Let Her Be A Girl Before You Make Her A Woman!…

little tramp stampEarlier this week I posted a piece discussing the disturbingly horrific ways that our young girls are being seen as sexual beings before they have even hit puberty. The responses I got back were mixed. On the one hand, I met with a lot of support from different mothers and fathers but I did meet quite a few that assumed I had crossed the line. The uncomfortable fact is that in today’s super sexed society, everything we see and view in the media has been carnally charged at some point. How this affects the next generation is up to you to decide. On any given day if you ask me how many kids I have the number may change. That is because I consider every child, my family at some point. I am that neighborhood mom that will take in anyone. I have also been known to discipline my close friends and family’s kids.madea meme Extra chores, timeouts, taken toys, and yes even the occasional spankings were common in my home. I like so many of you, took my role as parent serious enough that it extended to all of those under my roof or presence. I say all this because although I only have two biological sons, I have daughters too.

As a young girl, I was molested. It started when I was 12 and continued for years after that. I internalized that pain and still tried to go on like nothing happened. Grown men around me took notice of my blossoming body before I knew what having a body meant.little-girl-crying I remember how horrible that made me feel. My torment did not end at home. When I was 13 my first summer job was cleaning apartments. The manager took me into one f the bedrooms and asked me to have sex with him. I refused and ran home crying and told my mother. He lied to her when she called and said that he was only testing me. No police were called and the memory of that moment and my torment at home destroyed my self-image.  I was ashamed of my body and yet I wanted to be a young girl like everyone else. I wasn’t allowed that luxury and for years I struggled because of it.  This is the reason I am so concerned by the way that our daughters view themselves. This is why I ask that we all please join the fight to allow our daughters to be little girls first.

Sure we are a super sexed society… Sex does sell but our daughters are not FOR SALE. Stop allowing our daughters to buy into the sexy culture that is the now. Just because they make tube tops and hiphuggers for six-year olds doesn’t mean we should buy them.   One point of view was that pedophiles will look at our kids no matter what they wear. I thought about that for a moment. According to Child Lures Prevention,  “Approximately 400,000 convicted pedophiles currently reside in the United States, according to Department of Justice estimates.” This is only the number of convicted felons. What about the ones like my demons? Neither of the men that touched me as a kid were ever convicted.RAPE The fact remains, that some men and women may not view themselves as typical pedophiles, in my opinion. I am sure we have all heard people talking about how much more mature this or that child is than others. Is it that much of a stretch to assume that some people can be swayed or comforted in thinking that because young Jessica seems to be so mature, she can handle the sexual advances being turned her way? Because she is so mature, she can handle sex? Because she is so mature, she won’t be permanently scarred by her lack of childhood. Because it is just sex it is no big deal right?

BATTERED WOMANWhat if I told you that in the past two months,  I personally have talked to four girls in their teens to early 20s that were all either raped or molested at as early as 11? What if I told you that for three of them their mothers were aware of the abuse and turned a blind eye? What if I told you that they all were told that they looked or acted mature for their age? Do you see a pattern here? What about those little girls that are desensitized to sexuality because it is so common. Sure it is more comfortable to say that it is society’s fault or bad parenting. Guess what? We are SOCIETY. We are the PARENTS. Most of us are not bad parents only misguided. We have gotten not necessarily comfortable, with this new sexy culture but we accept it. We see our daughters twerking and don’t see it as bad, considering everyone is doing it. That is where I start to get Uncomfortable. If everyone is doing it, does that make it any less sexy? This girl is popping and gyrating her hips in ways that are very sexually stimulating. Does this mean that based upon her age some men or women will not be swayed by the movements of her body?  Think so? Go to some of these middle  and high schools and see if you can guess the ages of some of the girls there. See how many girls are wearing high-heeled shoes and short skirts. How many girls are wearing shirts that show their midriff . How many have body piercings or tattoos ?images (96)  While living in Florida, I went to pick my son up from school and this girl was being sent home for showing her shoulders. Surprisingly, over half the girls in the school had on shorts or skirts that left little to the imagination, but shoulders were too sexy to see.

Being the nosy mom of teen boys, I was appalled by the aggressiveness of some of the young ladies in my community. They would walk around wearing nearly nothing, or make sexual gestures or innuendos. Quotes-about-strong-womenI witnessed these girls walking the streets, and was shocked that even I could no longer tell which of them was actually of age. I cautioned my boys, more and more, on the dangers of unprotected sex, and prayed that they listened. I began asking girls why they dressed the way they did, only to find out in some cases she was imitating mom. If this is the way things have become how far will it go? Nothing against teen moms, but when will this be taboo again? It is not that these girls are bad.Far from it. They are simply babies with babies. Can we at least agree on that? Can we also do what we can now, to at least change the image of women, so that girls can again play with dolls and not try to be Barbie? Can we make her comfortable in her own skin, before she starts showing it to the world? girls for womenThe mantle of Maturity, should be earned, in my opinion, not implied.  Let her be young enough to make mistakes, but guide her to understand why mistakes happen. Teach her to be a young LADY. Understand, that it will not be easy to raise an individual little girl, but it is worth every bit. Sure we will have to contend with the media and the newest trends in clothing. Parenting is not meant to be fun all the time. The time is now to remember that. We are the PARENTS. We are the mature ones. We are the ones responsible for our children. We can not shift the blame to Society because WE ARE SOCIETY. Sometimes the only way to protect what you value most is to go back to the basics. We only get a chance to be young once, don’t let your angel’s childhood be filled with regret.

It’s Not Cute… It’s Terrifying!!

little-girls-laughingWhat if I told you that our daughters are in grave danger, not of physical harm but psychological? What if I said that our girls are losing themselves before they have even had a chance to find out who they had lost? What if there was a way to stop this decline before it starts? What if we as mothers and role models have a hand in the destruction of our daughters? All of these what ifs actually can be thought of as reality, if we do not act now. As an exercise turn on your TV and try to find one show or commercial that doesn’t seem to show women as sexual beings. It doesn’t have to be overt, but how many reality shows have young girls that are dressed in provocative clothing, or barely dressed. How about the commercials? What about the internet?bad girls

On almost every social media site there are millions of women and young girls dressed provocatively or emphasizing certain parts of their body. If they are of age what is the problem right? Well its really not, but it can be…. Now that you have done that, look inside of your own closet and at your own pictures….When I did this, I was shocked by the number of sexy pictures I have of myself. I like to dress tasteful with a hint of sexy.529569_769119993118142_1211930667_n I own nearly four times as many high heel shoes as most women. I did not see a problem until one of my adopted daughters posted a pic of herself, dressed up and looking to be years older than her 13 years. I was instantly angry.  I kept envisioning how older men looking at that photo might not care that she was just a baby.why2 When I went to her mother, she laughed and said that I was being silly. I was very serious. Another incident was when another family member posted a message on FB telling guys if they wanted to see a provocative picture of her send her an inbox. She is only 16.

I became more aware  and I started watching all of my friends and their teenage daughters on FB.  I would see people posting pictures or commenting on different supposedly comical images about Ratchet females, yet some of them or their daughter posted similar pics.  I started noticing how more and more our young girls are wearing clothing that is super sexy or posing provocatively. little kids twerkingA 7 year old does not need to dress in the same style as her mom or older sister. It is not cute to see her twerking. ten_yearmodelIt is NOT cute to look at the little girl in this picture and not be disturbed. She is only 10 years old.  (This was a Vogue photo shoot by the way.) Pedophiles would be convicted and sent to jail for having some of these pictures and yet we willingly post them online without worry. We allow our 12, 13, or 16-year-old to take pictures  of themselves or we take them ourselves.

prom dressThe problem is not the clothes it is the attention these girls get that they may not be ready for.  This post is not about the men around us but the way that our young women are shockingly being made to appear so sexual. Having a discussion the other day with a group of people the subject of teens having sex came up. Most everyone agreed that teens were not mature enough to handle being sexually active, but there were some that assumed since they were teen parents, and turned out OK, then it was fine for their kids.  Here are some truly uncomfortable facts. “Teen pregnancy and childbearing bring substantial social and economic costs to teen parents, their children, and to communities. More than 360,000 teen girls give birth each year in the United States. One half of teen mothers do not finish high school. ” This was the finding of the CDC in 2009. That was not that long ago so that fact still scares the life out of me. This doesn’t just affect girls but also young men as well. How can a Boy go from playing on PS4, and watching cartoons to being Man enough to suddenly handle fatherhood? What if he never had a Dad at home to show him how? Understand that just because young Micheal seems big for his age and as if he can handle the weight of responsibility on his shoulders doesn’t mean that he should.  TEACH HIM HOW TO BE A MAN BEFORE YOU EXPECT HIM TO ACT LIKE ONE. dear lord

bathing suitI have said this several times and I will continue to shout if from the rooftops… LET OUR DAUGHTERS BE LITTLE GIRLS BEFORE WE MAKE THEM WOMEN. Understand that all little girls need to go through that phase where she is just that… A little girl. Not a little woman, not a young adult, but a girl. One that is allowed to be seen for her age and not her bust size. It matters. When I was a little girl, the first and only thing that developed were my breasts. I was a scrawny little ragamuffin but I wore a D cup by the time I was in 8th grade. I hated the attention I got from grown men. I hated that by the time I was in high school, some men saw me as a woman and the attention became worse. I remember that humiliation and turmoil that I felt and I fear that for our young girls. It shaped my entire self-image as it did so many others before and after me. It will shape your daughters as well. I understand that society is more relaxed sexually that they were years ago but the mindset of most of our young women is still the same. In all of my research over the years that fact has been proven, time and again.

grandma-grandmother-puts-in-some-twerking-big-freedia-twerkathon-world-record-nyc-dance-videoKnowing this I am imploring all parents, namely mothers please understand that our daughters are not us reborn. They are little individuals. A growing number of us are so busy trying to live out our self-esteem and image through our daughters that we forget that. I know that statement might make some mad but it is meant to. A lot of us because we feel inadequate, or have a poor self-image, delight in the fact that we see new opportunity in our baby girls. “Girls no longer look at their mothers in the same manner that we did thirty years ago. They no longer want to dress up in mommy’s clothes because mommy is too busy dressing up in theirs. Mothers are the first lady in each girl’s life just as fathers are the first men. As a mother the responsibility lumped upon you upon having a child is immense and vital. As a child a young woman does not have an identity all her own so she will look to the first lady for guidance. Starting young and spending that mother daughter time with your child is more important than most people think.” book cover

The statement above is pulled  from my book. I do not think that all images for teen girls is all bad but just the overly sexy ones. In the pictures above all of the young women are under 18 (except for the bad girls). If that doesn’t scare you enough think about how thanks to us as parents allowing some of these pictures to be posted online, pedophiles don’t have to look very far to get access to their obsessions. Remember that when you hear someone say it is not that bad. Remember that young Mary is only 14 and pregnant. Remember that when you see little Ashley twerking on a boy at the age of 11. It may not be that bad to you now, but I can guarantee you it will get worse.

Still I Rise….

Sadly not a lot of teens are even aware of who Maya Angelou is. Sure they have heard of her. They might have even read about her in school but they may not have had the same exposure that my generation had with artists like her. On Facebook a former friend and I were discussing what he described was his offense taken at a comment in a movie. I was a little taken aback, not because of the offense he had taken but by the ignorance of his defense. Being from the south, I have had the privilege of a first hand history lesson of civil rights in Alabama. Black history was not just taught it was required.  I remember in school each student had to do a report every year for February in which we had to  report on 28 different pioneers of black history. Maya Angelou was always one of my favorites. 

MayaAngelouTheMoreYouKnow     I remember the first time I read Phenomenal Woman, my mind was completely blown. I remember thinking, how proud I was to be a black woman and that I wanted to be that woman. I wanted to be phenomenal… I felt a lot different when I read ‘Still I Rise‘ , I was on fire! Whenever I felt down and out I would read that piece. Whenever I felt like I could not go any farther I reminded myself to RISE. I reminded myself that I was not a ‘Caged Bird‘. I was free and I could ‘leap on the back of the wind‘.  I so want that for our young women and men today.  maya 4I want them all to stop being caged by the media. To stop being caged by ignorance. To stop being followers and learn to be leaders. I want them to understand that they as individuals are too precious of a commodity, to be anything less than who they really are. As I sit here. I shed a few tears not because I am sad but in celebration of the life of a truly great woman. I pray that one day in time I can be the inspiration to others that she was to me. I want to be that one that inspires my little sisters of life, to RISE. Rest in Peace Maya! You will never be forgotten Maya-Angelou-Quotes-2

 

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou :