OR accept her offer goes beyond what you think. You might think it's pretty awesome that she did it and then laugh with your friends, calling her some "lovely" names and think that's the end of it. It's not. Girls don't forget. Ever. Say no. Say NO. Offer to get a cup of coffee or go to a movie with a girl, not allow her to disrespect herself like that.

I don't know. Just something on my mind lately.


Jess said...

I am so with you on that. I coached high school cheerleading for a few years, and I was astounded at how little respect those girls had for each other and themselves. I have no idea what happened, but I guarantee you that when I have children, Ken and I will raise them to respect others and themselves.

And you're right - high school girls are that - girls. They are under 18, not adults, they are girls. It reminds me of a scene from the movie Raising Helen, where she takes Audrey's fake id. She tells Audrey that she IS a child and she has every right to a childhood and if she isn't going to fight for it, then she (Helen) is going to fight for her.

Kelly said...

Ahhh, WHAT a fabulous post. I too am just SOOOO confused with girls nowadays :-( It's just so sad. I "preach" to my sister the importance of treating yourself best first and foremost. A man should NOT define yourself. I always tell my sister-- to thine own self be true :-)

Neely said...

It hurts my heart to think young girls think this is the only way.

Unknown said...

This actually brought tears to my eyes. Things like this terrify me for McKayla. She sees very different examples in her life and I hope and pray she chooses the right path. Michael and I tell her all the time that no matter where she is - she is McKayla and she can be (and NEEDS to be!) herself - and God is watching everthing she does. I love, love, love this post. THANK YOU!

Regina of Live Delightfully said...

Oh my gravy! That's ridiculous! And so incredibly sad at the same time! It's terrible that girls think this is the thing to do. We recently had a similar scandal in our small town with a girl crawling under bus seats to get to the back of the bus to give a boy oral sex. They are in JUNIOR HIGH! I've never heard of such things from KIDS who are so young! It breaks my heart and now that girl has to live with this and face people every day at school who know what she did. I wish she knew now, what she didn't know then. So sad...

GREAT post from you though, and I completely agree!


Truly His said...

Absolutely agree 100%!! Thank you!! I just grabbed your button :) BTW!

Kiley said...

It wasn't that long ago that I was in high school and shenanigans like this occurred all the time. I don't understand it. I didn't at the time and I still don't. I guess it's a self-esteem thing? It made certain girls feel "cool" at the time...popular, wanted. But they always regretted it later on. It's so sad and makes my heart ache. :(

this is such a wonderful, important post! Every girl needs to read something like this.