Keeping our young girls safe

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Image retrieved from NPR.org

I heard a segment on NPR called Teen Girls and Social Media: A story of Secret Lives and Misogyny,  about some very disturbing activities that young girls are engaging in on  social media in an attempt to gain attention and fit in.  If you didn’t hear it, I would highly recommend clicking on the link, especially if you are raising a young daughter or son. If you think they aren’t being impacted by this new trend, I would encourage you to take the extra steps to find out. As parents, we have the right to know about and intervene in activities that may be jeopardizing our children’s safety and well-being.

I am somewhat fascinated lately to hear young women’s take on feminism and how they believe they are no longer faced with the same struggles as the females in my generation. When I was young, sexual harassment was a part of life that we were taught to live with. Even though our society supposedly now denounces these activities, I am not so sure it hasn’t come back with a vengeance, albeit packaged differently now.

It seems like the more powerful women become in our society, the more backlash there is to attempt to undermine that power.  The message that women are now free to express rather suppress their sexuality can be a positive thing, yet now more than ever, there is a tremendous backlash that is fooling our girls into believing certain types of misogyny are okay.

The types of misogyny that are being encouraged by the thousands of over-sexualized portrayals of women our young girls are exposed to each day can have a cumulative effect on their psyche.  Having to deal with too much too early can ultimately lead to feelings of insecurity, self-loathing, and low self-esteem in our young women. These feelings can follow them into adulthood and undermine their attempts to be taken seriously.

As I contemplate the world my 2-year-old granddaughter is being raised in, I am both excited at the prospect of so many more opportunities she will have and fearful of this new brand of hyper-sexuality that threatens to stand in the way of everything women have worked so hard to achieve.

I would like to see more focus on the women who are achieving positions of power through their accomplishments in science, public service, athletics, and academia, and less focus on the one-dimensional hyper-sexualized version of women that we are subjected to each day.

 

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12 thoughts on “Keeping our young girls safe

  1. It’s an enormous challenge to find balance in those young lives. At the very least, we can emphasize the important and lasting values, the need for autonomy and independence, self-reliance, education, tolerance, compassion. If we don’t, they’ll be raised in a vacuum, and pop culture will fill those spaces. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make some great points. I also have to remind myself to have faith in the younger generation that they will find their way as long as we teach them those lessons that you mentioned. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Part of psychosocial rehabilitation for our younger daughter involved managing social media…and we were stunned by what is going on out there…this is very accurate. We monitored phone use with her knowledge (because of the early onset of her illness, she was especially vulnerable to requests made over social media) and she was constantly asking us to block numbers because of the messages sent her way. We were also able to monitor the exchange of photos (when someone tried to send inappropriate photos her way) with online tools provided by the phone company. I’m so glad you shared this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sounds like you took a very pro-active approach to protect your daughter. I have some friends who are going through this with their kids, and it has been an eye opener. With things changing so rapidly, parents do have a right to monitor and know what is going on to keep their kids safe. Glad you shared your experience!

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  3. I totally agree with this author and have met quite a few teen girls who back up what is shared in this article. As a blogger to parents with teens in crisis, this is just the beginning of what many young girls are faced with. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, I heard the same news story….complacency of the parent’s is where I see the fault lies…..too many parents buying smart phones for their hormonally challenged kids thinking that their child would never do anything so disrespectful and harmful. If the real reason why parents buy phones for their kids is for safety/communications with them, then why not offer a phone that only allows phone calls and games to be played….no social media, no texting, no photo capability.

    I remember as a girl, my four older brothers teasing me and when I decided to fight back, I got blamed….I just learned to live with it…..so sad now to think about those days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that parents feel too much pressure to keep up and it isn’t necessary. The illusion that we are keeping our kids safer by giving them cell phones with data plans is a bit of a myth any way. That being said, if we allow them to have these devices, they should realize it comes with a lot of responsibility and parental supervision. Thank you for your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

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