This last week I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at Trevecca after the showing of the movie, It’s a Girl. This movie is heart wrenching and actually quite horrifying. Learning about gendercide and being exposed to the real life facts that up to 200 million women and girls are missing in the world, 1 in 4 girls won’t make it past puberty in India and China and more baby girls are killed in India and China than are born in the United States each year is horrible. It is unacceptable and terrible.
We had to formulate a response to the movie and my response was…anger. I have been learning a lot about emotions lately and one thing I’ve realized is that anger can lead to depression or it can give birth to your passions and desires. This anger reminded me of my passion for gender equality and my desire for everyone (especially those in the church) to understand the importance of affirming women and girls.
The idea that it is okay to kill a baby because it is a girl is not okay and it comes out of the idea that girls are weaker and not as valuable as boys. This idea that girls don’t have as much to offer and are more of a burden isn't okay and it's an issue that is seen all over the place.
It’s an issue that on average women are paid half of what men make. It’s an issue that a girl can be told that her calling is wrong and she really didn’t hear the Lord speak to her when she shares she wants to be a pastor because “women can’t be leaders in the church”. It’s an issue that girls find their identity in who they have dated and if boys find them attractive. It’s an issue that women are viewed as weaker and not as valuable and if they are perceived as assertive and strong they can be considered a bitch. It’s not okay.
Some people say I’m overly sensitive, or throw the feminist word at me (that doesn't scare me...you can keep calling me that), but I just really believe, deep in my soul, that we were created equal, that God created us this way, and I hate to see such inequality. I hate to see women and girls devalued and this idea of a “weaker sex” to be accepted. From the fact that more girls and women are killed in gendercide then all genocides combined to statements like “you throw like a girl” all play into this stereotype and belief.
So…it’s not okay? So what? It’s easy to wonder what to do and feel overwhelmed. Here are some suggestions for how to be a part of the change that encourages and empowers girls around the world.
- Love yourself and remember who you are. We have to start with ourselves. Remember you are one who is dearly loved by God. Learn to love yourself for who you uniquely are. Stop punishing your self and critiquing your body or thinking you're not good enough. You are beautiful and wonderful. Know your worth and live into that truth each day.
- Start where you are. Love and affirm a girl around you. Mentor a girl and speak truth into her life. Boys (if you’ve read this far) this means you too. It could mean so much more for a girl to hear from a male influence in her life that she is valuable, that her identity is found in the fact that she is a child of God and that her life means something.
- Spread the word. After watching a movie like It’s a Girl we have the responsibility to spread the word. Other documentaries and movements you can learn about are Girl Rising and Half the Sky. Get educated and tell others about what you’re learning. Also, check out The Girl Declaration.
- Be brave enough to challenge the stereotypes. Stop saying things like “stop crying like a little girl”. Don’t accept it when someone talks about how a man would be better for the job because “he can be more in charge”. Really dig deep into scripture and the life of Jesus to formulate an opinion about women in the church rather than believing something because that's what you've always been taught. (Check out this blog)
Whether you agree with everything I said or not, think about it. Take the time to learn about these issues and form an opinion about them. Realize that we were all made in God’s image. No one deserves to be considered “less than”. Know your worth and remind someone else of theirs today.