Last year at Girls Camp, the Young Women of the Lehi North Stake had the theme “Arise and Shine.” (from the 2012 LDS Youth theme “Arise and Shine Forth.”) “All of our activities had to do with modesty, virtue, being kind and happy, all the things that make you attractive,” said Heather Griffin, the stake camp director. “So then we took the girls down to this amphitheater and said, ‘So we invited some boys to camp this year,’ and all of them squealed.”
It was then that this video was played, featuring boys from their stake talking about girls. They where asked questions like, what makes a girl shine, and the answers from these 16- to 18-year-old boys are their sincere answers.
I loved this video. Some parts were a little odd, but it was teenage boys, what do you expect? There are others though who are vocal in their protests to this video. They say it objectifies women, promotes that their sole purpose is to please men, and other sorts negative feedback. One boy from the video wrote in the YouTube comments, “I don’t want to cause any contention here, but I don’t understand what you are coming from. The goal of the video was to help the girls understand that they are all beautiful princesses, and shouldn’t ever settle for anything less. Trying to show them that they don’t need to be immodest etc. to be attractive. Trying to show them that they are pure, have virtue.”
In a perfect world every young woman would live in a loving two parent home, and have rock solid self esteem purely derived from a confident sense of self; immune to any outside influences. Sadly the reality is far from it. Statistically we are rapidly approaching a church where over half the youth live in single parent or mixed parent homes. (we already reached that outside the church)
A young woman’s self esteem is very closely tied to her relationship with her father. Listening to Dr. Drew talk to women with intimacy or addiction issues, about 90% the women were either abandoned or abused by their fathers. It is why Elaine S. Dalton’s talk to Fathers on all the things a father can teach his daughter by loving her mother is so moving. The statistics are staggering. Children in single parent families are more likely to get pregnant as teenagers than their peers who grow up with two parents and girls between the ages of 15 and 19 years reared in homes without fathers are significantly more likely to engage in premarital sex than adolescent females reared in homes with both a mother and a father.
Why is this comparison so lopsided? Dr. Erika Krull says of young women, “Without this clear daily influence of a father figure, she will look for other males to fill in the emptiness. She will seek the love, strength, sense of value, and protection from a sexual relationship. She sees a boy or man wants her and isn’t rejecting her, and he sees a sexual partner. Because she is seeking a sexual relationship out of emptiness, she is likely to make poor choices.”
The world is very good at telling these young girls just how to accomplish this too. I stumbled upon one blog post by a young woman dissects everything wrong with Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. It is part of a series she wrote about what magazines like Seventeen are teach young women. Or consider Victoria Secret’s new ad campaign for teens that contain undergarments that feature sexually suggestive slogans on the. A whole other blog post can be dedicated to how the world (and ultimately Satan) objectifies women and young girls to be sex objects for the gratification of men.
The Thoughts on Girls videos shows girls another way to get attention from boys. Positive attention, from honorable young men. They say they like girls with standards, who smile, work hard, and love God. Why would this be a negative thing?
With a young daughter on the way I plan to be there for her, to teach and to love her. But if tragedy takes me away or she struggles with self worth during those difficult teenage years, I hope young men like these are around her to support her in her standards. To let her know she doesn’t have to degrade herself to feel loved, because she has a Father in Heaven, a Father on Earth, and young Father to be who honor her,and want her to be her best self in doing what God wants.