I have a beautiful four year old daughter, whom I love very much. With each passing year, I think about how we are getting closer to the teenage years, the years where kids pretend not to listen to you but secretly they hear every word you say. They blow you off so that you think you’re not having an impact, but you still do. I was there not too long ago, so I still remember how it goes. 😉
As a pre-teen and teenager, I became more interested in boys. I thought they were cute, I wanted to go see movies with them or hold their hand, share a milkshake and get some flowers, I wanted to feel cared for by someone other than family. But I was told repeatedly, from my parents, my uncles, my cousins, church leaders, youth pastors, (the list goes on) something along the lines of, “I was a teenage boy once, I know what they want. They only want one thing….You know… Raging hormones and all.”
Now this was said with good intentions, fathers protecting their daughters, uncles looking out for their nieces, friends looking out for friends, but it was really rather harmful. What it ended up teaching me was that all a guy will ever look at me as, is a sex object. My personality did not matter, my intelligence didn’t matter, who I was had no affect on my life at all, because guys only wanted one thing. It also taught me that guys had no personality, that they were liars, they were fake, they weren’t interested in me, they only wanted one thing and they would do or say whatever they had to in order to get that one thing.
Many have posed the question “What is wrong with our teenagers nowadays?! Why are they dressing like such sluts and whores? We need to take away their magazines and turn the tv off!” The real truth is, it’s not the magazines, or TV’s fault, it’s what we’ve all been conditioned to believe. That guys only want one thing. Then the second lesson we are taught after that, is that men are visual.
Lesson 1: Guys want one thing
Lesson 2: They are visual
What does this do to a young impressionable girl? It tells her, I need to look as good as I can, naked. If I don’t look good naked, I will eventually be cheated on, I will be left for someone better than myself because I wont be up to standards. This isn’t a new message, this message has been passed on for generations, which is why TV shows have become more sexual, women have become more scantily clad and men think it’s okay to sleep with numerous women. Because it’s what they are taught from a young age.
It ends up something like this:
“I really like this new boy Jake, he’s sooo cute!”
“Right!? I know! You should wear that short skirt you have, with those boots and maybe the lowcut top. Not super lowcut, you’re not a slut, he just need something to look at and it’ll make you look super cute.”
They dress to gain attention because they are conditioned to believe they are selling their body. Even intelligent, beautiful young ladies fall into this. “If I show a little cleavage maybe he will notice me, I know that girl is pretty cute he’s talking to, but maybe my boobs are a little better.”
For myself this landed me in a paralyzed fear of trusting any males, it accomplished what I’m sure my family was pleased with; The only guy I ever kissed was my husband. But it was only because I felt like no one wanted to know me as a person, that they were all liars and all they wanted was sex. I felt like I was standing there with my fingers in a cross shape, hissing at them to “Get back Satan!” When a guy was interested in me, I immediately thought “Why? because you want to have sex with me? Guess what? It’s not happening, so don’t waste your time with me.” I pushed everyone away and was once told “You are lucky to be married at all, in college all of the guys were afraid of you. You were so closed off to the possibility that anyone might actually like you, that no one would even make an attempt to ask you out.” It was a saddening but true statement. Which is what made me really stop and think about why I was this way.
We need to be teaching our daughters that men are respectable human beings who want to know who they are. Who want to care for them, love them, treat them well and who are interested in more than just their body. It’s not a lie either, it’s true! If you ask my husband why he loves me, he would say “Because you’re fun, you’re kind, you’re patient, you’re forgiving, you’re weird, you’re kinda crazy, we can laugh together.” It’s so much more than sex and I plan to teach my daughter that she is more than a body to be used and that she is capable of having a respectable relationship, with a teenage boy or a young man.