Like most Mamas, I like to think that we empower our girls by encouraging them to ask questions, speak their minds, and think for themselves. But at the same time, we're competing with an onslaught of media messages that tell them that "girl power" really comes from the way they look and how strongly they can attract the attention of others…namely boys.
"Not my girl-child," you might say. But don't ever underestimate the pull of the hotness factor. Even the most level-headed girls can be influenced by the sexualized cues that surround them. You can see it in the burning 'tween need for lip gloss, itty-bitty padded bras and mini-thongs. It's also obvious in flimsy Halloween costumes designed for preteens (Little Bo Peep in a mini-skirt and knee socks? Which nursery rhyme book is that from?!). And since we're being honest here, I'm no innocent bystander. I've got a few tubes of $40 eye cream in my medicine cabinet, too... and I should know better.
So where does true power come from? Ask Kristina over at Mom on the Rise. Her beautiful post is what got me rolling on this Monday Power Trip in the first place.
In Warrior Marks: Part 1 (the Overview), Kristina reveals how a traumatic experience during her youth (her rape and the subsequent rejection of her claim by those who were supposed to protect her) morphed into angry, self-destructive behavior.
"Sex is Power and I would NEVER relinquish power again. I wore sex as knights wore armor. Rather than get close to some one, I had sex. I managed to detach sex from emotion completely and lived with anger ready to boil over at any minute." --Mom on the Rise
Read the entire post here. Be prepared to have your soul shaken. Kristina was eventually able to move beyond her pain and get the help she needed to reclaim her true power…the stuff that was inside of her all along. I met Kristina during my weekend at the Disney Mom Blogger Mixer and I can attest; this is a woman who knows who she is and is so at peace in her own skin that she gives everyone around her a good-energy buzz. Now that's girl power!
How do we inspire that type of confidence in our girls? Hell, how do we inspire that in ourselves?