Remember in this post when I said that there’s still work to be done in regard to the evolution of the word sexy? Well, what I mean by that is that unfortunately, we are still living in a world that begins sexualizing girls from a young age. With girls, we tend to idolize their appearance as the first, and often, only thing to value about them. Think about the last interaction you had with a young girl. I too am guilty of commenting on how cute they look or how I like their outfit, and it wouldn’t shock me if you do too. The issue with this though, is that when you flip it around and remember your last encounter with a little boy, I’d be willing to bet that their appearance didn’t come up as a topic of conversation.
Lisa Bloom’s article titled, How to Talk to Little Girls is really what called this to my attention. She suggests that, “teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything.” And it’s true. This happens every day, where unconsciously, we are creating a generation of girls whose self worth is wrapped up in their appearance. The world is a changing place, and is even vastly different than when I was in the midst of developing the first stage of my self worth around ten years ago. But with the introduction and widespread phenomena of social media and the yearning to constantly be connected, parents now have less control over the images and messages their children are seeing. This is especially important to think about in regard to what young girls are seeing in today’s media. But as I briefly touched on in this post, sex sells everything. So undoubtedly, the idea of what is sexy, hot, and attractive to men is ingrained in the minds of young children, specifically girls, practically since birth. And what’s worse? Since these are the only images they’ve seen, they don’t see anything wrong with them. They aren’t taught to believe that intelligence is sexy because all they see are women being used for their bodies.
Women of all different shapes, sizes and ethnicities are rarely celebrated, instead we usually get a very thin, white woman.
What this does is creates a false reality of what beauty and sexiness is. It urges young girls to feel the need to fit a certain mold, and when they don’t, it perpetuates unhealthy attitudes toward themselves. Our outlook on what is “normal” is totally skewed, and the problem lies in the fact that even if we are willing to acknowledge that, we still unconsciously feel the pressure to conform. And it’s not just an issue that young girls face. Women who are 12, 20 and all the way up to 50 (I’m talking three or four generations within a family) are all striving to look like the woman who is in the ad. And you know what the problem with that is? Even the woman in the ad doesn’t look like the woman in the ad. Madonna and Britney come to mind here, specifically.
It’s difficult to change on a macro scale, so for now, all I’m suggesting is to become aware, because that’s always the first step in change. Understand that how you interpret and display your own sense of sexy may be, but doesn’t have to be different than what’s advertised. And I’m not saying that what’s being advertised isn’t a reality for a select few or that if that’s how you choose to interpret sexy for yourself that that’s a bad thing. All I want is for you to come to that conclusion on your own. I want you to feel liberated by the power you hold within yourself, and I don’t want that to be torn down by the images that are so common today.