If you are a people watcher, a great place to go and feed your addiction is the local mall. Hordes of teens and tweens corral themselves into tightly knit groups. If you pay close attention, you can hear much of the conversation. The laughter flows, the flirting flourishes, and gossip flies.
Much to the disappointment of this people watcher, girls far too young skip past in low-rise jeans with the occasional piece of thong underwear peeking out over the waistband. Tweens parade past in T-shirts embellished with demeaning sexual statements. I wonder if they understand the message the T-shirts send.
It makes me more than a little nervous to raise my daughter in this sexually saturated society. How does a parent stand up for old-fashioned morals touted as outdated and boring when pitted against racy adventures and flamboyant merchandise? How can I be sure my values will be the main influence in my daughter’s life?
That’s when the title of a new book, Bringing Up Girls, caught my eye. I’ll admit, reading it scared me even more. The trends influencing our impressionable daughters are terrifying. But, it also gave me hope. Dr. James Dobson assures readers that girls with strong relationships with their fathers (or reliable father figure) and with active, involved mothers are more likely to refrain from early sexual encounters, from drug and alcohol abuse, are less swayed by trends, and value themselves more than those left to flounder their way through the teenage maze alone.
He offers examples of young girls, with the full support of their parents, who have stood against the current trends. An 11-year-old girl hosted a fashion show to model an appropriate alternative to modern styles. It drew a crowd of 250, got a standing ovation, and raised money for charity.
He also mentions 24 girls that banded together to fight back against a clothing company marketing T-Shirts with shameful slogans. They gained a meeting with the company heads and discussed how they could incorporate more empowering slogans on T-shirts.
When I finished reading the book, I stood over my innocent sleeping daughter and wondered how long she would remain innocent. I want to protect her as long as possible. I will not be silent when the media tells her that beauty can be bought and is packaged in T-shirts with questionable innuendos.
I suspect there are other parents like me that want so much more for their daughters then our current culture offers them. I suspect they are tired of the media claiming attractiveness comes packaged in a size one. I suspect they are tired of inappropriate slogans that cheapen their daughter’s value.
When will enough be enough?
If there is a silent majority that wishes culture was different but doesn’t know how to change it you can take your cue from the examples above. Your voice is louder than you think.