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Thank you, Catwoman!

September 25, 2014

Bristle – It is a word I’ve been thinking about lately as God has stirred my heart’s reaction. With three girls in our family, each with very long hair, normally the image of bristle means it’s hairbrush cleaning time AGAIN. Trust me! Hairbrush is much better than clogged drain, which my enthusiasm for the latter is equivalent to the bristling that is grating my thoughts.

I ran across this article, which resonated with my teen years and is one shared by most women. While my wounds have healed over time, my skin crawled when I was driving my kiddos home from school one day. Many of our best conversations occur relationally side-by-side with the Minnesota countryside whizzing by. Such was this day. Like an eruption, Girl Awesome blurts out, “Mom, they are talking about banning yoga pants at our school.” After a long series of questions trying to debunk rumor from fact, I assured her that  we had received no such notice from the school.  She explained that a young man told her in class that he went to the principal and complained that yoga pants were distracting him. He smugly told her that she and the other girls were going to be limited in what they could wear to school.  Keep in mind I was not there and I can only go by her retelling of the story, but I DO know how she felt.

powerless, devalued, second-class

Another generation of girls being told that they are valued less than their male peers!  Great! Exactly the conversation I wanted to serve on my platter of cookies for snack that day. I spent the time investing in my daughters their intrinsic value and worth,  simply because of who God made them to be. Honestly, I wanted to say something to that young man, but thought it might be wasted breath.

Before I get all kinds of comments regarding modesty, let me explain a few things on that. The point is not about what clothes any of us wear! Period! 

I posted the article, which elicited quite a response, on my Facebook feed. This comment I made below in the very civil discussion seemed to be one that resonated with quite a few folks.

In my mind leggings (that my girls wear) are the same as yoga pants in thickness, with jeggings being even thicker. I would draw the line at tights however which are clearly too thin to be wore alone. Hopefully that clarifies what we call those things in our home. (Example: Clo lives in leggings made by Carters that coordinate with their tops.) We still believe in modesty, and do draw the line at many things like swim suits. Where I bristle is exactly the point that L made about raising respectful boys AND not ones that buy into the rape culture of blaming women/girls for how they dress.

As soon as I posted the comment above, I remembered I have had this conversation with my sons. Long before the yoga pants debate reared its ugly head.

I distinctly recall having a heart to heart talk with Reed and Sawyer when the Batman movie featuring Halle Berry as Catwoman came out. They were probably entering 7th & 5th grade. I asked them why they thought she was dressed like that. I wasn’t judging, because frankly after having 4 babies, I wasn’t fitting into that leathery get-up, but I have always wanted to have tough conversations with my kids on how we filter the world. Finally they hit on the fact that it made her look “sexy” which had nothing to with the power that Catwoman possesses. It was a projection of her external features, but did not show a reflection of the real heart, mind, or soul of a woman. I never knew if the conversation had not only captured their thoughts but sunk into their souls until we had a group of boys over that fall from Boy Wonder’s class. As the leaves of fall slowly gathered outside the window, four boys and our two girls settled in for homemade cookies for snack. One of the boys made a comment about Girl Awesome being “hot”. Sawyer and another boy who has younger sisters flew out of their seats and told the boy to “take it back”. Dining room chairs flipped over like in a Wild West movie. I watched wide-eyed at the sink as boys were coming to blows over my dining room table. The boy who made the comment had no idea why he was about to get knocked over. After a few tense moments, tempers calmed. Dining room chairs righted. I joined the table and had a heart-to-heart with everyone. I explained not just what he had said was offensive, but why. In his defense, he had no idea it could be hurtful.

It wasn’t wasted breath, after all.

Maybe someday those four young men sitting at my table all those years ago will raise sons (and daughters) who will know respect is something everyone deserves.

So please, breathe thoughts, breathe respect, and breathe love into your daughters and your sons!

A few cookies might not hurt along the way either!

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 A small sample of photos that show the power inside all of us!

 

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