Empowering or Weakening Women

25 08 2007

Girls and young women today are under a lot of pressure. They struggle between what they think their friends and guys want and what they really want to accomplish in their life and how to get it. Women have fought and defended the freedom they’ve earned in the last decades, but that freedom has come to be more of a burden than of satisfaction in many cases. For one the definition of freedom and equality with me is being distorted and many times work against women and what they really need and want to be happening in their life.

I know the pressures, I was a young girl once full of questions and expectations. Deciding how to relate to others was a difficult task at times. Looks sometimes worked to my advantage but at other times against me. I could both be loved and hated with passion. I had my scare with girl gangs who wanted to beat me up a few times just because the boys they wanted liked me. I didn’t even knew the guys! Anyway, I was rescued by my mom everytime. Since I was in private school they would not open the gates until my mom came inside the school to pick me up in her car. I could see the mad faces of the girls as we drove by, “We’ll get you another time” they would yell. Thank God they never did.

Girls and young women I believe still want the same things we did; be loved, some want to be married and have kids but most of all they want to be appreciated and respected. Women don’t go from guy to guy thinking it’s cool, they hope that their relationship lead to something solid and long term but the way they go about it doesn’t help them get to where they want to be. At the end their reputation is ruined just because they didn’t take the time to say no and stand for what they wanted. To me that’s power! To have the guts to stand up for yourself and what you want and not to settle for anything less. But what happens it’s very different. With every failed relationship the girls take with them less and less of their shattered self-esteem and at the end they even think they don’t deserve any better.

I believe is time to teach our children how valuable they are and how they can expect and get everything they really want and need in life. I discovered and excellent book that speaks about this; Girls Gone Mild by Wendy Shalit. I think the topic is very timely and will help many girls get what they want. You can read and article and hear an interview by NPR with Wendy Shalit which is very enlightening.

I have a fifteen year old daughter and the things I hear her tell me about other moms it’s outrageous. It really bothers me because in many ways these girls and moms are influencing her in ways I really don’t appreciate. I’ve been called overprotective but to me protecting my kids is not a sin is my right. No matter how much they fight me I’ll be there to guide and protect them anyway I can. But back to the moms. How in the world do you justify parents letting kids 14-17 years old be out of the home at 2:30 in the morning. Kids today don’t do much, I can count the parents who involve their kids in sports, at least in this neighborhood, which by the way is upper middle class. It’s easier to get the kids out of their hair and let them do whatever they want with hardly any supervision.

I was amazed to hear that some moms were buying thongs for their daughters as part of their back to school shopping this year. What are they thinking and most of all what are they expecting from such a choice? What message are they giving to their daughters with it? I have a really hard time with this, to me this is adult undergarment choice and not for pre-teen and teen girls. Clothes are getting sexier and more provocative as well. You can be beautiful and get the opposite sex’s attention by wearing clothes that are classy and elegant instead of trendy and trashy. We need to teach girls that the clothes they choose to wear will attract a certain kind of guy and a certain kind of treatment and behaviour as well. Everyone wants to be wanted and loved but not for just a few hours or days, at least I believe that’s what most women want, and if they do they sure are going about it the wrong way. It’s not surprising that young women in their mid and late twenties are still waiting for Mr. Right.

I’m pretty vocal about what I believe and want in my life. I’ve been mistaken for a feminist which I’m not. I choose to enjoy certain priviledges we as women have learned to claim in the world but I know well the unique power a woman has and many times ignores. This is my favorite quote and it has become my motto:

“To be somebody, a woman does not have to be more like a man, but has to be more of a woman.” –Dr. Sally E. Shaywitz

By trying to be as men were are devaluing ourself and been treated just like them. I don’t know you but I don’t want to be one of the guys. I doubt that girls and young women want to be one either. Another excellent book I would like to recomment is Full of Grace, it helps women see themselves as the beautiful, powerful and unique creature God wanted them to be.

I believe parents have a powerful battle in their hands and their daughters’ happiness is at stake. If we don’t teach them how to obtain what they deserve in life and let them go with the flow so that they can fit in because it’s easier, we would become the reapers of their unhappiness. I know that no parent wants that for their girls so I encourage every woman to reflect upon this as they raise their girls. And to the girls and young women, look into these great books and try to look for people who can guide you in the right direction and help you get on the path to happiness instead of destruction. You deserve the best!

by Clary Lopez, author
Simplicity – Richness of Life



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