Today is your birthday. You have now experienced a whopping three years of life. Your recent logic of “I need two cookies because I’m two” or “I need to read two books because I’m two” has taken its natural progression.
We threw you a party this weekend and several of your friends attended. Because you are who you are, it was a “Princess Tea Party”. Each girl came beautifully adorned in a princess dress, and you all decorated crowns and wands and drank pink lemonade out of tea cups.
Okay, they were actually your Nina’s espresso mugs, but close enough.
As the party progressed, you all played with jewelry and other costume items. We even had a large mirror brought out so you could all look at yourselves in your pink and purple garb (yes, every one of you wore some sort of pink or purple. I guess that’s what princesses wear).
Just nine days after your birthday is another costume wearing event. And although Halloween doesn’t come until the end of the month, parties are thrown throughout the month and I see pictures of everyone’s costumes on Facebook.
I’m okay with Halloween and costumes and whatnot. There are others who hold to a more conservative opinion, celebrating “harvest” and not Halloween. And there are others, more conservative still, that ignore the holiday altogether. I can completely understand that, though I don’t adhere to the same thoughts, but this isn’t what I wanted to write to you about.
I wanted to share with you the reason that I glance at those who bypass Halloween and think to myself “okay, I can understand”. You see, people are more and more often taking Halloween, not as a “dress as something interesting/creative/scary” but are leaning more toward the thought that Halloween is the time to “dress overly provocative”. People, mostly girls, have come to the opinion that Halloween is the time of year that it is openly acceptable to dress in clothing that only their spouse should ever be able to see them in. Women’s costumes today are less “Captain Hook” and much more “Captain Hooker”.
Especially as a youth pastor, someone who is involved in the everyday lives of students that aren’t much older than you’ll likely be when you read this, I lament this. It seems as if self esteem is revolving around physical appearance these days to the point that Halloween is seen as an opportunity for people to sexualize themselves to receive praise. It seems to me that many people are caring less and less if others think that they’re worth an intelligent conversation and more and more if they’re worth lusting over. Being physically desired seems much more important than being genuinely respected.
I’m not going to say that all girls need to listen to or read this letter. Someone else already made that mistake recently, and the internet made the poor woman pay for her opinions. But this is what I will say to you, and maybe it’s a hopeless plea, maybe this world already has such a grip on the self esteem of us all that this letter will fall on deaf ears (blind eyes? You aren’t really “hearing” this…) though I pray that it does not. But, again, this is what I will say: Audrey Rae, never define yourself by sexuality. EVER. Every single human being on the earth, including you, has so much more to offer the world than simply a body. Sexuality can (someday) become a part of who you are, but don’t ever, no matter what society seems to impress upon you, don’t ever define yourself by your body.
Someday, I hope you can share sexuality when you marry an awesome, Christ-like man (that was weird to write, but I honestly mean it). But until that day, don’t sell your body to prying eyes for the price of false self-esteem.
Keep wanting to be a princess every year, they wear long, flowing gowns.
1 Corinthians 1:4
Christian, husband, father, and pastor. Also a proud and dedicated nerd. One of the dads at TheDadLetters.com and author of TheLivesIHaveLived.wordpress.com.