Stop shaming our daughters into believing their worth lies in their sexuality

I’m going to apologize in advance that this post is quite lengthy. I do not feel like making several posts to make up all of my thoughts on this topic, so if this is a problem I am sorry. I just have a lot to say. If the title of this blog post is offensive, maybe you should back away from the computer now before I start throwing out pages of information and beliefs your way.

The other day I had managed to find myself sucked into the vortex that is YouTubeland, once again. I was enjoying myself watching strange documentaries about people who have interesting medical problems, until I stumbled upon this documentary:

After the first three minutes I felt sick. But I couldn’t stop watching because I wanted to understand, to try to comprehend such indoctrination. I, too, was raised in a home that strongly believed in the value of saving yourself before marriage. The point of this post is not to bash those who have made the personal decision to wait until their wedding day (or those who have successfully waited). I find them to be admirable to be so committed to a choice they personally have made. What bothers me most about this documentary is the disturbing fact that the highest age of girls interviewed were in their early twenties. And the choice of abstinence and virginity until marriage does not feel like the decision of those interviewed, but rather the choice their parents forced them to make, pressing them into the act of confessing their purity to the father of the house every year.

In my opinion, I had hoped that society had evolved enough to not require the force of parents to determine their child’s entire life. I guess I had forgotten that every where I look I see travesties like this one happening all around. As the media has altered perceptions all around, parents have begun working on over time to prevent their children from becoming corrupted. As Christians, we are called to be different from the world. There is nothing wrong with setting some boundaries on what our children are exposed to, ensuring that they are aware of the problems around them. However, at a certain point, as adults, we need to simply allow our children to experience the consequences of their actions first hand.

I firmly believe that my role as a parent (or adult) is to set my children up to live life to the fullest. To show them the hurting world around them and give them the tools to not only grow themselves amidst the turmoil, but to successfully help carry those who really just need a helping hand. Yes, there is a lot of evil in the world, but I do not believe that in order to properly raise children than I should feel entitled to put them in a glass bubble and ensure they do not leave it. Our children need to be built up, to know they are important.  We need them to feel as though they are the most special people in the whole world, and lovingly correct them when they need some guidance in life. I successfully consider parents to be like bumper railings. There are many bowling pins that children can consider targets. They don’t have to bowl a strike every time, there is some leniency allowed, but when things start to get out of hand, we are there to guide them back into the correct realm of things.

The problem I have with the parents of this documentary is that, unlike the bumper railings, they have set a strict guideline on their children and expect them to follow it to the T. However, one cannot be expected to never make a mistake, and not allowing for any error only allows forever-wounds to be created, for craters to be formed where they are not wanted. We cannot know the damage we bring to our children when we refuse to love them or accept them for veering off to the side a little in the path of life. For not bowling a strike every time they set a target.

Growing up, I was given a purity ring on my sixteen birthday. I had no plans of rushing out and losing my virginity to the first man I met, but I felt uncomfortable upon receiving the gift because I have always believed that you can guide a child to believe what you think is right, but after a certain point it is just time to let them run with the values you have hoped to instill in them. Obviously I don’t believe that children at age thirteen should be having sex. They are far too young to comprehend and understand the consequences if something goes wrong. But giving our children the tools of abstinence and not allowing them to understand what could happen if they fail to follow through only sets our nation up for rising rates of teenage pregnancy. Whether a teenager of consenting age decides they want to have sex or not is their choice, not the choice of the parent. Am I grateful that I waited until I met my husband to embark on this journey? Yes. But that doesn’t mean that is the ideal image for every teenager.

What I’m saying is, that if we fail to teach our children better methods of protected sex, we are failing to give them the tools to make the right decisions. We can tell them that we believe they should save themselves for marriage, providing good, solid reasons as to why of course, but we cannot make them follow through. They are bound to make mistakes. Are we going to follow them everywhere they go and remind them not to kiss, or hold hands or whatever we believe that stopping point should be? It’s simply insanity. Like I’m sure  I have said a hundred times, our job is to set boundaries and to hope they understand what will happen if they make the personal choice other than the one I have told them I prefer. We are set to be guiders, not commanders. Our children will not effectively listen if we force them to follow a certain path of behavior, they are more likely to either rebel or to only do it because “they were told so”. We cannot give them the proper background to stand up for what THEY believe and allow them to accept these beliefs as their own if we ensure that they know nothing other than what we tell them. The world will throw a lot of garbage at our children, it is our job to give them the tools to sort through that garbage, to make decisions accordingly, and hope they turn out the beautiful people we believe the to be.

Another reason why I become sickeningly irritated by the parents in this documentary is because this type of teaching is so blatantly patriarchal it’s disturbing. As far as I am concerned, yes there are differences in the way that males and females GENERALLY are made, but most of those differences deal with the way we prefer things, and are very stereotypical. Maybe a general mass may think one way, but that does not apply to everyone. That’s why I think that gender standards are too rigid, and I think that maybe they should be more fluid so as to allow for the people who don’t exactly line up to the ways the world thinks they should run the ability to be accepted, too.

Women and men are more equal than so many people like to believe. If we teach our children that one gender is inferior, we allow the slanted view that women belong in the kitchen and men belong in the work force to be perpetuated. And this is not only a disgrace to the fact that many women are born with brains and domestic capabilities, and to the men that feel they cannot show any type of quality that might resemble anything feminine. It’s not black and white.

This documentary disturbed me because these girls (one who was interviewed began going to these purity balls at age seven. Seven!! That’s extremely young to make sure they know about sexuality and exactly what purity entails.) attend the ball with their fathers. They dress up like princesses, are served dinner, watch a little performance put on by other girls, and do a little dancing. All of that is not disturbing. I believe it is sweet that the fathers would want to spend time with their daughters, to make sure they understand that they are valued, in every way. We all should make sure that our children feel that way. After the dinner, however, it gets freaky. There are forms passed out, and the fathers agree with their daughters that their daughters will remain pure until their wedding night. It’s not like these daughters have a choice. And the fact that the fathers seem to take their daughters purity into their own hands only sounds perverted and disgusting to me. My father does not need to ensure that I am pure by regularly having discussions with me about it. I felt as though some of the dads appeared to have too much interest in their daughter’s sex lives. It’s really not their business.

The film tried to state that the fathers simply don’t want their daughters hearts to be broken, for them to experience heartache because they found the wrong person to date. They shared that before a boy even was able to hang out with a girl he was interested in, the father would have to sit down with the man, hang out with him a few times, and then decide if he was a perfect match. In my opinion, that means that the father would be selecting a mate based on what he WANTS his daughter to date, that HE thinks would work, but that gives no room for the daughter to make her mind up about what she likes or wants. It allows no room for decision making on the girl’s part. In my head it sounds more like arranged marriage then courting. I believe parents should be able to suggest to their child who the right pick is, and hope for the best, but demanding that they can’t see certain people only allows them to want to see that person more. (Trust me, I know from personal experience). But also, it feels like some of the girls in the video got married quite soon after dating the first person they met. I’m not suggesting that we should all go around dating everyone in sight to decide our personal preferences. It’s such a beautiful thing when we allow our God into our lives to help us decide our potential future mate. And I’m lucky that I only dated one other person before I met my husband. When you know you know. I just feel as though there should be a little more leniency on the part of the parents for deciding who their children are interested in. We cannot prevent our children from heartache. It is inevitable. Even we give our children heartache sometimes. These parent’s goals are absurd.

Also, are the boys of these families taken to another ball and asked to pledge their virginity to their mothers? Do their mothers attend, desperately attempting to ensure that their sons are as pure as they desire their daughters to be? Or as much of society believes, are they men allowed a “free pass”, able to engage in sexual activity before their wedding day? I cannot even explain the level of irritation I have at a society that claims that men are allowed to have whatever amount of sex they want with as many girls as they want and that is “normal” but if a woman does the same thing, she is automatically considered a whore. I’m sorry, but where do we get off explaining to women that they are worth less than men? That men can do whatever they want but women should automatically be held to a higher standard. Pathetic. That’s what it is. It makes it seem that women are irresistible, but that women can find some means of self control. This only makes rape acceptable, only excuses it when a man cannot control his instincts but blames the victim when she “cannot find the grace to act like a lady and keep him from thinking of her in that way.” Ya know what I say to that line of thinking? Fuck you. Fuck society for thinking that way.

The biggest reason that this documentary made me sick is the fact that it makes it seems as though a girl’s only worth is in her ability to give her gift of virginity to her husband on her wedding day. This does not take in to account victims of sexual assault or rape. Girls who “mess up”. Those who do not find pleasure in those of the opposite sex. None of these things are taken into account. It is automatically assumed that a girl will naturally like a boy, will keep herself in good grace and not bring sexual violence towards her upon herself, and she will remain pure by staying away from any and all temptations.

As far as I am concerned, putting so much worth on a woman’s sexuality takes so much away from her potential as a smart individual, as a contributing member of society, as a brilliant being all her own, different from all of those around her. It places worth on artificial things like beauty, the ability to perform simple household duties, the ability to maintain the principles of motherhood. It assumes that all women desire to be married, therefore they should not deviate from the given path. I call bullshit.

I’m sick of the indoctrination we call America. I’m sick of the lies. I’m going to speak out now. I am going to stand up for what I believe. Always.

The Importance of faith in a “me-oriented” world.

I just want to take a moment to talk about the rewards of continuing to grow a strong faith in your relationship with your maker. I feel that so many times we are focused on our needs, that we become unaware that our faith desperately needs to be revamped. Our faith has the constant potential to become a powerful tool to move us in ways we would otherwise be unable to accomplish on our own. And while it is not wrong to ask God to help us out when we are struggling and just need some money to make it through the next set of bills, or to pray that will we be blessed with a new car that doesn’t stall every time an important day comes up, our faith should be exercised in a wider range of ways than our own selfish needs. Sometimes, we ask for things because we want them, not because they are a need, and that’s not always wrong, but maybe if this is how we think it is time for a perspective change of sorts.

I have been listening to a group of messages about this topic the last few weeks and putting into practice some life-changing beliefs about faith. First of all, I think that people sometimes fall under the confusion that says, we should do everything in our power to make our lives work out, and then when we cannot do something we should ask God for that item. More like “God helps those who help themselves.” The problem with this mentality is that there are a lot of flaws that come with that plan. For starters, we each are like horses with a pair of blinders on. We can see the path ahead, and the plans that we have made for our five year hopes and so on. We have the ability to know some things, to see some destinations ahead and to walk towards them. However, we cannot see to the left or to the right unless we turn that way, and in this we are prevented from seeing in all directions at once. God can see all things, forwards backwards and sideways. He  is able to know when a car is whizzing ever quickly towards us.

If we allow ourselves to only be tuned into our plans, dreams, and desires, and then focus on Him when we feel we are struggling, we will not get very far. He wants the only best for us, and I have a small feeling that when we do not listen to Him, all the time, He will do everything in His power to draw us to Him even if that means we have to go through some circumstances that derail us from our originally intended path. Do not be upset, because this is His way of ensuring we are not run over by the car coming towards.

On the other hand, if we step out into faith every single day, we allow ourselves to be opened up to His plan and only His plan every day. It does not mean that our path will be easy, it does not mean that we will flawlessly do everything He requests of us each time either. What it does mean is that instead of wandering around, hoping that our five year plan for our career or our family will work out, it means that we have now been given the opportunity to tune into the daily plan He has for us. Maybe that does not mean having children in the next ten years, but imagine how much different our lives would be if we had not tuned into that blessing? We might not be able to have everything we want, but there is an entire new level of blessing we are given if we our faithful, I promise each one of you.

Secondly, if we are consumed with helping ourselves, we might miss the chance to see the others in need all around us. I am not perfect, I often have selfish moments and I am trying to work on that. But tuning into the Holy Sprit has given me so many opportunities on a daily basis to connect with those around me and bring restoration to their lives as well. If we want to leave a legacy for others to admire and respect after we are gone, just think about it. Some of the most remembered characters in the Bible were faithful in every circumstance to their Lord. For Noah, there had never been rain before, and here God had instructed him to gather supplies and build an ark because the world would be covered in a flood–one hundred years later. Can you imagine the torture of being made fun of every single day for following the ultimate plan of the Father? Like I said, definitely not easy, but here thousands of years later we teach about his faithfulness. If he had been unwilling to listen, we would not be here today. Just let that sink in a moment.

Living a life that is faithful, every day, to a higher power can be terrifying. I was told a while back that after school was over, we would figure out what to do next. My husband and I had been looking at going away to school, but then some things happened that made us reconsider that plan after all. God instructed us that we would have something big happen after that, but we weren’t sure what that looked like. After a few weeks, I became distraught, not understanding why the answers weren’t clear to me right away. But after listening to these messages I felt His hand on my soul telling me that it doesn’t matter what I’m supposed to do, it matters that I am, right now, in His presence. The more time that I spend daily removing my focus on me, and how I feel, and place it on Him, begging Him to fill me with more of Him and less of me, the more that I am rewarded with the blessings of overwhelming peace. I was so stressed out every.single.day, and now, while stress does still creep up a lot, I feel rewarded with a much larger sense of peace in all things. Because I know I am ultimately listening to the one who not only knows me best but knows just what should happen ahead at all times. There is positively no feeling like this one. And if you are longing for peace, struggling to find it, please understand it is attainable.

I will write more on this later, but I hope right now this gave some perspective to chew on. I know this topic is not easy, but it is so very worth it in every way to delve into the promises that we have been given if we are faithful in everything. Even if we do not receive the fruit of these blessings in our lifetime, they might be passed down. But the truth of the matter is it should not be about the blessing, but the heart process it takes to get to the destination. Our lives will be able to impact the world if we allow the whisperings of our maker into our every day existence.

I have risen up from my past, and shine anew

So, today I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I was cleaning and afterwards decided I needed a break. I rummaged around and found old journals from when I was in high school. For most of my life I have been writing at all times, when it is convenient and when it is not, when I feel like it and when I am just screaming at my hands and brain to just give me something, anything to write. I sometimes wonder if I came out of the womb with a pad of paper and a pen, having used my nine months growing also writing of my experiences. Either way, God gave me an innate desire to continuously write everything I could down. 

As far as journaling goes, I’m actually kind of awful at it. I write, in all places. I have numerous documents on my computer, blog entries here, and probably 10 notebooks with different time-lines. This does not include the pieces of paper I find shoved in places with idea on them. But I’m really bad at continuously writing so I can keep up with more life events. I guess my life dream has been to leave a legacy on paper for others to read. It isn’t always pretty, but it shows my struggles internally through every major event, and through a lot of changes. 

Looking back on my writing I was flooded with memories of my childhood. I have done a lot to find peace in my circumstances growing up. I don’t know if I will ever be ready to completely talk about that. I just don’t feel comfortable because I know my parents had good intentions, that they never stopped loving me, that they did their best. But holy hell sometimes I struggle with that. I am so blessed that now I can happily say my parents and I are working on a complete and peaceful relationship, one step at a time. It has been wonderful. 

I can’t help but see how much time has allowed me the opportunity to grow. Mostly, I remember feeling extremely lonely all the way up until I graduated high school. It felt like no one wanted to understand who I was on the inside. Or if they did want to, they couldn’t. I was depressed. I laughed a lot, but inside was a tumultuous mess. I was constantly battling my needs with my desire to be liked and craved. The only thing steady about this whole time, was that for the most part I never walked away completely from my faith. I struggled, maybe even became angry at God a little. But I knew he loved me, that he had a hand of protection over me, and that some day every thing would work out. 

Healing has been a scary process. But I’m learning to let go, of a lot of things. Those things are allowed to be memories, but hanging on to the hurt only allows them to fester. Pain is not an easy thing to get over. It takes time. And sometimes when we think we are almost healed a scar is revisited and sometimes even re-injured and we must hang on tight. 

I might be able to open up more about this in the future. Right now everything is just a jumbled mess. I’m so very proud of where I am. Blessed to know healing has come. God has been faithful in his promises. And I hold tight to the knowledge that I have learned from my past, and will continue to grow as time goes on. I refuse to be stagnant.