Young Women (and Parents) in Rapidly Changing Times
It may have started with the Kardashians, but it didn't stop there. The term 'Instagram Influencers' wasn't even a 'thing' ten years ago, and now, there are 'beautiful people,' being paid to influence males and females in every area from purchasing decisions to what is and is not attractive, beautiful, important, of substance-what matters.
All of this is viewed through filters of course-multiple filters and adjustments made to contrast and lighting and shadows to cover up blemishes to create the illusion of 'perfection.'
While males do fall prey to this trap as well, perhaps no one is damaged more than young women. This is not new in that Hollywood and Madison Avenue have been targeting young women for some time through television, movies and magazines. The thing that is so different now is that this targeting is done via smart technology. If your child has access to the internet, the influencers have access to your child, and they are very, very good at what they do.
If you are familliar with the dumpster fire (no pun intended) that was the Fyre Festival (if not, it is worth looking up), you know just how influential and powerful these 'influencers' are. That festival was supposed to be 'Instagram come to life,' and young people were willing to shell out a lot of money for empty promises to experience a reality that doesn't exist, a filtered reality, carefully doctored to give the appearance of perfection.
As young women see these images of these supposed 'perfect' people, they are faced with a choice: try to become like this person in real life, which is highly unlikely as even the influencer doesn't look that way in real life, or try to create their own persona (for that is what is ultimately being sold here-an image, a persona, a meme, something that isn't real) to be liked or admired by others.
Measuring one's value and worth and sense of self by the number of 'likes' on social media is terribly dangerous. Our culture is sending very conflicting messages to females: it's okay to objectify yourself, but, as the #MeToo movement has also said, 'it is also wrong to objectify a female.'
So, what is the correct answer? Do you see the problem? Is a young female supposed to strive to be like Ariana Grande, Kim Kardashian or Kendall Jenner and then, at the same time, when a young man objectifies her, also claim victimhood? When all that matters is image, a person is dehumanized.
There is no sense of being an Image Bearer, with inherent dignity because she is made in the image of God.
There are other challenges as well for young women. Many are growing up without a father in the home, and many who do have a father in the home are not learning how a young man should treat them by their fathers. And, to compound matters, there is the fairly new trend of mothers seeking to dress and act like their teenage daughters-'best friends,' dressing alike, both buying the same filtered lies through social media.
Our young women deserve better.
Christianity tells the better story because it is the True Story: each female is an image bearer. Worth is not found in fleeting charm and the outward appearance, rather worth is found in relationship to and with our Creator.
Christianity teaches that women are to be treated with honor and respect by men. They are not objects.
Christianity teaches that life isn't about 'you' (we are not the center of the universe and shouldn't try to be), and once we understand this, we are liberated from the bondage of trying to gain more and more of the approval of others and rest in the grace of our Lord. We are free to live the life He has for us.
As secularism continues to become the primary worldview in our culture, as facts are replaced by feelings, as truth becomes personal and subjective, we must engage our culture with these liberating truths. The collateral damage that will result from these lies taking root will be profound.
The gospel sets us free. These lies create nothing but pain and bondage.
As we continue to build our ministries to children-youth to include parents and families, we must be Truth tellers, to ourselves, to our children, to our daughters.
They deserve that. They need that.
The Truth, Jesus said, sets us free......
Grace to You,