Dear Little Sis,
I am a twenty-year old woman and I look at society and it disgusts me. I thought it was hard for me growing up being a girl, but I look at the generation that has succeeded me and holy crap it has just gotten worse! This is the generation that my little sisters are growing up in (well not so little, they are both teenagers now) and it makes me sick, and terrifies me. The incessant bombarding social media surrounds and engulfs you. Our society continually tells you how to act, what to wear, the kind of music to listen to, etc. We have put a price tag on cool. If you’re not in, then you’re out. I beg you, hear me out, this is not what is important in life. Disclaimer: this is an open letter that is targeted to all young women. Not just my little sisters. It is something I want them to read and consider, but I am not pulling specific examples from their lives. This is a general, hopefully helpful, open letter.
Being cool is overrated. It won’t get you very far. One of my favorite sayings goes like this, “Congratulations on being cool in high school, I am sorry about the rest of your life though.” If high school is the peak of your life, I do truly feel sorry for you. Yeah, I am sure it feels awesome to be “Queen Bee” but I promise you no one will care in your next phase of life. You know what is cool? Kindness. You know what else is cool? Compassion. You have the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on people in this world. Now that is cool.
Your body is yours and yours alone, stop letting people tell you what they think about your skin. It’s okay to be a Size 0, and it’s okay to not be. Be comfortable in your own skin. Stop spending hours in front of the mirror covering up your acne. We only get one life and you’re wasting precious time. If someone choose to associate with you based on appearance, they aren’t worth the friendship anyway.
Your brain is your most powerful tool. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. My favorite Cristina Yang quote is “Oh screw beautiful. I’m brilliant. If you want to appease me, compliment my brain.” I always knew I liked her. Your brain is your key to success. Educated yourself, enrich your life, feed your brain. Beauty is all well and good, but it’ll do you no use in the real world. Remember ladies, your education, career and money will never wake up one day and decide to leave you.
Your Instagram followers are not your real friends. MAKE REAL FRIENDS. My biggest gift in life is that I have some pretty amazing true friends. Those are so important. Find people who you can connect with and vent to about anything. Someone who will wipe your tears at 2am because you realized you have no idea what you’re doing with your life. The ones who hear you’ve had a bad day and come rushing over with ice cream. These kinds of people do exist. You just have to work for them. You have to put down the phone and be physically present.
Mom and dad know best. Trust me this is not their first rodeo. Whoever told you that it’s “not cool” to confide in your parents was sadly mistaken. I know society tells us it’s “cool to sneak out and defy our parents’ rules” but newsflash it’s really not. Following their rules as they enforce them leads down the path of being a respectable human being, and we need more of those.
Big butts and low cut shirts do not get you attention I repeat they do not get you attention. Well, okay they do, but that is not the kind of attention you need in your life. If a boy only likes you because he can see down your shirt, we need to re-evaluate. I know society tells us that super tight revealing clothing is the way to go but I am here to tell you it’s not. Modesty is the best policy.
“He is not the sun, you are.” Cristina Yang is my spirit animal if you couldn’t tell. This quote is so important. As a society, we tell women that we are not as important as men. A woman is to take care of her family and stay at home. The man is the bread winner. A woman is beneath her husband. Remember you are the sun. You are brilliant, you are beautiful, you can balance a career and a family if you choose. Your life is about YOU. Go live it and be the sun.
Stop trying to be like Kim K. Stop trying to be stick thin. Stop trying to be appealing to all of the boys. Be you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) Eat the chocolate cake, leave the house with no makeup, wear those sweat pants. Put down the cell phone and stop letting social media and society define your life. You have no obligation to any many. You are more than a sex symbol.
I have to call you into action though. We have to come together, women everywhere. We must start defying stereotypes. We are worth so much more than what the media gives us credit for. I am begging you to be a role model for your friends. Lead them to the truth. We must break this perpetuated cycle that tells us women must be a size two, with a big butt, and wear tight clothing. Please, reassure and inspire your friends that there is more to life than sitting still and looking pretty. I want you to live a fulfilled life.
Always remember, you is kind, you is smart and you is important.
Your Big Sis