by Tracee Sioux
Click here to watch my news segment taped today.
I had big plans for today. I was going to take three teenage girls to a Dating Respect Conference and help them to understand they shouldn't accept sexually exploitive or disrespectful behavior from boys and men in their lives. I was feeling empowered by the influence I might be able to have on these girls' lives.
Then my plans fell to pieces. My mentee had to register for school. My daughter got a fever so I couldn't leave her with the sitter. Kaput. I was disappointed to tell you the truth. I had gotten attached to the idea. I was as disappointed for the girls because I didn't want them to miss an empowering opportunity. I was upset for the people who organized the conference because they might not put on more empowering conferences if they get a low attendance. I was upset for myself to miss and opportunity to report on a very girl-empowering issue.
Then my local news station called me to interview me about sexually related businesses. I asked the reporter to meet me at the conference I had planned to attend. My hope is that my empowering girl message will reach an entire geographical area. I'll be on at 5,6 and 10 p.m. and I'm praying the message of girl empowerment goes global.
The issue? The sex industry and whether girls can find power in it.
There are two separate local issues. The first is whether a 25-year-old woman should be opening an adult store selling lingerie, shoes, books, adult toys, magazines and videos.
My response: if it's a store for consenting adults and she's going to check identification, then okay. I've purchased things from such stores and don't find them to be terribly destructive. In fact, I'm impressed that a 25 year old woman is bold enough to open her own business. More power to her. I can see where I wouldn't want her store to be next to my existing business, but she does have a legal right to be there according to local zoning laws. The laws that insist sexually related businesses be located 1,000 feet from a church, school, or daycare center.
I very much wish there were no women willing to be in pornographic magazines or videos to be sold. I don't want to legislate it, because I have a vested interest in freedom of speech, as every American should. I want to empower girls so they will refuse to participate in the exploitation of their selves.
The other issue is a strip club, which wasn't actually in this particular news story. But, I went to the trouble of articulate my thoughts, so I'll share my perspective with you. This is not the area's first strip club. I've even heard rumors about a pornographic drive in movie.
My interest is in the girls who dance. It breaks my heart that they don't understand that there are more empowering positions to be in. There are more powerful ways to earn a dollar bill than by have it thrown at your naked body. What concerns me about strip clubs is that the women who are dancing in them don't understand that they shouldn't be for sale. They don't understand that they set their own price and value. We're raising a culture of girls surrounded by sexually exploitive images that tell them they are for sale and they should be for sale. When girls stop feeling like their value and power is so limited then the sex industry won't be able to find willing participants.
Every person can effect this change in girls' self worth. If you don't want there to be an sex industry that exploits women tell 1, 10,or 100 girls they deserve more than to be put on the sale rack. Tell them their power lies within. Show them how to find it. Make them feel like they are worth more than that dollar bill. Make them feel like they are so worthy of everything good that selling their bodies won't cross their minds as a potential source of power.
In the face of constantly changing sexual boundaries and ever increasing ways for girls to be exploited, how do we change the collective soul of girls and women to make them feel too valuable, worthy, and empowered to be sold?
One girl at a time. Find one and tell her today.