Bringing up Esther in a Lady Gaga World?
Are you a parent with little girls?
You need to understand this warning…..
They were young.
Maybe six and eight years old.
Sisters. Beautiful, with long wavy hair. Each wore an itsy-bitsy-tiny-weeny-bikini (minus the polka dots).
I noticed them because the oldest girl was about the same age as my oldest daughter.
Their family was sitting near my family, poolside, on the deck of the cruise ship we had just launched from the port. The music was blaring and the entertainment crew was trying to get guests pumped up and excited about the seven day journey they were embarking on. Congo lines exploded around us. A man was walking around making intricate balloon animals. And a laser show was beaming from the top observation deck.
My own kids were sitting on lounge chairs next to me, watching the festivities with awe and wonder. A popular pop song came on and I happen to look up at the two sisters. In a burst of excitement, the sisters ran to the front of the deck area and began bumping and grinding each other to the beat of the song playing overhead. I saw their mother rush to the front, and I remember thinking, “Go get ‘em, mama!”
But instead of pulling her daughters away from the spotlight and chastising them for the way they were dancing, she picked up each of her daughters, put them on a chair, and started cheering them on. A small crowd soon gathered and right there in the middle of the cruise deck, these precious little girls put on a strip tease show, minus the actual stripping.
I glanced at my own daughter, now splashing around in the shallow end of the pool with her two brothers, young and carefree, and my heart cried. For her and all the other beautiful young ladies in our community and around our world.
Because it seems that no matter the nation, society, or culture, our daughters are being manipulated into believing a lie. This seeping lie from the enemy is meant to strip them of their worth, dignity, and self-confidence. And ultimately it is meant to devalue them to the point that they themselves no longer see themselves as worthy of love. Real love.
The enemy may be perpetuating the lie, but we- society, neighbors, parents, churches, and communities-are letting him. We have let the innocence of our daughters be stripped away like pieces of clothing.
And it’s only getting worse.
We live in a Lady Gaga World.
Our daughters have been forced to grow up way before their time. We’ve let their childhood – a precious time of growth and discovery and innocence – be stolen from them. From makeup marketed to preteens and revealing clothing designed for teens, to the sexualization of girls in songs, television, and movies, the obsessive message of sex has been paraded into our culture until it now seems almost normal. We’ve let society and the entertainment industry define their worth. And their worth grows as their skirts get shorter and their blouses get more see through and lower cut.
I recently saw a video circulating Facebook that showed a group of young girls competing in a dance competition. The dance and the young girls’ costumes were closer to something you’d see on a late night show or a professional sporting event than at a junior dance competition. These young girls were wearing skimpy costumes, while gyrating and shaking to “Single Ladies” in a way that would make most adult women blush. I watched, horrified, as the audience applauded and cheered them on. These were little girls! And yet, if you took away their little girl bodies and replaced them with an adult woman’s body you wouldn’t have been able to notice the change.
The world we live in will not protect the innocence of little girls…..WE HAVE TO.
When our daughters are young, we protect them any way we can. We exalt the innocence of their youth. Parents purchase princess dresses and let them pretend to their hearts content. We buy them dolls that celebrate the unique qualities girls have. We design Lego collections that inspire them to be artists, writers, dancers, and builders. We tell our daughters how beautiful they are, how special they are and that they can do anything they set their heart and mind to do.
We try to protect them but the world has so much influence and it bombards them with sex, the power sex seems to have over others, and the message that sex can get you what you want and where you want to go socially.
The world shows them what is “normal”, what is “cool”. MTV, prime time television, and even so called family channels show that sexuality is the new standard. Singers like Lady Gaga, Niki Minaj, Beyonce and many others show off their “wardrobe malfunctions”, seductive dance moves, and very skimpy outfits as if it’s normal, everyday behavior. Male entertainers feature barely dressed girls twerking, grinding, and gyrating on stage during their performances. To be a female in a music video is to be objectified to nothing more than a show piece, something to be possessed, or a conquest to be taken.
Grocery store checkout lines are stocked with magazines screaming “Look at me!”. These magazines are full of propaganda articles on dating, popularity and even sexual education. Yes. That’s right….. A recent post on Teen Vogue online featured a how to article on having anal sex. This is a TEEN magazine.
We let them watch shows that condone, and even encourage teen sex, and push the message that sex isn’t about love but instead about being in control of your body because “it’s your body, your choice.” We let schools remove parents from sex education and allow a worldview of sex to be taught to our youth, a text that is void of God and His beautiful plan for love, marriage and sex.
I recently read about a study conducted by the French government concerning the over sexualization of young girls in the fashion industry. The study found that women and girls were sexualized 83% of the time in advertising, compared to 17% of the time for men.
We live in a Lady Gaga World.
Hollywood, the news, big corporations, and even the sport’s industry scream sex, Sex, SEX!
But we do nothing. And the lie has spread into every community, every background, and every family.
We have failed our daughters.
Call me “Old School”. Call me an “Old Bitty”. Call me what you want. But I will not conform. And neither should you, mama!
I have three princesses, daughters who will one day be the queens of their families. My oldest is an impressionable tween and I want so badly to hide her, all of them, from this message of deceit. Because I know the harm these lies can have on a woman mentally, physically, and spiritually. I have lived in those lies and carry the scars they bring. I want them to see who they are in Christ. I want them to find their identity not in this world, but in Christ and His strength. I want them to see themselves as beautiful, inside and out. I want them to know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made (Palms 139:14). I want them to know that they are worth more than any precious treasure the world could ever find.
But most of all, I want every little girl to see themselves through the eyes of their Creator, the one who molded them and loved them from the womb; who sees them even now and has a plan of greatness for their life. I want them to know that the God who created them, saw them as precious enough to die for…
Growing up, the story of Esther in the Bible fascinated me. Here was an average girl, a nobody, who won the favor of a king and rose to become queen. She lived in a society that devalued and dehumanized women, maybe even more than today. But I think the part of the story that we all seem to miss is that she didn’t just earn the favor of a king. She won the favor of THE KING. She was a queen even before a crown was ever laid on her head. The Creator of the Universe saw HER, in all her beauty and flaws, and decided that she would serve a distinct purpose in His story. She was worth more than gold and filled a role no one else would or could fill. He saw her. He loved her. And He used her to do something great.