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March 27, 2007

And they say there are no role models anymore

From the Washington Post:

Until I graduated from high school, I watched as friends and classmates grew more obsessed with becoming what in the 1920s was called the "It" girl. We all knew -- from magazines, TV and societal mores -- that to be accepted one had to be hot. This meant wearing the latest fashions, designed for model-thin people and showcasing as many curves as possible. It meant going to parties where one rebelled, along with everyone else, against adult restrictions and where one hoped to be recognized by the girls as having "it" together and by the guys as being sexy. To attain this status, girls did the usual: starved themselves, dressed "fashionably" and gossiped incessantly to establish themselves and, with calculated innocence, to rip other girls to shreds.

I was reminded of all of this by an article in The Post's Health section last month, "Goodbye to Girlhood; As Pop Culture Targets Ever Younger Girls, Psychologists Worry About a Premature Focus on Sex and Appearance." [Ed. note: We blogged on that article here and here.]

It is incredibly difficult for any girl or young woman to withstand the continual onslaught. I know it was for me. In the end, I was able not only to survive but to thrive in this environment because of my parents, my faith and my life experiences.

My parents' love and support were unfailing. They were there when I came home in tears because the pressures of being a teenage girl were too much; they were there when I needed to share news of something wonderful.

My faith enabled me to ground my self-worth in who I was as a person, not in what I could do or become.

And I was fortunate to learn from several guys' own lips that they valued modesty in women and admired those who had interior as well as exterior beauty. It took years, but eventually I internalized the reality that women's clothes send a message to the world and that if we want to be treated as people and not as objects, our clothes and body language must project true beauty -- dignity and quiet confidence accented, of course, by the latest clothing and accessories.

Read more.

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Jimmy Davis

During the 18 years I've worked in youth ministry, I’ve seen this trend of marketing to younger and younger kids…it’s getting worse. These people don't care about kids, they only want to make money. Sacrificing children to idols is still in vogue.

I’m reminded of Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” In order to teach our kids this truth we will be fighting against the tsunami of all that our culture says girls are to pursue: charm and beauty at the expense of fearing the Lord. Sure, you'll hear toy-sellers and pageant officials say that inner beauty is important, but they do not define inner beauty as "fearing the Lord" but rather as some Oprah-esque, self-attained strength of the human spirit.

My wife and I have had to fight against these things from the time our girls (and boy) were able to walk. As they enter pre-teen years, the fight is more fierce than ever.

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