Take a gander at the magazine racks in the Piggly Wiggly. Half-naked bodies on magazine covers. Pop-stars dressed like senators from Planet Krypton. Reality television hosts with plastic hindparts.

I’m sorry. That’s what I want to say to any woman reading this. I’m just flat-out sorry.

The world is trying to squash you like an albino cockroach, and you deserve an apology.

Today’s modern female is expected to be a walking-talking industrialized domestic machine.

If she’s not busy bathing toddlers, dropping kids at soccer, or changing her own transmission fluid, she’s supposed to be planning a three-course supper, scrubbing dirty underwear, learning a foreign language, or making her living room fit for HGTV.

She must be a certain size, weight, width, she must have a gym membership, a midsection stronger than most outboard motors, tight underarms, young-looking hands, perfect teeth, slender neck, soft-spoken voice, no gray hairs, no eye wrinkles, and the amiable disposition of Princess Grace of Monaco.

I’m even sorrier for young girls.

Not that it matters what I think, but I believe television and magazines are trying to ruin females.

Take a gander at the magazine racks in the Piggly Wiggly. Half-naked bodies on magazine covers. Pop-stars dressed like senators from Planet Krypton. Reality television hosts with plastic hindparts.

Anyway, the reason I am writing this is because of my friend’s daughter. Her name is not important. But let’s call her, Little Miss Alabama.

She is in seventh grade, top of her class. An athlete, a social butterfly, a horseback rider, fluent in Spanish, math wiz, funny, kindhearted, and well-loved.

Miss Alabama has dreams of attending Auburn University, she wants to study zoology, she is pretty, has brown hair, blue eyes, flawless health.

She has aided in the birth of exactly three colts. She can spit farther than any boy, and cook just as well as granny alive. I know this; I have eaten her biscuits.

And she hates herself.

Well, not her SELF, exactly. But she hates her body. She thinks she’s too fat, and she’s disgusted with her own reflection.

Well son of a biscuit.

Who told females they had to be USDA-approved and ninety-eight percent lean? Who in the H-E-Double-Cuss said beauty had anything to do with dress sizes?

Look, I have no right to talk about things I don’t understand. I’m not a woman—you might’ve noticed. But I do cry at “Steel Magnolias” so hard I have to pause it after Shelby’s funeral. And that counts for something.

And, I am a person, by God. I don’t like what people are doing to other people.

I don’t like underwear commercials. I don’t care for celebrities that People Magazine says I should care about.

And when I hear about my friend’s thirteen-year-old girl who believes herself to be—in her own words—“ugly, and fat,” it is an affront to my human-hood.

The voices on TV are too loud. They tell girls who they should be, what they should do, how they should think, what their den should look like, how their waistline should appear, what they should eat, and what they should feel.

There are too many voices talking to our women.

So here’s one more:

This world owes you an apology.

56 comments

  1. Susan Victoria - June 24, 2017 2:01 pm

    Bless you Sean. I am almost 65 and still fretting over the scales every morning even though I weigh the same as I did in High school. And still trying for Perfection whatever that is. You’re right. We’re brainwashed. Thanks to male dominated media of every kind. Not bitter just a fact.

    Reply
    • Kathryn - June 30, 2017 5:55 pm

      Dear Susan, throw those scales away and don’t look back!

      Reply
  2. Sam Hunneman - June 24, 2017 2:07 pm

    Amen and amen.

    Reply
  3. Connie - June 24, 2017 2:19 pm

    Amen. I’m 62 years old and I’m so self conscious of my looks that I refused to take pictures with my kids for years. I try to get a few now, but I still don’t show them to anyone. I’ve been divorced 6 years, and don’t even think about dating-I’m too fat, too old, too gray, too everything to fit the mold of what I’m “supposed” to be. Of course, I’m a decent person, with an old fashioned attitude about love and commitment; I love to cook and go fishing and work in my yard. I’m a good mom and active in my community. But that’s not enough, because nobody looks past my outside to see the inside. Thankfully, I’ve raised 3 girls, all wonderful, smart, self confident women, so I did a lot right. Thank you for putting your words out there. I love reading them.

    Reply
    • Karli - August 13, 2017 3:00 pm

      I’m 62 as well and I’m NOT skinny. I am however happy in my skin! I love life; talking and being with people and have never had any trouble getting a date . I was divorced when I was 50 and a few years later I met and married the absolute love of my life. I wasn’t skinny then and I’m not skinny now! I let go of the notion that a woman has to be skinny to be sexy. My husband is a lovely bright sexy man. If I could share one thing.. let go of those feelings of inadequacy and throw off those inhibitions so you can live a happy free life!! Life isn’t about size it’s about love and caring and giving! I wish you joy and freedom from others opinions!

      Reply
  4. Nina - June 24, 2017 2:25 pm

    Thanks for the word this morning Sean. Timing couldn’t have been better. You don’t have to be young for this to apply. I listen to how disappointed my husband is about my weight ….. 24 years . My self worth is at zero.
    I was a size 4 (which he reminded me) when we married and now 12-14.
    He start riding me about my weight when I my weight was 114.
    I work harder than most women you know . Truly. I lack motivation to do anything anymore about my weight because the bar set on me over the years has been a moving target.
    I really didn’t know anything was wrong with the way I looked until I married him.

    Reply
    • June Stefanko - August 13, 2017 2:12 pm

      Nina…lose him and you will lose all the weight you need to lose. That is emotional abuse.

      Reply
    • Stacey - August 13, 2017 2:43 pm

      Nina,
      I’m going to be blunt. You are being abused. I pray that you will get out of this toxic relationship and heal yourself. What he is doing is wrong. You have the right to be treated with respect, dignity, and love. The national domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-7233

      Reply
    • Erica - August 13, 2017 5:35 pm

      I agree that this is emotional abuse. I also bet that HE isn’t the same weight and doesn’t look exactly like he did when you married him, either….pot to kettle.

      Reply
  5. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - June 24, 2017 2:26 pm

    Sean, no need to apologize! I hope I can share these wonderful words to my friends. I’m the mother of a daughter and 2 sons. Not only are we ruining our daughters but what feminists are doing to boys should be considered a crime. Girls should be girls and boys should be boys! Let them grow up like God intended them to — I wish everyone would stop trying to change nature and then call it natural. It should be a crime.

    Reply
  6. Beverly Mathias - June 24, 2017 2:29 pm

    Absolutely true! Who makes these standards? No God. He created us. We are his masterpiece.

    Reply
  7. Sandra Blazynski - June 24, 2017 2:41 pm

    The parents of every pre-adolescent girl should read the book, “Reviving Ophelia”. It’s all about how young girls who have had a promising childhood become appearance and boy-obsessed by the time they’re 11 or 12. Most importantly, it’s about how to save them from giving themselves away.

    Reply
  8. Susan Fox - June 24, 2017 2:45 pm

    Dear Sean,
    I am with Susan Victoria and Connie; I’m 66, and it took me until 60 to finally accept myself as a beloved daughter of God. Your little friend can be reassured, by the responses here, that she is a beautiful young woman, unique in the eyes of God, with talents and qualities others do not possess.

    When someone comes along who appreciates and loves her for her qualities, her character, her mind and her own special beauty, that will be the person with whom she can trust enough to share her heart, her thoughts and her life.

    Please tell her this from all of us who no one ever told.

    Reply
  9. Dana - June 24, 2017 2:58 pm

    I’m with Connie, still hit the scale first thing in the morning, shy of photos because at 70 I have wrinkles and smile lines/small sad ones too. I refuse to have plastic surgery/botox or any of the other fixes, but I am certainly unsure and uncertain of myself and my looks. Pretty sad.

    Reply
  10. Sandra Blazynski - June 24, 2017 2:59 pm

    For boys, parents should read “Real Boys” by William Pollack.

    It’s high time we all pay attention to the effects this culture of ours had had on limiting the inner, emotional lives of boys as well.

    Reply
  11. Steve Welch - June 24, 2017 3:23 pm

    Once again you put into words that make common sense some of my own thoughts. I look forward each day to your posts, and just bought two more of your books. Keep writing so I have some good for a change to share with my friends.

    Reply
  12. Jan - June 24, 2017 3:34 pm

    As a (long ago) former ‘fat and ugly’ female, Thank You! As a current almost 70 year old grandmother, Thank You!

    Reply
  13. paula jones - June 24, 2017 3:34 pm

    Amen, and amen.

    Reply
  14. Michele Bailey - June 24, 2017 3:49 pm

    Sean
    I am raising three sons and I feel the world is telling them a similar lie. That to be a man, to embrace their natural inclinations to be rambunctious, a little wild, rough house, be boys, to want to be outside, hunt, fish, yet have good manners, treat women with respect, isn’t the way they are supposed to act anymore. As a southern mom, I am doing my best to raise good boys who will become good men with family values and a strong work ethic, but it isn’t reenforced in their peer groups much or by the world at large. I know they feel less than too at times, that media is also telling them what they should be, that girls should look like the magazines which isn’t so, that they should be given things, new phones and such, in fact are entitled it takes adults many hours to earn and afford. It’s a struggle no matter whether you raise boys or girls these days. People just need to be better to people.

    Reply
  15. ione lowrey - June 24, 2017 3:53 pm

    AMEN TO EVERY WORD OF THIS MESSAGE !!!! Thank you so much for your truthful observations. And I hope you never stop crying when the “Shelbys” of our world pass from us. I lost one.

    Reply
  16. Dru - June 24, 2017 4:01 pm

    Amen. And add to that, the necessity of dyed hair. God chose hair color to harmonize with skin and eye color. Who is a better artist than He? I love seeing the beautiful undyed hair and cosmetic-free complexions in the west of Ireland. Covering gray is a way to hold onto something, but all young girls have naturally beautiful hair. Media should say, genuine is beautiful. You are loved. The world is yours.

    Reply
  17. Kathy Daum - June 24, 2017 4:29 pm

    Hooray! I worked so hard with my girls. And they still struggle, and I still struggle. We need to hear this over and over.

    Reply
  18. Cathi Russell - June 24, 2017 4:45 pm

    Preach on, brother. The saddest thing I ever heard a woman say is “I wish I was still the same size I was back when I thought I was fat” and it’s true. We spend money, time & sleepless nights trying to emulate women in magazines, etc. who don’t look like that in real life either. I’m happy with who I am and (mostly) how I look…and it only took me 56 years to get there!

    Reply
  19. Debi - June 24, 2017 5:12 pm

    You are spot on, Sean. Spot on. It’s always been funny, not in a good way, to me when people make degrading remarks about women at the beach, there with their children, trying to enjoy their time. Then a man strolls by looking 32 months pregnant in a swimsuit that barely covers his “manhood” and no one blinks an eye. Double standard. Ugh.

    Reply
  20. Linda Edwards - June 24, 2017 5:14 pm

    Thank you from this overweight 71 year old grandmother that NEVER quite measured up to the world’s standard for women! I’m much too old to care now but I once did and it hurt. My prayer is that a lot of young girls, young mothers, etc., read your comments and lighten up on themselves.

    Reply
  21. mary cude - June 24, 2017 5:34 pm

    A million THANK YOUS!!!!

    Reply
  22. Toni Alphord - June 24, 2017 6:20 pm

    Thank you, from the mother of three grown daughters and five granddaughters!

    Reply
  23. Sandra Lee Van Dam - June 24, 2017 6:37 pm

    A great message! Tell her she’s perfect just as.

    Reply
  24. Dominica deBrauwere - June 24, 2017 8:04 pm

    Thank you. So true.

    Reply
  25. Myrick - June 24, 2017 8:10 pm

    Really, really loved this one. As a 15 year old girl myself, I know just how hard it is being a high school girl in today’s society. Thanks for this, Sean.

    Reply
  26. Terri Bryson - June 24, 2017 8:13 pm

    I had to post this to facebook. Thank you for writing it. I think young men also get some of this. In some places if they don’t play or love football they are nobody. There’s probably other things as well that are inflicted on young people. Are we all forgetting our human-hood? Good to get reminders.

    Reply
  27. Bobbie - June 24, 2017 9:41 pm

    Thank you, Sean, from all the “thirteen year olds” and their past “ghosts”.

    Reply
  28. Joyce Hilburn - June 24, 2017 11:31 pm

    Yes!

    Reply
  29. Jeannie - June 25, 2017 12:31 am

    You speak the truth!!

    Reply
  30. Juanita Ruth One - June 25, 2017 12:46 am

    Thank you, Sean, for your comments on the damage that today’s media does to the female psyche! The other side of this shameful coin is what society does to little boys by denying the right to feel ANY emotion other than anger! (“Big boys don’t cry!”) Then we wonder why men are so frequently angry and turn to violence (especially against women).
    The truth is that our emotions (E-motion = energy in motion) are a built-in guidance system which give us feedback on how well we are living our lives. When what we are thinking, saying and doing is NOT in line with our soul’s purpose for being here, we experience the emotions we label “negative”. But when we get back “on target” then we experience the so-called positive emotions. So, it is important for us to pay attention to how we are feeling and respond accordingly. THANKS again for your daily inspirational insights!

    Reply
  31. Vevia - June 25, 2017 1:08 am

    AND…they are more and more becoming the “breadwinners” in the family.

    Reply
  32. Linda Brown - June 25, 2017 1:44 am

    Love this one!😀

    Reply
  33. Michael Hawke - June 25, 2017 2:57 am

    Ready for you to be in the Oval Office.

    Reply
  34. Bob McGhee - June 25, 2017 12:41 pm

    I, too, want to apologize, even though I haven’t been a contributor to the problem. It’s blatantly disgusting.
    Women carry much of the world’s weight at a painfully high price, and you have pointedly reminded us that the return on her investment is too often in negative numbers. It’s blatantly disgusting.
    Media content and corresponding attitudes aimed at girls and women, boys and men, continue to be beyond the pale. It’s blatantly disgusting.
    Beautiful lives are interrupted, lost and sometimes never recovered. Self worth has become dependent upon someone else’s perverted interpretation of what is normal, admirable, worthy. It’s blatantly disgusting.
    And I continue to be sorry.

    Reply
  35. Michael Bishop - June 25, 2017 3:35 pm

    Ditto, many many times. Thank you.

    Reply
  36. K. Coxwell - June 25, 2017 8:50 pm

    As the mother of a former amorexic daughter who struggled for years until she found the right counselor, I wish your essay today could be copied and passed out at every middle school, junior high and high school in the country! Children grow up before they are ready to handle being grown. Body image is driving young girls to unhealthy lifestyles.
    Both sexes are confused about so many things, yet feel they have to project that macho man or runway sex symbol whether they feel like that or not.
    Thank you for all your wise and eloquent writings!

    Reply
  37. Linda - June 25, 2017 11:27 pm

    So very well stated. Girls especially need to be content with themselves! It is not taught it is learned over trial and time.

    Reply
  38. Sylvia Lawing - June 26, 2017 2:44 am

    I met the love of my life when I was in my 50’s. I had been unhappily married for almost 20 years. That man made me feel ugly,stupid and fat, at 110 lbs. After divorcing him I was so damaged that I did get fat -on purpose. I went up to a size 18. I wore my hair in a severe bun,no make-up. I looked at the ground trying to find a place to hide and not be noticed. I felt less than whole. I hid from life for 14 years. I did not date. I had absolutely no use for men.Then God brought the perfect man into my life. He saw what I could not see in myself. I owe that man my life. He taught me that I was indeed beautiful,smart and perfect for him. I will never forget the lessons he taught me. The most important was this piece of information…..When God created you and made you a woman, that was a gift. You are special and made to be cared for. You deserve respect and protection. You are entitled to it simply by birth. I cared for him through Parkinson’s,dementia and eventually blindness. It was my honor to share his life to the very end. I cared for him even as I fought cancer. He never stopped caring for me. In the last days when I was ugly by the world’s standards-sick,emaciated,weary,haggard, frumpy and frazzled by lack of rest…… he loved me the same. He often said- Honey, you look so pretty in that dress and your hair is so beautiful-He had been blind for two years. He still could see the beauty in what another man had dismissed. Love sees what it likes best and lets the rest go.

    Reply
  39. Marsha Hammac - June 26, 2017 11:14 am

    You write exactly what the whole world needs to hear.

    Reply
  40. Regina - June 29, 2017 1:06 am

    Thank you!

    Reply
  41. Jody Snow - July 3, 2017 1:17 am

    Thank you.

    Reply
  42. Doc - August 13, 2017 8:56 am

    Threw the television away at age 36, and the scales away in my 20s…still don’t miss either one! Watched one grandmother wear a girdle and use laxatives most of her life; both an abomination. Have a beautiful mama that loves to bake who got down to a horribly thin size 6 due to breast cancer. Praise God, she’s no longer so (thin)! When she says anything about weighing too much, I hug her and tell her it’s her badge of honor for being a mother, which I’m not…yet. Then, we go for a walk. I’ve watched my grandmother’s generation struggle. I hear the voices that say I’m too heavy at 5’7″ 160lbs, but I focus instead on being healthy. I’ve given up sweet tea, but by George, this Southern girl is gonna eat some biscuits and cream gravy on occasion, and that’s ok! I know God loves me, and I want to live a long, productive life serving Him. Tell that Sweet Miss Alabama that I have three sweet nieces. Their mamas have taught them to love what’s on the inside. Two of them want to be veterinarians; and one of them is gunning for the University of Alabama. They may be football rivals, but she’d be a genuinely loved and accepted friend. And those are the voices we all need speaking in our ears! Beautiful piece, Brother Sean!

    Reply
  43. Dianne - August 13, 2017 11:16 am

    Thank you Sean for speaking up for women.

    Reply
  44. Ben smith - August 13, 2017 12:47 pm

    Awesome. That’s a fact. Really a man that works hard in 90 plus heat is not a pretty man.
    Let’s hope its love .Real men aren’t pretty. Let’s just hope we clean up and are good old handsome men at the end of the day. God Bless you

    Reply
  45. Deanna J - August 13, 2017 1:02 pm

    My niece was crushed yosterday by a piece of trash! People need to grow up!

    Reply
  46. Steve - August 13, 2017 2:00 pm

    The curious thing about this is that more often than not it’s women telling other women these things.

    Reply
  47. Kathy C - August 13, 2017 2:24 pm

    WOW….preach it from the mountain top. At 66 , I’m still trying to get past feeling like a less than. Why does the mirror have so much power ? And then something magical happens when I get to my job…I work with seniors part time…..and they’re just glad to see me because I care about them. Give me old folks any day !
    Sean, you are a blessing with a pen💕.

    Reply
  48. Stacey - August 13, 2017 2:52 pm

    We cut the cable TV years ago and I have never purchased “women’s” magazines. That cuts out a lot of the undermining messages by advertisers and brainless shows. We choose what to read and watch. I have raised two kick ass strong girls. We are proud feminists, because we believe in the inherent worth in every person.

    Reply
  49. Denisr - August 13, 2017 4:25 pm

    I’m a single 48 year old mom. Been divorced 3 years. Visited a few on line dating sites. But they are all looking for the Barbie doll size. This I am not having gave birth to 2 children. So I’ve given up on those sites and accepted the fact that I will be alone but for my lord in heaven above. Thank you for this beatifically written apology. I too feel for theses young girls and ladies.

    Reply
  50. Becky - August 13, 2017 4:27 pm

    Thank you, Sean. As a single-mama to one of those seventh grade girls, I struggle almost daily with how to help her navigate the mine field of images and perceptions that are thrown her way, the ones that challenge her sense of self-worth and worthiness. It is an affront to my human-hood as well.

    Reply
  51. autumn heeder - August 13, 2017 4:33 pm

    Thank you Sean! While I struggle with my appearance I am trying to raise my girls to know that brains and manners will get them so much farther in life then waist size. My oldest daughter is two and a little chunk, my little brother would call her “princess fat” (ok he still does) and at first I was offended, how dare you call my daughter fat, but now she calls herself that with a smile on her face. There are so many worse things you could be then a little chunk, grey headed, scraggle toothed, or wrinkly.

    Reply

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