A few weeks ago I was at the gym in my t-shirt and capris. While I was warming up on the treadmill, I saw a commercial for a women’s wrestling show. Rather than showcase their strength, physical ability and years of training it took to get to that point, the commercial showed these amazing athletic women in men’s dress shirts in sexy poses, showing more cleavage than a turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
Weeks later I still wonder what the commercial had to do with wrestling. Oh, they did mention the date and time of the program at the end of the commercial. Mission accomplished?
What bothered me most wasn’t how these women were portrayed by the commercial’s producers (though that was disturbing), but that these strong, beautiful women allowed themselves and their accomplishments to be turned into sex symbols rather than standing up as examples for women everywhere.
Women; we are selling ourselves short. I am tired of seeing a woman on a magazine cover, 75% naked being lauded as a strong, confident woman for being willing to show her body. Showing your body doesn’t making you a strong woman. What you do and how you act makes you strong.
According to Susan Fiske of the Princeton University Department Psychology, the area of a man’s brain that lights up when they see a woman in a bikini is the same part of the brain that lights up when they see a tool. Men see these women as objects to be acted upon, rather than equals. Too many women have worked too hard and sacrificed for equality between the sexes to give that up for too tight, too skimpy clothing.
I’m not saying a woman should dress modestly to appease the carnal nature of men. I’m saying women should tone down the cleavage and wear a skirt that actually covers their tuckus because they have more respect for themselves than to put themselves in a position to be viewed as a sexual object and because they have the confidence to know they are beautiful without showing all their cards up front if you catch my drift.
So to my daughter:
You are beautiful. You aren’t beautiful because of your big blue eyes or your long blonde hair. You aren’t beautiful because of the clothing you wear or do not wear. You are beautiful because you care about others and are always looking for ways to help. You smile and laugh and make everyone around you feel happy. That is why you are beautiful.
You are strong. Not because you are confident enough to show off your body, but because you stand up for what you believe in. Your strength comes because you know what you want and work hard to get it. You don’t take shortcuts, but put in the time and sacrifice to get where you want to go.
You are important. Importance isn’t measured by how many man looks at you as you walk down the street. It isn’t measured by your dress size or cup size. You are important because God made you with talents and abilities to help the world. As you develop and use these talents and abilities you can make a difference for the better in the world.
You are confident. Confidence doesn’t come by showing off your body. True confidence is knowing your value, even if we can’t see 6 inches of cleavage. Confidence comes as you realize you can be beautiful, strong and valuable no matter what you wear. Why would clothes make you confident? They are just pieces of material. They don’t reflect who you are. Real confidence is knowing you are beautiful without having to showcase every inch of that beauty.
You deserve to be valued and respected by men and women because of who you are. No matter how your waistline changes throughout the years or how many times you go out in sweats and an over-sized t-shirt, you deserve respect. If a man doesn’t notice you because he can’t see enough skin, he isn’t a man worth your time. If a girl won’t be your friend because you don’t dress “mainstream,” she’s not the kind of friend who will be there for you when you truly need someone.
You deserve respect from you. When you get dressed in the morning, what are your goals? Is the goal to attract the eye of the boy who sits next to you in class? Is your goal to make the other girls think you are worthy of their friendship? Each day, you should dress in a way that makes you feel beautiful and comfortable for YOU, not for others.