What can we do to protect our daughters from unwanted sexual advances now and in the future?
This question is especially on top of our minds right now because of some of the conversations that are happening in our popular culture. Unfortunately, I’m not sure there is an absolute way to prevent this for our daughters. But I do know the most important first step in protecting our girls is to educate them about their body and inspire them to take ownership of their most private parts.
As part of my mission to teach kids about their bodies, I teach Celebrate Puberty workshops for young girls and each time I am surprised at how uncomfortable they are with the topic of their girl anatomy. Using anatomy illustrations from my books, I explain to them the structure of their vulva with its various openings. Most of the girls resist what I am teaching to the point of putting their hands over their eyes and describe their feelings as disgusted and embarrassed.
With just a little encouragement, they slowly put their hands down from their eyes and begin to take a personal interest in the anatomy illustrations. It is almost as if they realize they have entered a space where it is okay to study their body and ask questions that many of them have stored away for a long time.
We want young girls to feel confident
We want our daughters to feel confident about their knowledge of their vulva and the importance of protecting it as a special part of themselves. The more they value this anatomy, the more likely they are to guard it and have a strong opinion about who touches it. We don’t want them to cover their eyes and separate themselves from this important part of their body because they see it as disgusting.
Somehow, we need to help our daughters celebrate the fact that they are women and they are in control of the choices they make about their body. They should never give up that control against their will. It starts at a young age when a teenage girl may feel she must have sex with a boy to keep his attention. This is not the way we want her to think and sadly it starts her on a pathway where she believes she has to compromise her convictions to achieve her goals.
Moms can join in the celebration
I take every opportunity to encourage moms or other significant women in a young girl’s life to overcome their own embarrassment about this topic and join in the celebration. The young girls in my workshops whose mothers are more open and positive about their girl anatomy, ask amazing questions and display confidence in themselves.
Let’s inspire our daughters to learn all they can about their body and reproductive anatomy so they are ready to take a stand when the challenges come… and they will.
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