Monday, June 15, 2009

Advice for little sisters.

Society bombards teenage girls and young women with implicit messages about how we should live our lives. I don't mean to contribute to that bombardment, but to offer the following words of wisdom as an antidote to some of the unhealthiest messages that we receive on a daily basis.

  • If a guy insults you, demeans you, or attempts to capitalize on your insecurities or vulnerabilities in order to make you feel bad about yourself, he is not worth your time. Do not flirt with him. Do not hook up with him. And definitely do not date him!
  • Any guy who revels in behaving like an asshole is just trying to distract you from the fact that he does not have an interesting personality. People who are clever and interesting do not need to be obnoxious or rude in order to get attention.
  • Guys will not always treat you the way you deserve to be treated. But they will often treat you the way you expect to be treated.
  • You are not a princess. You should not expect to be treated like a princess. You should demand respect and consideration, and in turn, you should treat others with respect and consideration.
  • Your value as a person is not determined by male attention, or lack thereof.
  • Being in a relationship will not automatically make you happier.
  • Being skinnier will not automatically make you happier. Being healthier might.
  • Your appearance will always impact how you are perceived. But it does not and should not define who you are.
  • Other girls are not the enemy unless you make them the enemy.
  • You are in charge of your own happiness, so live for yourself, not in deference to other people's demands and expectations.
Some of these are obvious and self-evident. In fact, I hope they are all painfully obvious and self-evident. But unfortunately, when I look at advertising and fashion magazines and celebrities and movies and television, this seems not to be the case.


Amanda said...

As you're little sister, I feel like I have to comment...Though I don't think that this is really directed at me, I hope, at least. It is good advice, nonetheless. While yes, obvious and self-evident, everyone needs a little reminder every once in a while in today's world and media.

Caitlin said...

As your older sister, I especially want to make sure that you know these things...but I hope you know them all already!