I was really discouraged and even felt defeated Sunday night after the Half-Time show. I couldn’t fully put my finger on the pressure point of discomfort so I tried to hash it out on Facebook. Which just flooded my feed with so many opinions that the proverbial line in the sand looked like a crop circle in an Oklahoma wheat field.
I stand in front of hundreds of students a week from PreK to Seniors. The most challenging groups? Sixth through eighth graders. Why? Because hormones, identity issues, peer pressure, and all things social media. Tomorrow I’ll be at a middle school and as middle schools go the subjects will be sexting, harassment, and cyber bullying. While talking about the legal and emotional ramifications of sexting between minors, I had one 7th grade student tell me that girls send sext messages because the boys at their school like to see sexy females. I asked her how she knew that. She replied “Cause. Like they don’t say it to us but they be talkin all da time about females on TV and the movies and who they see. They be lookin all sexy and snatched so we know they like that.”
Read it again if you have to and remember she’s TWELVE. Aren’t we trying to tell the next generation that they are more than _______ fill in the blank. The defeat and honestly indignation I felt Sunday was because I am face to face with these precious kids who think that to get attention they have to look and act a certain way. There’s nothing wrong with being wanted or having a relationship but if it’s built solely on looks and trying to portray images seen in the media…. is it healthy?
I know it’s a fine line to walk being a strong, confident, brave, beautiful woman who is both sexy and classy, showing she can be anything she wants and deserving of respect but also trying to bust out of the sexist box of society.
The defeat felt Sunday continued through yesterday and as I sat on the couch last night, head on my husband’s shoulder asking him why even bother going out there and doing what we do? Does it matter? How does our message compare to the beast that is media? It can’t, so we have to take the starfish approach. We can’t throw them all back in the ocean but the ones we can get to we will make a difference in their lives.
On an ending note. Respect doesn’t mean agreement. We can all respect each other and each others opinions. We can treat each other with dignity and not agree. At its simplest it’s respect but at a deeper level it’s loving all thy neighbors, seeing THEM, not their looks, bodies or talents but THEM.