Toxic Femininity

Femininity can be such a difficult topic to talk about. What exactly does it mean to be feminine? Probably the best starting place is to go to the definition. If you look it up on Wikipedia, this is what you’d find: “femininity is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women and girls. Although femininity is socially constructed, research indicates that some behaviors considered feminine are biologically influenced.” That all makes sense, right? Traditionally, femininity brings up visions of women in dresses or skirts, and/or mothers with their children. So how in the world have we gone from that to what we now see far too often: toxic femininity?

But first, what exactly is toxic femininity? Well, I was scrolling through IG the other day when I ran across the most insane advertisement for an upcoming show on Netflix called Cuties. I’m sure many of you have already seen it. It’s just shocking, even considering our culture. Perverted is to put it mildly. An 11-year-old girl is the main character who happens to be from a conservative family but gets fascinated with a twerking dance troupe of other girls. So she sneaks off to hang out with them and begins to explore her newfound femininity.

Wow. Ahem. Where do I begin? For starters, why in the world does a girl’s femininity have to be sexualized? I’m not sure that anyone could argue these girls are not being perversely used for others’ enjoyment. Kids their own age are not even recommended to watch the show, according to its rating! How does this make sense?

And the dancing. Can someone please explain to me what we are teaching our daughters here? Seems to me that the mainstream narrative of dancing provocatively and suggestively is seen to be OK, even at the prepubescent age of 11. That having cheeks hanging out of all sorts of nooks and crannies is fine, as long as the “essentials” are covered. Which incidentally is getting to be a smaller and smaller area, but I digress.

OH and the entire topic of hiding things behind our parent’s back? As if that’s something we want our kids to emulate?? How is any of this OK?

I just don’t get it. We say we want our girls to be respected by their male peers, and yet our culture is OK with dressing them immodestly and showing them how “cute” it is to dance while twerking. That’s somehow “exploring their femininity.” How are young boys supposed to respect a girl in their totality when what they’re putting before these boys’ impressionable eyes are their bodies on full display? Is that the kind of attention we want our girls to get? We complain about “toxic masculinity” and how men can be “dogs” because of the way some treat women, yet we dress our daughters like pieces of meat and wonder why they get bitten. This is the epitome of toxic femininity.

Our girls deserve better. Our girls deserve to be respected not only by others but even more importantly, they need to respect themselves. True femininity embraces women and girls for all of who they are, rather than just focusing on the external and fleeting attractiveness of their sexual bodies. It’s not that we disregard the gift of women’s bodies, but we honor this gift by dressing them modestly in a way that doesn’t draw attention solely to the external. God made us to be far more than physical beings. Women are also intelligent, emotional, and spiritual. True femininity embraces all facets of being a woman.

When children are sexualized at such young ages, is it any wonder that pedophilia and child sex trafficking is on the rise? Children have incredibly impressionable minds, and if they are shown that dressing provocatively brings them lots of attention and that’s the “normal” thing to do, that’s just what they’ll do. Forget the fact that normalizing sexual activity at younger ages leaves them potentially more wide open to STD’s, besides having emotional trauma. And hello, pregnancy? But whatever, there’s always abortion, right? LORD help us.

Biblical/traditional femininity is a beautiful thing. The women of the bible are shown as strong, such as Rebecca watering camels (Gen 24:17 – 19; just for perspective, 10 camels could drink up to 250 gallons of water!). There are examples of incredible leaders, such as the prophetess, Deborah (Judges 4). And of course, they are also portrayed as beautiful, such as Sarah (Gen 12:11) and Rachel (Gen 29:17). When we strip away the definition of femininity to something as base as predominantly sexual, we devalue the worth of all women and their place in our society.

I know that most of you reading this post will probably not be so foolish as to allow your daughters to check out “Cuties” on Netflix in a couple of weeks. But be attentive to where toxic femininity rears its ugly head. Because it’s everywhere. From Poppy Troll dolls to L.O.L. dolls to popular music (anyone else heard of W.A.P., Carly B’s latest? All you need is about 30 seconds of the video – it’s foul), we need to be vigilant not only to protect our girls from toxic femininity but to teach them why we do not agree with it. We are called to be holy because HE is holy (1 Peter 1:15). Our bodies are God’s holy temple (1 Cor 6:19). But if we don’t teach our girls these things, I know who will.

We must pray for our children. We must teach them Truth. We must hold the line.

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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