As I sit here during my son’s nap, watching One Tree Hill (again), I am honestly embarrassed by the way high school girls are portrayed. Don’t get me wrong-there are some strong female characters who have some great qualities, but here are some of the things I have an issue with:
- Girls referring to each other as “sluts” and “b*tches”
- Girls encouraging each other to have meaningless sex with multiple partners, to have friends with benefits, to lie to men to get them to like them, and to be “slutty” to appeal to the opposite sex
- Girls using fake pregnancies and sex as revenge for men hurting them
- Girls attempting to “steal” each other’s boyfriends/husbands
And that’s just in the first 3 seasons!
I don’t know about you, but I did not witness nearly as much of this in real high school as the girls portrayed on TV seem to have. Maybe I was hanging around a different, less sexually-active group of friends, but how many people can honestly say that the majority of girls they went to school with were this way?
Today’s generation seems to have so much pressure-pressure to be skinny, get attention from boys for the wrong reasons, have a boyfriend at an age when they aren’t even old enough to get married, and to be physical with boys before they are ready.
Girls, please stop giving the pressures that society puts on you any attention.
I am just one person, but let me tell you about a few experiences of my own.
I used to give into the pressures of having to be skinny. I was skinny. In fact, for years I was told I was too skinny and looked unhealthy and sick. Then, I got pregnant at 22. I stressed about stretch marks because people told me I should-I was told numerous ways to prevent them, and I did what I could to try. At one point, I started to gain 10 pounds a month, and HATED that. By the end of my pregnancy, I had gained 70 pounds. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people told me, in some way, “don’t worry about the weight-it’ll fall right off if you breastfeed” or “the weight will fall right off! You were super skinny before you got pregnant!”. Guess what: the weight didn’t fall right off, and I did get stretch marks. Today, almost 9 months after giving birth to my 9 pound baby, I am still 30 pounds heavier than my pre-pregnant self. Even more surprising is that my confidence level has skyrocketed since having a baby. I LOVE my body. I love my striped, stretched, flabby, loose skin and I have never felt this confident in my entire life.
Mark my words: You can look and feel beautiful in your skin, regardless of the number you see on the scale and the abundance or lack of blemishes and stretch marks on your skin! Now, read that again. And again, and again, and again until it is drilled into your brain. STOP feeding the insecurities you feel because you are comparing yourself to the girls around you or the girls on screen. Value the skin you were born in, and value taking care of it and keeping it healthy, but put an end to valuing superficial traits and appearances because you will not truly be happy if that is prioritized over your health and well-being.
As you know by the title of my blog, I am a wife. Before I was a Mrs., I absolutely hated the pressures of being “physical” with boys and behaving a certain way to meet the expectations of a girlfriend. If I’m being honest, I should not have dated in high school to begin with-I was immature, selfish, and nowhere near ready to put someone’s feelings and needs above my own. Of course, at that age I did not think that way, so I did date. What I found was that, no matter how much affection or attention I gave to my “boyfriend”, I didn’t meet expectations and putting more effort into the two than I was comfortable with just felt forced and fake. When I met my (now) husband, we decided to attempt implementing some aspects of a “courtship” style of dating in order to relieve ourselves of some of the pressures of being “physical”. While it helped, and was a great guideline for dating, those who knew we were influenced by the courtship structure of relationships added-wait for it- PRESSURE. If we held hands, touched each other’s backs, kissed on the cheek, people felt they had the authority or right to point it out in front of everyone and call us out on it. Of course, there were things we should have done differently, but we found that no matter what, there were going to be pressures in that aspect of our relationship.
Getting around the pressure to be physical with the opposite sex in the dating world is nearly impossible, but don’t base your comfort level on what you see on TV and in movies. Today, meaningless sex and premarital sex are highly glamorized on the big screen, but if you value waiting until marriage and you value saving intimacy for your spouse, then stand firm on those values! Yes, many young men will pressure young women to go further than they are comfortable with, but that does not mean that girls need to sacrifice their morals and values for the sake of temporarily making boys happy. Something I once read, in reference to Proverbs 31, emphasized verse 12 which states that a wife brings [her husband] good, not harm, all the days of her life and encouraged young women to consider their future husband before they’ve even met. If you consider the value of intimacy with your future husband, who may not be the guy you are currently with, is it really worth it to sacrifice that value by giving into the pressure to be intimate with someone else in high school?
Lastly, I’ve been on the other end of a girl trying to “steal” a boyfriend. Granted, it was a short-termed relationship in high school that I honestly should not have been in in the first place, and he was not a great guy, but still…it sucked. The one guy went back and forth between myself and one other girl, and we let him. When I was his “girlfriend” (multiple times throughout high school), I was in denial about how he felt about me and about the things people told me about him. I knew that he was still i contact with the other girl because I had seen proof on both ends, but I still stayed with him and got back together with him even after we ended things on bad terms. I fought for a relationship I had no business being in, and I think a big part of that was the feeling that I needed to compete with the girl who was “stealing” him from me.
The truth is, competing with other girls for a boy’s affection is stupid. It’s stupid, it’s pointless, it’s hurtful, it’s damaging, and it’s a waste of time. It ends friendships that should mean much more than “winning” a boy, it hurts feelings, it makes everyone in the situation look bad, and it grants the boy that is being competed for permission to treat everything like the game you are making the relationship into. It’s not worth it. If a boy is encouraging you to compete with another girl to win his affection, is he worth it? Probably not. It shows a lack of respect on his end, and it would show dignity and self respect on your end if you chose to just walk away.
In short, I hope that young girls don’t watch TV shows and movies and believe that the portrayal of high school and high school girls are truthful. High school is not a 2000’s drama series with 20-something actors and actresses with fitness coaches and Hollywood lifestyles sleeping around with each other and stealing each other’s significant others. Yes, these things happen, but they don’t need to!
I know that I am just one voice, but hopefully my words affect at least one person. I also know that not everyone holds the same values, but I really hope that self-respect and the value of intimacy is not completely lost.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of this world, talk to someone. Talk to someone who can tell you that what you feel pressured to do, look like, and behave like do not need to be made into your reality. If you don’t feel like you have anyone to talk to, you can even reach out to me. The pressures and expectations placed on young girls are unrealistic, and should not be held as a standard for your reality.
Thank you for reading through my long rant, and I hope my words make sense!
xoxo Mrs. Parry