Friday, January 24, 2014

Thoughts on: The Sexy Lie

Please watch this video.

"We raise our little boys to view their bodies as tools to master their environments. We raise our little girls to view their bodies as projects to constantly be improved. What if women started to view their bodies as tools to master their environment? As tools to get you from one place to the next? As these amazing vehicles for moving through the world in a new way?"

I watched this incredible TEDx talk yesterday given by Dr. Caroline Hedman, titled "The Sexy Lie." I love it. I love that she is calling out our society, the women in it and the men in it for the damage we do to women by sexually objectifying them. I love that she supports her claims with her own research. I love that she gives us ways to act and help the problem. And I really, really wish I had heard and understood her message as a young girl.

This is about to get deep, y'all. I grew up in a healthy, loving home with two parents that were supportive and provided structure and just about anything I could want or need. They are really fantastic parents. I was actively religious and very involved in sports, music, academics, service and leadership throughout my childhood and adolescence. I am a people pleaser, and one of my best but most damaging characteristics is that I forgive very easily. In our world, with the signals I got from society, that helped me turn into a doormat. I was the girl that Dr. Hedman describes in this video, who regarded male attention as the holy grail for my self worth. And some dumb boys used me and abused me and hurt me emotionally for years to come, because neither they nor I understood just how damaging sexual objectification can be to a young girl's spirit. 

One time, I remember a boy asking me to wear very short shorts to a school function because he liked how I looked in them. I remember feeling shame for giving in to his requests but I did it anyway, because I regarded his attention for my body as valuable. I had trained myself to view this superficial form of attention as the basis for my self-worth. I was the student body president at the time. You would think that I would have had a little more pride in my abilities and respect for myself to subject to wearing revealing clothes because I liked the attention from a boy, but I didn't.

I am still working today on repairing the damage that was done to me through my very malleable teenage years. I am married to a wonderful man who loves me for my big heart and my mind... and tells me that often. I have a real and much improved relationship with God where I derive my own divine sense of self worth. I have an incredible family who loves me and I can never repay them for how they have helped me become the best I can be. I am ambitious, intelligent and I accomplish my goals. I spend my time at work, as a nurse for children. Oh how I love those children. I am so much more than an object. And so is everybody else. 

I just want to remind those I know and love that nobody is immune to The Lie. Boy or girl. Old or young. Successful or struggling. Happy or depressed. Spiritual or not. The woman (I say woman because this is where the overwhelming problem lies), teenager, tween, or girl in your life is struggling to create her own sense of self worth. Or she is struggling to repair the damage that has been done already. I hope that we can continue to teach our girls that their bodies are amazing for what they can DO, not what they look like or how they can be acted upon. 

Have a great Friday and weekend. Thanks for reading. 

1 comment:

  1. Very nicely said Emily! As someone who has struggled forever with self worth I appreciate your thoughts. As the mother of four girls I have tried very hard to help my girls love themselves for who they are. It's so hard. I now have my two oldest who have not been blessed with the opportunity to be married. That's a whole new battle with their self worth. They not only battle with what society tells them they should be, but now deal with what the church tells them the MUST be. It's been painful. They are beautiful inside and out, they are accomplished in their fields of study and in their careers, but they still don't feel good about themselves. What's a Mom to do?