One thing that my mother told me when I was younger, that I have always kept with me is this: No one will respect you until you learn to respect yourself.
Keeping this bit of advice in mind, I have always tried to present myself in a way that says, “Yes, I do respect myself.” I keep my hair washed and neatly styled, dress in what I consider to be an appropriate manner, and try my best not to speak or conduct myself in a way that would make others assume that I am trashy or unintelligent. These types of things are what I try and teach to my daughter as well. Whether it is right or wrong, people will judge you on the way that you look, speak, act, and who you associate with.
I grew up in a time when men treated women with respect and thus, I have attempted to instill these same values into my son as well. I have taught both of my children to say please and thank you, to say excuse me when they wish to interject their thoughts or opinions into a conversation, or wish to ask a question while adults are speaking. I have taught them to keep their elbows off the table while eating, not to speak with their mouths full, and other little bits of proper etiquette and manners that one would expect from well brought up children.
With this in mind, I would never allow my daughter to dress provocatively or in a way that entices other boys or (God Forbid) grown men, to think of her in a sexual way. This isn’t how I was raised and I certainly am not about to raise my daughter thinking that it’s okay to dress inappropriately for attention or because she thinks it’s sexy or what have you. In fact, I find it most offensive when I go out somewhere and see young girls dressed this way. There is no reason what so ever, in my opinion anyway, that a thirteen or fourteen year old girl would need to look “Sexy” for anyone.
I have heard for years the argument of “Women should be able to dress the way they want without the fear of being attacked.”
I do agree with that statement to a point. No, a man never has the right to put his hands on a woman without her consent. No, means no, and the situation doesn’t change that. A woman could walk down the street completely nude and while that would be stupid and inappropriate, it still does not give anyone the right to force themselves on her.
But, you also need to keep in mind, ladies and young ladies, that if you advertise it, someone is going to answer that ad. Is it right? No, of course it’s not right. Does that mean that you’re safe because of a moral code that each and every one of us should live by? No it does not. There are prisons full of men who disregard what is right, what is moral, or what is legal. Men who rape adults as well as children, and even babies. The best way to protect yourself is to not put yourself in that situation to begin with.
As parents, our responsibility is to teach our children and ensure their safety. Allowing teenage girls to dress like hookers is only teaching them that sex is how a girl gets and keeps a man, or that women are only seen as sexual objects. We should, as parents, be teaching our children that a good education, confidence, self love and self respect, as well as compassion are the key elements in becoming successful adults. A young woman should never feel that she has to sell sex in order to get attention or that she won’t be worth anything to anyone unless she’s sexually active.
I knew a woman who actually had the audacity to tell her over weight daughter that no boy would want her unless she “put out”. As a mother, I was appalled at hearing this. What message are we sending our children when we actually validate the need for sexual promiscuity? What message are we sending to our sons when we allow or even encourage our daughters to allow themselves to be objectified by boys and men?
In recent years I have seen such a decline in respect to women that it literally makes me sick. The internet for one has played a huge part in destroying respect and morality. Teens are not being monitored online as much as they should be, sexual predators are given free reign in chat rooms to communicate, stalk, and entice our children. When you allow your young teenager to enter a chat room, you are basically opening a window for perverts to walk right into your children’s room and have sex with them.
I’m shock at the level of disrespect that I have encountered online. Random men will send messages to women and young girls and ask them sexually explicit questions regarding their dress, weight, breast size, and fetishes. What ever happened to asking a girl out on a date, showing up at her house, meeting her parents, and then taking her to a movie and having her home by ten? Instead, kids get together now and send sexual text messages to each other or preform sexual acts via web cams.
For parents and young adults alike, did you know that if you are under eighteen years of age and send your boyfriend or girlfriend nude or sexual pictures of yourself that you can be arrested for child pornography? yes, even if the picture is of yourself and you are the one that sent it, it is still considered child porn and it is a crime. Is that something that you want on your permanent record?
Ladies, we all want respect. We want to be able to walk down the street with our heads held high. We want to be the type of women that our daughters look up and want to emulate. We want to teach our daughters not to settle for a man that disrespects her, or objectifies her sexually. Before we can teach our daughters or our sons to what it means to respect women, we first need to teach them how to respect themselves.
I hope that this article helps you all to see that you don’t need to be sexy or trashy to earn respect, in fact, no one will respect you if you flaunt your sexuality over your brains. Men will see you as nothing more than a piece of meet that they can use, and abuse, and toss to the side when they are threw with you.
Something that I always keep in mind for myself: Imagine yourself many many years from now, when you are a grandmother and looking back on your life. Is there anything that you have done or are doing currently that you as a grandmother would be ashamed of, or ashamed for your grandchildren to know about? How can you even hope to teach your children or grandchildren to respect themselves when you don’t respect yourself? Remember, everything you do now will affect who you are in the future, and you probably won’t be the only one affected by your choices.