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Parents around the world were recently shocked to see pictures in the UK Daily Mail online of girls, some as young as eight, dressed in red and black lingerie performing a racy dance routine to Beyonce's "All the Single Ladies" at a dance contest. Yet even more shocking, was that the parents of the girls involved approved.
Other examples are just as alarming. A Skechers' "naughty and nice" ad featured pop star Christina Aguilera dressed as a schoolgirl in pigtails, with her shirt unbuttoned, licking a lollipop. Bratz and Barbie dolls come dressed in sexualized clothing such as miniskirts, fishnet stockings, and feather boas. Thongs sized for 7 to 10-year-olds, are printed with slogans such as "wink, wink". T-shirts for girls display slogans such as "hot chick" and "boyfriend material".
In the movie and TV series Hannah Montana, very popular amoungst tweens and teens, the heroine Miley, leads a double life as pop star Hannah Montana. As per usual, she has the perfect body and hooks a "cool" boyfriend in the end.
Girls get this message repeatedly: What matters is how "hot" they look. It plays on TV and across the Internet. You hear it in song lyrics and music videos. You see it in movies, electronic games, and clothing stores. It's a powerful message.
Whatever happened to the days when girls used to wear pretty dresses and play with dolls?
Most of us are concerned about the intrusion of pornography into every facet of society, yet, we should be just as concerned about the portrayal of girls and women as flirtatious sex objects which fuels the pornography and prostitution industries.
Research links sexualization with three of the most common mental health problems of girls and women:
low self-esteem, and
depression or depressed moods.
Frequent exposure to media images that sexualize girls affects how girls conceptualize femininity and sexuality. Girls who more frequently consume mainstream media tend to accept sexual stereotypes that depict women as sexual objects. They also place appearance and physical attractiveness at the centre of a woman's value.
Why have parents uncritically accepted these sexually immoral messages marketed at their children?
Are we perhaps like the proverbial frog in the slowly heating pot, that we haven't noticed just how sexually immoral our society has become? Or is it that we have failed to study and obey God's Word?
What does God's Word say?
A woman is first and foremost valuable because she is made in His image. "Unfading beauty" comes from a "gentle and quiet spirit" (1 Peter 3:4). "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised" (Proverbs 31:30).
Vision Forum, a ministry dedicated to rebuilding the Christian family, sums up the vision of bringing back Biblical girlhood beautifully,
"In a world that frowns on femininity, that minimizes motherhood, and that belittles the beauty of being a true woman of God, we should dare to believe that the Biblical vision for girlhood is a glorious vision. It is a vision for purity and contentment, for faith and fortitude, for enthusiasm and industry, for heritage and home, and for joy and friendship. It is a vision so bright and so wonderful that it must be boldly proclaimed."
Here's what you can do to bring back Biblical girlhood:
* Teach your daughter that her value comes from who she is in Christ, rather than from how she looks.
* Help her to understand that the images of women in the media are usually unrealistic.
* Don't buy your daughter clothes that have sexual connotations or slogans. If you don't like a TV show, CD, video, pair of jeans, or doll, say why. A conversation with her will be more effective than simply saying, "No, you can't buy it or watch it."
* Support campaigns, companies, and products that promote positive images of girls.
* Complain to manufacturers, advertisers, television and movie producers, and retail stores when products sexualise girls.
* Parents must teach boys to value girls as friends and sisters in Christ, rather than as sexual objects.
* Remember, your children will copy the way you dress and what you watch. What kind of an example are you setting for your children? BE an EXAMPLE!
* Women need real protection and respect.
Let's bring back Biblical girlhood.