An Open Letter to All the Little Girls and Women Watching
“And in that moment. She understood her worth”.
I have been working diligently over the past years to share messages of love, hope, encouragement and most importantly self-worth with women and teen girls. I wrote this open letter below over three years ago and it’s sentiment rings strong and true today:
Let me first start by saying that I am not writing this letter to throw hate or shade. I believe every woman to be beautiful in their own right. I am writing this letter to simply present the case that in all things, we have options.
This morning I woke up and began to read the news and engage in social media as I often do. Before 10 am, I saw several pictures of women who I consider beautiful creatures and very much influencers in today’s society that encouraged me to write this letter to you.
The first photograph was a swimsuit clad Kim Kardashian.
Kim was “giving life” and showing that motherhood is a beautiful thing. After having a baby and taking a great deal of heat from the mainstream media about her weight, I believe that she deserves to have a moment of glory to bask in the fact that she still looks amazing. If you ask me, every new mother deserves this opportunity. Here is an example of where you have options. In the event you wish to celebrate your body, you don’t really need an audience to do so. If you feel the need to share with others, you still have an option to wear something that looks amazing but doesn’t reveal all you have to the world. You have options. The ability to wear swimwear and feel good about ourselves is a celebration alone in a world that tells us that we have to be perfect. It is your option as to how you share these moments. Am I saying that ladies should not post pictures of themselves at the beach or poolside, “No”. I am simply saying that you have options.
The second photograph that grabbed the media’s attention was Nikki Minaj in true Barbie Doll fashion, giving fierce face and more than a handful of cleavage.
In my opinion, Nikki is one of the illest businesswomen in the game right now. She has taken control of her business and brand. As an entrepreneur, I can only say salute. Whether Nikki reveals her chest or not, she will still be a powerful force in the music industry and any other business endeavor that she touches. If you aspire to rise to the top of a male dominated field such as rap or any STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field, you have options as to how to get there. You don’t have to be naked to be your best.
It is without question that pictures such as these get mad love; but I have to ask: “What is mainstream media teaching our girls about their value”? Does our value lie in our ability to be naked? Do you only get more likes, fans, followers, love when you show more skin? Consider the little girl who posted her first “selfie” on Instagram or Facebook and is fully clothed; has society taught us that this means that she is not “turned up” enough? Is she worth less in today’s society?
I know that comparing celebrities to everyday superstars is like comparing apples to oranges but I still believe the point to be valid. Celebrities are at a heightened level of attention as they capture our hearts, minds and spirits with their music and contributions to the arts but I also want little girls watching to know that it is ok to keep your clothes on. It’s ok if you don’t earn the award for best twerker in your school. It is and should be normal to aspire to earn the highest grades and not the highest number of followers. The pursuit of your dreams has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to show your skin and everything to do with your willingness to work hard for it. I am not saying that the ladies above are not hard workers because that is clearly not the case. I am simply saying that this is not the only way.
Just know that things are not always what they seem. There are many ways to the top and you have to be certain to choose the one that will make you the most happy and that will allow you to be true to who you really are, not who the world says you should be.
As an adult, I have the option to filter the things that I want to receive in my spirit and into my life. As I continue to come of age, I have a much better understanding of who I want the world to see me as. You don’t have that choice. You are still very impressionable which is why I was so compelled to write this letter.
I write this letter in tears because I so desperately want women and girls to know that even though the media is only obsessed with you when you take your clothes off or do things that don’t speak to your brain power, this is not the true determination of your worth. You, with all your clothes on and all of your flaws, all of your heartbreak, triumph and ambitions are enough. I know you are watching the messages that the world is sending you but believe me when I say: ”You are enough”!
Just remember love and light will find you, not because you took off your clothes but because you loved yourself first. Keep believing in yourself. Never forget, in all things, you have options.
Ardre Orie, Author|Film Director|Advocate
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